Saturday, April 01, 2017

16.7 - Outrage of the Week: TheRump attacks the climate

Outrage of the Week: TheRump attacks the climate

All that talk about profit and the corrosive effect of chasing it leads us right to one of our regular features, the Outrage of the Week.

Here's a thought: Do you really think that TheRump's destruction of programs aimed at limiting - or even measuring - climate change is about climate? or science?

Of course not, any more than it's about jobs. It's about profit. It's about the profit of the fossil fuel industry. It's about the pursuit of profit, about the pursuit of profit overwhelming, driving out, all other considerations, even the future of the planet.

Upton Sinclair once wrote that "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." And for some within the fossil fuel industry, perhaps especially the coal miners fearing their jobs will evaporate and their communities along with them, that may be true. But in considering the higher-ups, the corporate gods, in considering C. S. Lewis's quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who work in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices and do not need to raise their voices, he was much too polite.

Because they do understand. And they have understood.

Shell Oil knew of the dangers of global climate change by 1986. They even produced a video about it in 1991.

Exxon-Mobil, Exxon at the time, knew about the risks no later than 1981. Not only did they do nothing about it, the corporation actively funded the nanny-nanny naysayers on global warming for the next 27 years.

They knew. They know. And they just don't care. Because caring would mean caring about something other than profit.

And it's that profit that TheRump is serving.

His Executive Order, issued on March 28, aims to undermine and roll back every move the executive branch has made or even proposed to make over the past several years regarding climate change. It intends to demolish a wide array of recent policies on global warming - including emissions rules for power plants, limits on methane leaks, a moratorium on federal coal leasing, factoring the social cost of carbon into government actions, and any and all regulations that "burden" the production of coal, oil, gas, or nukes. He even is rescinding an order urging federal agencies to help communities strengthen their ability to deal with climate impacts.

It is so nonsensically extreme that not only has information on climate change been scrubbed from the White House website but the Energy Department's Office of International Climate and Clean Energy has banned the terms "climate change," "emissions reduction," and "Paris Agreement" from all written communications.

Michael Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, went as far as to say at a press briefing on TheRump's budget proposal that "we're not spending money on [climate research] anymore; we consider that to be a waste of money."

It is wholesale, deliberate, conscious rejection not only of facts, not only of science, but of knowledge itself. It is, in other words, a wholesale, deliberate, conscious abandonment of our collective future to satisfy the present-day desire for profit by the fossil fuel industry.

So yes, the pursuit of profit, when profit becomes the goal, not the means, becomes the point, not the tool, yes, it is evil and it is destructive. And it is promoting the destruction of our environment now and into the future. And that most certainly is an outrage.

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