There have been several disturbing developments over the last several weeks that give us a clue to the approach of the incoming administration. Trump transition team asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the names of staffers involved in global climate negotiations. It did not appear that they were getting ready to offer them awards. On December 21, 2016, “The Washington Post” reported that the transition team was asking the State Department about grants it provides to global environmental groups.
With former Texas Governor Rick Perry as the nominee for Secretary of Energy and with Scott Pruitt the nominee to head up EPA, it is as clear as day that the incoming Trump Administration seeks to take the country, if not the world, back about 50 years when it comes to addressing climate change and other environmental catastrophes currently unfolding.
The disingenuousness of Trump and his allies when it comes to climate change is outstanding. Trump would like to play agnostic on whether climate change is unfolding and suggests that there is actually a debate in scientific circles regarding this matter. I hate to break it to the President-elect, but there is no more debate in scientific circles about the validity of climate change (and the human role in it) than there was about the connection between smoking and lung cancer.
It is worth noting that the long delay in getting recognition of the connection of smoking to lung cancer was directly related to the obstruction emanating from the tobacco industry. Much the same is the case when it comes to climate change. The fossil fuel industry fronts supposed scientists to confuse the debate, despite the fact that they KNOW of the human connection to climate change.
The Trump Administration appears to be prepared to throw science to the wind and reject facts, as Trump-the-candidate did throughout his presidential campaign. But what is worse is that it appears that they want to take action against those who have rung the bell about the danger of human-induced climate change. This would be the equivalent of the tobacco industry taking over what is now the Department of Health and Human Services at the height of the debate on the connection between smoking and lung cancer.
Key elements of the Republican Party have made it clear that they wish to overturn the 20th century. In other words, they seek to reverse the myriad gains won throughout the last century and return us to the reality of the late 19th century, with all that that involved.
We simply cannot let that happen. The fights we are about to engage with the new administration will decide everything.Bill Fletcher Jr, Contributor
Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice”; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.