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
July 16, 2019
Conn Hallinan
The World Needs a Water Treaty
Kenneth Surin
Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador
Christopher Ketcham
This Land Was Your Land
Gary Leupp
What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Democratic Virtues in Electing a President
Thomas Knapp
Free Speech Just isn’t That Complicated
Binoy Kampmark
The Resigning Ambassador
Howard Lisnoff
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Nicky Reid
Nukes For Peace?
Matt Johnson
The United States of Overreaction
Cesar Chelala
Children’s Trafficking and Exploitation is a Persistent, Dreary Phenomenon
Martin Billheimer
Sylvan Shock Theater
July 15, 2019
David Altheide
The Fear Party
Roger Harris
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela
John Feffer
Pyongyang on the Potomac
Vincent Kelley
Jeffrey Epstein and the Collapse of Europe
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Hissy-Fit Over Darroch Will Blow a Chill Wind Across Britain’s Embassies in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
Juggling with the Authoritarians: Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Fake Book
Dean Baker
The June Jobs Report and the State of the Economy
Michael Hudson – Bonnie Faulkner
De-Dollarizing the American Financial Empire
Kathy Kelly
Remnants of War
B. Nimri Aziz
The Power of Our Human Voice: From Marconi to Woods Hole
Elliot Sperber
Christianity Demands a Corpse 
Weekend Edition
July 12, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement
T.J. Coles
“Strategic Extremism”: How Republicans and Establishment Democrats Use Identity Politics to Divide and Rule
Rob Urie
Toward an Eco-Socialist Revolution
Gregory Elich
How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?
Jason Hirthler
The Journalists Do The Shouting
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pâté Politics in the Time of Trump and Pelosi
Andrew Levine
The Electoral Circus as the End of Its Initial Phase Looms
David Swanson
Earth Over the Brink
Ron Jacobs
Presidential Papers
Robert Hunziker
The Flawed Food Dependency
Dave Lindorff
Defeating the Trump Administration’s Racist, Republican-Rescuing Census Corruption
Martha Rosenberg
Pathologizing Kids, Pharma Style
Kathleen Wallace
Too Horrible to Understand, Too Horrible to Ignore
Ralph Nader
An Unsurpassable Sterling Record of Stamina!
Paul Tritschler
Restricted View: the British Legacy of Eugenics
John Feffer
Trump’s Bluster Diplomacy
Thomas Knapp
Did Jeffrey Epstein “Belong to Intelligence?”
Nicholas Buccola
Colin Kaepernick, Ted Cruz, Frederick Douglass and the Meaning of Patriotism
P. Sainath
It’s Raining Sand in Rayalaseema
Charles Davis
Donald Trump’s Fake Isolationism
Michael Lukas
Delisting Wolves and the Impending Wolf Slaughter
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Shaking Off Capitalism for Ecological Civilization
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail