“Donald Trump wants to drive the world to disaster as quickly as possible. His position is very clear: climate change is not happening, we should increase the use of fossil fuels, eliminate the environmental regulations and the agencies responsible for them. It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire Republican Party.” Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky does not mince words. He is one of the world’s leading philosophers, an American historian, political activist, and social scholar. We are indebted for his work and courage.
Survival is all about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Increasing carbon emissions and hindering carbon capture are climate crimes.
Leaving a child unattended in a locked car with the windows up on a hot day is a crime. It only takes 15 minutes to cause life-threatening brain or kidney injuries. Trump is increasing GHG emissions by blocking solar and wind energy, public transportation, and electric vehicles. His criminal behavior threatens 7.7 billion people and all other life on earth. Let’s dig in.
Keep fuels in the ground
There are two unique problems with shale oil and gas: No profits and methane emissions.
Extracting oil at a reckless pace and burning unwanted natural gas on site requires vast storage and increases carbon emissions. The 2015 – 2016 California Aliso Canyon disaster was not accidental. Massive amounts of natural gas stored in a field of injection wells caused the worst fire leak in U.S. history. More than 97,000 tons of methane and 7,300 tons of ethane were released into the atmosphere.
Increasing fuel supply lowers the market price and depletes the reserves. Without profits for more than 10 years, fracking is wrecking the U.S. economy, financed with massive debt and over 100-years of tax incentives. Fracking is a massive tax shelter for wealthy investors, not energy independence.
Trump plans to visit Louisiana, the site of the Cameron natural gas port this week, for the third time. If completed, the port will cost $30 billion, to liquefy natural gas for export by LNG tankers.
LNG is the smoking gun of Trump’s greed and ignorance. He ignores Katrina’s disaster. Wetlands buffer southern Louisiana from Gulf of Mexico storms by absorbing water. Upstream dams and canals cut for oil and gas have destroyed swamps and marshes. Louisiana is losing a football field of wetlands to the Gulf every hour.
Hindering carbon capture
Forests use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow and store it in the soil. “Forests remove about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities. Preserving intact forests and planting trees is our best strategy for survival.” New York Times April 2019.
Selling our trees to China as timber or linerboard, or wood pellets to replace coal in the U.K, is criminal. Stop wasting our Teacher’s Retirement Savings, Federal, State, and County incentives. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the Trump of the Ozarks, needs to invest in public health, work skills, and education to develop a green economy. Like the soil, it takes time and an expert hand to grow green local jobs for Arkansans. Luring Chinese private companies like Shandong Sun Paper and Dragon Woodland, competing for low-wage, high-carbon, dead-end jobs with Mississippi is criminal.
Highland Pellets requires special attention. Built on promises of a quick investment, it was built on the back of the Arkansas Teachers and New Market tax credits!
Wildfires are caused by extreme weather. On December 2018, “to reduce wildfires” Trump increased the amount of logging by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management by 6.7 million acres of forest per year, selling timber to China.
Trump has a 2020 deadline to sell our forests, land, and rivers. Everything is for sale. Leases for miners and frackers generate quick federal revenues. Imposing arbitrary trade tariffs – ignoring the tax burden on American families – brings funds to the Treasury. Corporations and the wealthy get a free ride to keep GOP in power.
There is no magic cure – we must act now to avoid ecocide. Trade wars and military conflicts, impeachment, and any other distractions are stealing months from the desperate efforts to deal with the climate emergency.
Dr. Luis Contreras