Save the Planet

It is my informed opinion that Donald Trump, with his government of the USA, is one of the greatest threats to the continued survival of our species. Unfortunately, the reason is climate change – and simply upon hearing that, some people are going to stop reading this.

our-pale-blue-dot

Still with me? Thanks. I appreciate it. Look, I’m going to be straight with you. I know you’re sick of hearing about climate change – but how do you think I feel? It’s 2017 for Foxe sake! It’s the 21st century! I literally grew up hearing phrases like “greenhouse effect”, “global warming”, and “climate change”. The fact that this is happening is a truth I’ve known for my entire life. Scientists have known about since long before I was born. We’ve made some progress, certainly, but not enough. Things are still getting worse. I have to wonder why I’m still needing to say all of this.

After decades, politicians finally started paying attention and telling people, and the first thing that people did was to start saying “No, I don’t believe you, I know better!” for some reason. There aren’t many professions which have to deal with someone telling you how to do your own job. You don’t argue with an electrician about the voltage of your house. You don’t argue with your mechanic about the reason why your car broke down. But apparently, people just love to argue about scientists about peer reviewed scientific research.

a-crack-in-the-worldOur planet is at a tipping point. 2016 was the warmest year on record. Over the past 400,000 years, carbon dioxide levels had never been higher than 300 ppm. Earth’s atmosphere currently contains 404.48 ppm of CO₂. Earth’s polar ice caps are melting. Quietly and without even realising, we are destroying Antarctica and its ice shelves. One of those shelves currently has a gigantic crack in it (in the image to the right here), which is threatening to cause a chunk of ice the size of a small country to break off and float away into the sea. As anyone who likes ice in their drinks may realise, it will melt. When it does, our sea levels will rise.

Consequently, our already overcrowded planet will lose vital coastal habitats. I’m not just talking about wildlife – Miami is going to be submerged into the Atlantic Ocean, together with most of Florida. Meanwhile the haywire weather we’ve been seeing over the past few years is set to intensify. Expect the wildfires in California to get worse as the global temperature rises. Expect tropical storms to intensify as climate systems are disrupted and become more unpredictable. Expect winters in the Northern hemisphere to get colder as reduced temperature gradients between the polar and equatorial regions cause weakened air currents and allow Earth’s polar vortices to bring more snow to the Sahara.

Honestly, I don’t know how many “once in a lifetime” weather events need to happen over the course of 5 years for people to start paying attention, but I’ve lost count of how many we’ve had now.

2013-co2-by-countrySo why is Trump so dangerous? Well, the USA is the second biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. The only country worse in China. Interestingly, China’s CO₂ emissions are falling as the country moves away from using coal.

Meanwhile, Trump intends to “embrace the shale oil and gas revolution” and is “committed to… reviving America’s coal industry“. Which, from a climate perspective, is horrifying. This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing if we actually want our planet to remain habitable to humans.

America has already spent far too much time sitting on its hands and pretending everything is fine under the Bush Administration, who surreptitiously hid clear evidence of global warming from the world. By which I mean these satellite images showing obvious differences in sea ice off Alaska. These images, in fact:

alaska-sea-ice

With Trump, we’re not just in for more of the same. It’s going to get worse. Trump is a demagogue who’s shown every indication that he’s only in this for himself. He’s hired a team of billionaire supervillains to run America, complete with ties to Russian oil companies. There’s no reason to believe that they won’t chase profits even if they happen to ruin the planet in the process.

The worst part is that the Trump Administration is not just denying climate change – it seems to be actively censoring the discussion of it. Employees of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) have been ordered to remove pages from the web, and researchers there are busily safeguarding their data – they have been for weeks now. Their grant programs are also being frozen, and they’re being instructed not to talk about it.

The most recent affront was the Badlands National Park twitter feed. 2 days ago, whoever manages the account tweeted several climate change facts, such as this one:

badlands-tweet

Shortly afterwards, all of these were deleted, apparently by instruction from someone at a higher level. And that’s horrifying. Speaking the objective truth should never be an act of courage or defiance. A society in which it is, is going down a very dark path indeed.

Trump is making his intentions clear. He is staging an assault on objective truth. He is actively hampering science and fact from reaching the public. He seems to be attempting to wage a war on science. And in doing so, he threatens to destroy the environment of the planet we’re all living on – and it simply cannot take much more.

This is an affront to all of us. Every human living on this planet. Not to mention the billions of other species we share it with. And I, for one, don’t think we should all just sit back and let an angry orange man with tiny hands ruin our planet for us.

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About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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One Response to Save the Planet

  1. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Friday links | A Bit More Detail

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