Trumping Trump

Cribb, Julian | November 15, 2016 | Leave a Comment Download as PDF

People’s Climate March at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, New York City by Beyond My Ken Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0

Contrary to appearances, Donald Trump might just be the best thing that ever happened to climate action.

The presence of a climate denier in the White House and his obtuse, fossil-funded minions in key government posts is liable to ignite such fury among sensible people across America and around the world as to accelerate the demise of coal, oil and gas (’the fossils’) and the adoption of climate-saving policies at every level from home to city to industry, to nation, to the world itself.

Trump might be just the bitter medicine we needed to jerk us out of our complacency about what a +4 or +5-degree world will really be like: approaching uninhabitable.

Depending on the rate at which Arctic methane is released, the world has somewhere between 15-20 years to do away with fossil fuels completely. After that, a hot world of +4 or +5 degrees, with all the food, water, conflict and migration crises for billions that entails, becomes almost unavoidable.

The US election result has gifted the sedate pace of climate action from Paris COP22 with a fresh urgency as, round the world, people wake up to the brutal fact that if they wait for government action then Hell will, not freeze over exactly, rather, engulf the planet in a conflagration which may consume their children and grandchildren.

Waiting for governments to agree on the necessity of saving civilization is, in the Australian vernacular, a mug’s game. Their hearts aren’t in it, and there are far too many juicy bribes and sinecures for individual politicians not to mention political parties paid off by the coal lobby to posture and then sit on their hands. In Australia, for example, a recent survey tagged more than 40 retired Ministers, MPs, their staffers and former public servants as working for the dark side – that’s the side that doesn’t care if your grandkids fry.

If Trump and his ilk are to be stopped from their headlong, selfish pursuit of planetary devastation, it will be by the people of the planet – not the institutions or politicians. Here’s how:

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Go Green:

Not even Trump can defy world market reality. The one thing that can undermine the price and profitability of coal, oil and gas is low-cost renewable energy. As they well know –hence all the campaigns against wind turbines and solar farms. Put solar on your home, support your city or local government in taking your community off-grid. Invest in tidal, wave, geothermal and the new energies to balance the power supply. Resources companies have the option to go green themselves – they just don’t want to. They will end up with stranded assets and bankrupt, like many US coal majors already are.

Divest Now:

Don’t put your life savings into anything that might destroy your grandkids. It’s not a formula for human survival. Ethical and green investment services are mushrooming. Concerned citizens can compel their bank, super fund, university, local government, etc. to invest ethically by demanding accountability, including divestment in fossil fuels – and by shifting their accounts. In the Trump years, there will be massive global divestment by hundreds of millions in the source of the greatest hazard facing humanity.

Sue the Bastards:

Though they may look like pinpricks for now, there is a rolling wave of lawsuits around the world against their governments for failing in their duty of care, and against the fossils for risking human lives and destroying the environment. Every lawsuit adds to the sovereign risk of investing in fossil fuels – and unnerves other, less ethical, investors. Shrewd investment analysts are already advising their clients to bail out of fossils, and there’s not a darn thing Trump and his acolytes can do to stop it.

Protest:

Many people still underestimate the power, in a social media age, of peaceful citizens’ protests to change minds, values and perceptions within communities and countries. The way the world, especially its indigenous communities, has rallied behind the Sioux nation to oppose the Dakota Access tar sands pipeline is a case in point. As are the Australian citizens’ protests over the Liverpool Plains and Adani and similar protests in the UK and Europe. Local protests over just causes now reverberate worldwide. There is a global movement building that responds at lightspeed.

Trust the Youth:

Following the US election the following electoral map of how 18-24 year olds voted, gained currency. Young Americans, at any rate, are not willing to be pawned to the interests of the fossils. Globally, many of the lawsuits against government or the fossils are led by youngsters, even teenagers – and for similar reasons. This is a demographic that can only grow and, aided by social media, can do so rapidly and universally.

 Electoral Map for Millennials (age 18-34) | Source: SurveyMonkey

Electoral Map for Millennials (age 18-34) | Source: SurveyMonkey

 

Change Your Habits:

The food industry contributes roughly 30% of global climate change drivers, and wastes around 40% of all food. So stop wasting food, and buy it from farmers who care, not from supermarkets who don’t. Don’t buy your kids plastic toys – you are only funding the very petrochemical industry that threatens their future. Likewise look for organic food, clothing and household products, which are produced without petrochemicals (pesticides, dyes, preservatives, etc.). Again, there’s nothing the Trumpists can do to stop you eating and shopping more safely and sustainably – and contributing your dollar signals to a burgeoning global marketplace.

