Trump pulls out of the Paris Climate Accord. Of course he did! He’s loyal to his donor base in the fossil fuel industry, and he’s an investor in fossil fuels. So, why wouldn’t he cancel the Climate accord?
Perhaps more important, and what we must consider as individuals, the fossil fuel industry has proven that they are far more concerned with their own economic extinction, than most of their fellow humans are concerned about our collective extinction as a biologically viable species.
Climate science and climate treaties pose an existential threat to the carbon industries. The industry is fighting rear-guard actions like a retreating army, metaphorically blowing up bridges and burning farms as they retreat in front of science, solar and wind power, and advances in electric vehicles.
Big Carbon’s control of politicians does not alter the fact that temperatures worldwide are now going outside the boundaries of what has sustained the entire 12,000 year history of human agriculture. And hundreds of millions of people now risk dislocation by rising seas. And the melting of Greenland and Antarctica is progressing at a pace never seen in human existence.. You think Europe is in a tizzy about 35 million refugees from wars in the Middle East and droughts in Africa? Try adding a zero to that number and see how that affects global stability.
In any administration, of any ideology, there is finite time, space and finances to listen to or subsidize any business sector. There are a lot of sharp elbows at the velvet rope outside the White House. Carbon wants to muscle competitors out of the way. Trump takes their dollars, and is himself a carbon investor. So, he is going to favor this industry above others. It could have been something else - but it isn’t. Fossil fuels is the world’s most polluting and dangerous industry, and if the emissions are not curbed it could make the planet uninhabitable for humans and the species we depend on for life. The President has literally chosen his money over our future generations.
Which species will the oil companies select for extinction to stay profitable? How about this one? In May 2017 top scientists at UC Davis announced that 52% of the salmon and trout species in California will become extinct in the next 50 years if the rates of water diversions and global warming remains unchanged. (1) Rivers that once supplied millions of salmon will supply zero because the water will be too warm for the fish to spawn. Are we prepared bid farewell to salmon in California? What's next?
The Carbon Coup, led by Trump, is willing to place their industrial profits above the continuation of many species, perhaps including our own. They billionaires who own the fossil fuel industry rationalized this position by sowing doubt among their supporters by claiming that taxing carbon amounted to a re-distribution of wealth from coal miners and Exxon executives to federal bureaucrats and scientists.
But how much doubt does it take before you cancel your insurance policy? Let’s say the climate skeptics call it 50-50 or even 40-60 that humans cause global warming and can therefore slow it down or stop it. Would you put your family on an airplane that had a 40% chance of crashing? Wouldn’t you want insurance? Or another mode of transport? When it comes to global warming fossil fuel companies have convinced their politicians and their supporters to respond: “no insurance, please.”
Welcome to the Carbon Coup. Fasten your seat belts.