Trump’s Golf-Course Environmentalism
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Donald Trump, when asked by the New York Times about climate change, rambled on about the weather in 1890, his Uncle John, a long-since-debunked “Climategate” scandal, and, of course, his tremendous golf courses:
“And you know, you mentioned a lot of the courses. I have some great, great, very successful golf courses. I’ve received so many environmental awards for the way I’ve done, you know. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work where I’ve received tremendous numbers. Sometimes I’ll say I’m actually an environmentalist and people will smile in some cases and other people that know me understand that’s true.”
Golf courses? Seriously? The depth of his ignorance never fails to astound. In his mind, environmentalism seems to mean grooming small parcels of land for the use of a tiny, elite segment of the population. The impact that these terraformed bubbles have on the actually environment has clearly never occurred to him.
Trump’s senior advisor on space research—career lobbyist, Bob Walker—makes the new administration’s position on climate change a little clearer. He’s announced plans to end NASA’s climate research with the goal of focusing the agency’s efforts exclusively on space exploration. NASA’s climate work, he says, is “politicized science” and “politically correct environmental monitoring.” NASA’s response to this announcement promises cooperation while pointing out the agency’s focus on improving “our understanding of our changing home planet”. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research was less subtle, “It could put us back into the ‘dark ages’ of almost the pre-satellite era…Information on planet Earth and its atmosphere and oceans is essential for our way of life. Space research is a luxury, Earth observations are essential.”
Gutting NASA’s climate research mission is just more golf-course environmentalism, viewing the world from behind the wheel of a golf cart surrounded by unnaturally green grass and picturesque fountains. In the same way that actual nature looks nothing like a golf course, actual environmentalism has nothing to do with the Trump platform.
Let’s review. Human life depends on natural systems, plain and simple. In the United States, the natural systems that provide us with clean air and water were brought to the breaking point before the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were enacted. Over the past four decades these life-saving regulations have helped us to begin the long process of healing our natural environment. Our atmosphere is part of a natural system that controls the temperature, the weather, and even the depth of the ocean. Carbon dioxide—one of the most impactful greenhouse gases affecting our climate—is covered under the Clear Air Act as well as being subject to a host of international agreements.
Golf-course environmentalism is myopic, greedy, and—frankly—stupid. It’s Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down. Creating pristine pockets of green for the few only speeds up our larger environmental crises. Trump and his golfing buddies may be able to run from climate change in the air-conditioned hummers but in the end they can’t hide their business interests from sea-level rise, extreme weather, and falling agricultural production. The smart money is on rapid action to drastically reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
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