FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Good News About Trump’s Very Bad Environmental Speech

Brownfield cleanup site. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

It’s hard to find the nuggets of good news in the media these days. Many people are so burnt out on the Trump news rollercoaster, which goes around the clock, changes frequently, and often shocks and outrages, that the least painful option is to skip the news entirely.

Here’s some good news: Americans are starting to wake up about the climate crisis.

More than half of Americans believe human-caused climate change is happening. More than six in ten Americans disapprove of Trump’s record on the climate. And while only 6 percent of Republicans see climate change as the single most important issue in the 2020 election, 27 percent of Democrats believe that it is.

It appears that the debate over the climate is shifting. Trump recently made an (awkward, cringey) speech about the environment, touting his own environmental record and falsely claiming — lying, really — that the U.S. is outperforming other nations in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

For the record, the Trump administration stripped scientific climate data off government websites, pulled out of the Paris accord, and rolled back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards on vehicles.

Yet now he’s out talking about his excellent record on the environment? I suppose it’s good that he thinks he needs people to believe he has a good record there — even if that’s not a test he can pass by any measure.

In his speech, Trump expressed opposition to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal, which aims to provide both good climate policy and economic stimulus together. But it’s a notable shift that a man who previously referred to climate change as a “Chinese hoax” now feels the need to engage with a progressive plan to take it very seriously.

This does not indicate that Trump himself, or his administration, is ready to take the kind of action on climate that we need. But it does hint that the electorate will be looking for a candidate in 2020 who will.

The voluminous array of Democratic presidential candidates are now competing with one another on their climate platforms. Most support holding a debate devoted entirely to climate change. That energy could infect races for Congress, too.

It’s unlikely that a zebra like Trump will change his stripes on climate at this point, but it is hopeful that the American people are demanding that leaders take action — so much that Trump feels pressured to claim a successful environmental record.

And it’s even more hopeful because we live in a democracy where we have the ability to elect leaders who can deliver on the issues we care about every two to four years — if we make them.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 24, 2020
Stephen Corry
New Deal for Nature: Paying the Emperor to Fence the Wind
M. K. Bhadrakumar
How India’s Modi is Playing on Trump’s Ego to His Advantage
Jennifer Matsui
Tycoon Battle-Bots Battle Bernie
Robert Fisk
There’s Little Chance for Change in Lebanon, Except for More Suffering
Rob Wallace
Connecting the Coronavirus to Agriculture
Bill Spence
Burning the Future: the Growing Anger of Young Australians
Eleanor Eagan
As the Primary Race Heats Up, Candidates Forget Principled Campaign Finance Stands
Binoy Kampmark
The Priorities of General Motors: Ditching Holden
George Wuerthner
Trojan Horse Timber Sales on the Bitterroot
Rick Meis
Public Lands “Collaboration” is Lousy Management
David Swanson
Bloomberg Has Spent Enough to Give a Nickel to Every Person Whose Life He’s Ever Damaged
Peter Cohen
What Tomorrow May Bring: Politics of the People
Peter Harrison
Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon?
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail