Killing Ourselves For Money: Trump’s Destruction of Climate Policy

It’s not been a good week for Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States. He’s dropped to 36% approval in the latest ratings, his party’s healthcare plan exploded and then caught fire after it was pulled from the House before voting could begin, and having people laugh in Steve Bannon’s face when he told them they needed to vote on aforementioned bill.

Yet somehow Trump found a way to make a feel-good moment disappear immediately.

Trump signed an executive order a few days ago removing Obama’s order preventing further leasing of federal land to coal companies and began the process of repealing the Clean Power Plan. This would effectively end our efforts in combating climate change as a country.

It’s gotten to the point in which Exxon has pled with the administration to keep us in the Paris climate agreement. Yes, an oil company is telling the President to help the environment.

Climate change is an indisputable fact. No amount of hand wringing from the right can obscure the fact that our ice caps are shrinking, global temperatures are rising, and millions of people are at risk unless something is done. Florida will be completely underwater if nothing is done to stop the melting of the ice caps.

All of this is to keep Trump’s promise to coal miners to bring back their jobs and expand America’s energy independence. Here’s the big problem with that: those coal jobs are not coming back. There’s nothing to indicate that deregulation will bring those jobs back from overseas. The reason they moved in the first place is because places like China and India have little to no labor rights and can more easily exploit workers there for more profit.

Of course it’s tragic that these workers lost their jobs. The degradation that these communities have suffered has been long and terrible, with the opioid crisis ravaging towns across the country. However, they blame the wrong thing for their destitution; it was neither government regulation or immigrants (illegal or otherwise) that destroyed their communities and cost them their jobs, it was neoliberal capitalism, which both parties uphold at the expense of all else. It exported their jobs and left nothing in their place, leaving an entire class of people without an easy way of transitioning to a different career.

In spite of all the danger presented to us by ignoring the warming climate, our government and others like them are more and more determined to sacrifice us all in the pursuit of more profit. Instead of trying to prop up dying industries, we should be introducing universal college and subsidised trade schools to give better access to those out of work and looking to find different careers. We should be innovating and dedicating ourselves to expanding the capability of green energy, not just to make money but to ensure we even have a planet in a few decades. We should be working to stem the tide of deforestation and ensuring a clean oxygen supply.

But hey, that doesn’t quite fit on a bumper sticker for your reelection campaign, does it?

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