Trump’s threat to tear up the Paris agreement could help to make it law

Climate change denying president-elect (said with the contempt it deserves) Donald Trump has reiterated his campaign threat to tear up the Paris agreement signed less than a year that committed all nations to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees.

Trump believes (or claims to – who really knows what’s going on beneath the wig?) that climate change is a Communist conspiracy invented by the Chinese to bring down American capitalism. It’s not.

Last year, the UNFCCC managed to sign up all 195 nations of the ailing planet to a voluntary agreement to limit the global temperature increase and mitigate climate change; it’s key pledge is to:

Hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change

This is the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement and is absolutely essential in reducing the impact of climate change before it is too late. Within a year, 111 of the 195 countries have ratified that deal, making it official. It is a monumental achievement that both the US and China, which together account for over 40% of global emissions, actually agreed to do this, and Trump has promised to retract that commitment.

It’s not clear whether Trump will be “allowed” to back out of it; however, the actual agreement is voluntary, and consists of promises to change behaviour, and crucially there is no fiscal punishment for backtracking or failing to keep those promises.

It’s tempting to deny climate change – I was never very clear about the evidence myself because apparently the climate has changed a lot throughout the history of the planet. But it’s obvious to me that humans are destroying the earth – we’ve been cutting down those rainforests for decades with no thought or care about the wildlife housed within them, and polluting the oceans with our discarded plastic. So it makes perfect sense that there would be some environment consequence of this.

There’s not much we can do on an individual level, apart from recycle the little we can, limit our waste and consumption where possible, and walk the distances we can manage rather than driving. But what’s the point of me carefully cleaning out yoghurt pots when China and America keep on coughing up coal?

This song ‘4 degrees‘ by Anohni is an ironic anthem for our doomed planet and a challenging reminder that we’re all part of the problem.

climate_change_health_impacts600w
If climate change deniers don’t give a damn about the environment, maybe they will consider the health impacts on people demonstrated in this graph.

 

 

Angry white men can make their own excuses for voting Trump in

“He says what he thinks, right or wrong”, said one Trump voter. I came across this ludicrous quote when despairingly googling “why did people vote for Trump”. Whoever said that – it’s just not good enough, nor is it even accurate. Such apparent honesty is not to be admired for its authenticity – we must be ready to condemn people who say distasteful and offensive things, regardless of whether or not they mean it. Is a racist or sexist opinion legitimized because the speaker actually means it?

Clearly Trump’s unexpected victory is an historic moment; a totally unqualified man has made it to the highest office on earth, despite his obvious flaws, because women are hated that much. We can look back at his various public gaffs and consider what they mean now that he is president: it is now OK to publicly mock disabled people, generalise an entire culture as rapists, grope women and brag about it, scapegoat muslims. Most public officials are usually sacked for these sorts of things but in Trump’s case they have not hindered his ascent to power. Not only are some Americans worried about their futures in a Trumpian vision of the world, but parents are wondering how they can tell their children that it’s wrong to lie, that it’s wrong to sexually harass women, when their leader has done these things and got away with it.

Perhaps we should be empathetic to those who voted for Trump because they are working class men who have suffered from globalisation. Don’t ask me to apologise for the decisions of angry white men; they can make their own excuses. I’m interested in why 53% of white female voters chose Trump. It is a depressing blow to see that so many women are not feminists. And they can’t be when they have voted for a man who is alleged to have sexually abused women, and who has definitely bragged about groping women and getting away with it because he’s a rich and famous white man. In my idea of feminism, it is not possible to vote for such a man and be a feminist because he is a cliched epitome of patriarchy. It’s not just that the female voters have sold out the rest of the sisterhood, but their decision shows that Trump’s attitude to women is normal in their every day lives. While many claim to be disgusted by his comments, they still voted for him because they don’t see his sexism as important. Women are so full of self-loathing that they prioritise a white male’s desires over their own right to bodily safety. They have acknowledged that they see their only value as sexual objects and they, too, will suffer for this under a Trump regime in which their abortion rights will be denied. They have internalized sexism and reject Clinton’s ambition and success, or can’t relate to it.

Hillary Clinton, for all her flaws, is a representative for white feminism yet still she failed to win the white female vote. But it’s not her fault that white women don’t want feminism, or at least, they prioritise white supremacy over gender equality.