Electrify:

Electric cars are only a climate solution if the electricity they run on is renewable not fossil –but some stunning technologies are just around the corner, including using vehicles themselves as generators of green energy into the local grid. The worldwide spread of high voltage DC (HVDC) cables over thousands of kilometres is the genesis of an international grid for moving energy efficiently around the planet: one day your home may help run a factory in China. Sunlight in the Sahara will help power Europe, etc.

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In the face of universal threats like climate change, people often feel powerless to influence the future. This is no longer the case, as these seven examples show. You can have quite a big impact simply by choosing how and where you shop, bank, mortgage your home and save your money. Aligned with hundreds of millions of others, equally concerned, equally empowered, you can change the world.

If humanity itself forms a consensus to prevent and mitigate climate change it will be a political act like none other in history. No nation, corporate, religious order, political party or belief system can stop it, because they will have no power over it. It will unleash the next great phase of global economic growth and development, the new industries, jobs and opportunities that transition us into a sustainable, prosperous world.

So, thanks Donald, for supplying the wake-up call.


Julian Cribb is author of Surviving the 21st Century, a book on solutions to the ten greatest challenges facing humanity.


MAHB-UTS Blogs are a joint venture between the University of Technology Sydney and the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere. Questions should be directed to joan@mahbonline.org.

MAHB Blog: https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/trumping-trump/

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  • Steve Gill

    One of the problems with Trump is his need for self-gratification. As a result he responds in a positive manner to the group or person he is currently conversing with. This causes his public views to wander over a wide path. Take his meeting the New York Times where he was quite agreeable and stated he wanted a good relationship. This is the same New York Times that he referred to as the “Failing New York Times”; he has also referred to them as fools. After his interview he went back to bashing the news media at his rallies where he receives applause for it.

    Recently he met with Al Gore and it was described as a productive conversation. If we could make Al Gore his last conversation, we might make some progress. However, being among Republicans, he will meet with far more skeptics than believers so I do not have much hope for positive results on environmental issues and specifically climate change.

    There is not much time to bring the U.S. and the world to understand the threat to the life supporting systems of the Earth and to the future of our children. This election has shown how poorly educated we are and how easily we are influenced by false news, one of the biggest challenges we face. The Internet has potential to bring us together with science based facts so the world can address these important environmental issues but I fear the dark side of the Internet is winning. The Internet is being used as an instrument to discredit science and reenforce false beliefs. I wish I had more hope, but I have to say, the presidential election and the proliferation of science denying far right Republicans to high offices all over the country only helps to make one even more pessimistic. That does not mean we should not try.

  • Batters Box

    Actually it’s the people who believe in climate change that are the least willing to do the things needed about it,.other then believe. Western European (EU) and United States immigration policies display a glaring contradiction with it’s integration into climate change policies. It has been known and agreed among environmental scientists and conservationists since the nineteen sixties and seventies that a lower population in developed countries is key to lowering green house gases,pollution, and urban sprawl. The highest energy usage per capita is in developed countries. It makes no sense and is an indefensible argument that importing a younger higher birthrate population into developed countries that increase the national populations is consistent with climate change reform objectives. Politically many of the left and liberal groups have been vocally supportive of climate change have grabbed and benefited from the image of being enlightened climate change “believers” yet they ‘frack’ their own nations borders, government and countries immigration enforcement and control policies for self interests to gain political clout which are are completely incompatible with true climate change reversal.

  • jason G. Brent

    You are very wrong. The idiots who voted for Trump will never believe that there is such a thing a global warming and/or that it is caused by human action. They will not believe even if Jesus, Moses. Mohammad, and all the saints in heaven came done and told them the truth. They will believe the climate deniers until the end of time. They are too stupid to know anything except hate. Jason G. Brent

  • Dan Tefft

    In addition to the fact that Trumps’s win should spur environmentalists into action, we know Trump is a world-class flip flopper. Few people remember that in 2009 Trump and his children joined US business leaders in a letter to President Obama and Congress urging strong action on climate change. http://bit.ly/1YhMczI

    Yesterday President Obama said Trump is “pragmatic as opposed to ideological.”

    Our hope is that Trump will recognize and be embarrassed by the fact that he’s the only major world leader to deny climate change, realize that the best way to restore jobs in coal country is to but them to work building renewable energy components and see the best opportunity to “Make America Great Again” is to turn us into a clean energy superpower.

    Our plan is to press the issue that conversion to clean energy and reducing greenhouse gases to avoid catastrophic climate change is not only a moral imperative – it makes great business sense.

    In addition to consciously choosing where we shop and bank, we’re also on the verge of a fintech revolution that will allow climate conscious citizens worldwide to invest in the technologies and brands that will power the Low Carbon economy.

    Equity Crowdfunding will fuel the next industrial revolution! Trump and his bunch can lead, follow or get out of the way!