At this moment, after the oppressive result of the Nov. 8 presidential elections, it is very difficult not to fear for the present or future of humanity and the planet, thanks to a campaign that promised to “Make America Great Again” and that, in turn, awakened many who were resentful of or hurt by the way Barack Obama led the nation.
The triumph of Donald Trump returned a smile to—among others—the white, xenophobic, anti-immigrant and hostile supremacist ideologues, as well as to the oil, gas and coal tycoons, whose interests were affected by Obama’s environmental policies.
So, in recent days, the president-elect has been naming the people who will take strategic posts in his cabinet, such as Sen. Jeff Sessions, who will be the head of the Department of Justice, and Congressman Mike Pompeo as the director of the CIA, both hard-line Republicans. If only that were a tall tale, but it is not. Unfortunately, on environmental issues, the most controversial nomination for now is that of Myron Ebell. Like many Republicans, he is a denier of climate change, and he will be in charge of the transition from the Environmental Protection Agency of the Obama administration to the new era of Trump.
With that nomination, the president-elect can make one of his campaign promises, as well as an objective of the plan for the first 100 days of his government, reality: dismantling the EPA, increasing the use of fossil fuels and coal, taking down environmental regulations, and taking away economic support for developing countries to adopt renewable energies.
But who is Ebell? He is director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. His position has allowed him to be the lobbyist for businesses in the hydrocarbon sector and, most distressing of all, he calls himself the “number one enemy of climate change alarmism,” according to his Twitter profile (@myronebell).
It is not for nothing that during last year’s COP21, the organization Avaaz put up posters in the style of the Old West with the title “Wanted for destroying our future” and the faces of individuals categorized as “environmental criminals,” and among them, justly, that of Bell.
How correct Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and philosopher, is when he points out that the Republican Party has become the most dangerous organization for the history of humanity due to its denial of climate change. Because the sense of unease is global, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to calm the waters with his participation in the Marrakech summit, saying that the United States is complying with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which cannot and should not change: “Environmental policy is an investment in the future, it is scientific, and, in addition, the market thinks so.”
Without a doubt, Trump is synonymous with disaster and, because of that, a group of 365 United States businesses—within the framework of COP22—wrote a letter to the president-elect in which they ask him not to abandon the Paris accords because the failure to develop a clean economy endangers the prosperity of the United States.
In that petition, also directed to President Obama and members of Congress, the 365 businesses and investors emphasized their deep commitment to combatting climate change and demanded policies to lower the levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
Those companies—among which Starbucks, Mars, Nike and Levi Strauss stand out—at the same time affirmed their commitment to continue with their plans to reduce their own carbon footprints regardless of what measures Trump adopts once he is at the head of government.
And because of that, we should not forget that every action that the business sector takes to reduce its toxic emissions and take care of the environment can create economic “virtuous circles” in the search for profit.
The ideal would be a Donald Trump open to that possibility once he has assumed the position of head of state because the lack of that kind of quid pro quo would drive many companies into chaos, which would be absurd for a businessman, on top of which, a few hours after learning the results of the presidential election, he promised to govern for all the people of the United States.
So, the climate summit finished with a list of irreversible actions, but subject to the fright of what Trump will do or not do with regard to climate change.
The future of our “common house” is foggy …