Trump Team Pushes Fossil Fuels at Climate Talks. Protests Erupt, but Allies Emerge, Too.

Dec 10, 2018 · 594 comments
b fagan (chicago)
Team Trump - led by the hand, resolutely into last century, by their fossilized funders. "India Coal Power Is About To Crash: 65% Of Existing Coal Costs More Than New Wind And Solar King Coal’s reign in India is about to come crashing down . Coal supplied 80% of India’s total power mix in 2016-2017, but economics have flipped the country’s energy equation – new renewable energy is now cheaper to build than running most existing coal-fired power plants. Renewable energy costs have fallen 50% in two years, and are forecast to continue dropping apace. New wind and solar is now 20% cheaper than existing coal-fired generation’s average wholesale power price, and 65% of India’s coal power generation is being sold at higher rates than new renewable energy bids in competitive power auctions. [...] But while India’s power demand will double over the next decade, its draft National Electricity Plan (NEP) calls for rising demand to be met with 275 gigawatts (GW) total renewable energy capacity by 2027, without requiring new coal plants beyond those already under construction."
JD (Hokkaido, Japan)
veins = rivers lungs = forests knees, elbows, joints = the earth's mountain ranges water to body-mass ratio = almost the same as the Earth's the body's internal water/salt ratio = used to be same as the ocean's long ago Get it? Same organism; same problems. If one doesn't have this consciousness, s/he is not evolved enough to live in the 21st century. Correct husbandry and careful stewardship of this planet is no different than taking care of your own health. Universal health-care denial is climate-change denial. As Brooke Jarvis recently wrote in her NYT-magazine article "The Insect Apocalypse is Here:" ' The world never seems fallen, because we are accustomed to the fall.' Like the staple crops, environmental refugees started the exodus toward clean water and resources at least thirty years ago. Talk to John Sununu and the former George H.W. Bush administration about nixing climate-accords back in the 80s, calling James Hansen's work "technical poppycock." Continuing onward, Sununu recently declared: “It [climate accords] couldn’t have happened, because frankly, the leaders of the world at that time were at a stage where they were all looking (at) how to seem like they were supporting the policy without having to make hard commitments that would cost their nations serious resources.” From a guy with a doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT! What's changed in a generation? Would you say fossil-fuel profits are locked in? 'Forgive them; they know not what they do.'
Jungle Bee (Minneapolis)
The planet is coughing up blood and the US prescription is to switch to Camels. Brilliant! I’m so so embarrassed for country
b fagan (chicago)
Some highlights from the "Retirements" page at our very own Energy Information Agency: 12/4/18 U.S. coal consumption in 2018 expected to be the lowest in 39 years 3/30/18 EIA projects that U.S. coal demand will remain flat for several decades 1/9/18 Almost all power plants that retired in the past decade were powered by fossil fuels 6/13/17 Three Mile Island is the latest nuclear power plant to announce retirement plans 2/1/17 Indian Point, closest nuclear plant to New York City, set to retire by 2021 10/31/16 Fort Calhoun becomes fifth U.S. nuclear plant to retire in past five years 3/8/16 Coal made up more than 80% of retired electricity generating capacity in 2015 If our government did the right thing, and put a price on CO2 emissions, some well-run nuclear plants would have an opportunity to continue operating as we decarbonize our economy. But economics and natural gas have killed coal here, and economics, pollution and renewables are starting to kill it elsewhere, too.
Braddo (Melbourne )
It should be noted that the party currently in power in Australia is facing a wipeout at the next election in May and in all likelihood does not represent the concerns of the average Australian. Prominent members of their own party have held up 'climate change denial' as one of some key areas they are out of touch with voters.
Andy (Europe)
Why do we have to stay silent and watch as these self-important morons all over the world conspire to destroying the world's environment and to threaten the sustainability of life as we know it? And for what - for "economic growth"? Don't these idiots realize that economic growth means nothing if you are destroying the environment of your own planet? Why, why, why do we have such idiots in charge? We need a revolution by millennials and teenagers, the only one who truly understand the dangers as they are the ones who will have to live with the consequences.
Tim Hunter (Queens, NY)
So the Trump administration is aligning itself with Russia and Saudi Arabia,by taking a position that will be harmful to Americans and the civilized world.Can anyone even pretend to be surprised?
Sal A. Shuss (Rukidding, Me)
Trump Team Pushes Fossil Fuels at Climate Talks I can't even.
kenneth (nyc)
President Trump’s international energy and climate adviser, Wells Griffith .... arguing that the developing world would be heavily reliant on coal, oil, and gas for some time. CERTAINLY AS LONG AS WE REFUSE TO CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES.
Gregg McGlinn (Oakland CA)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” - that pretty much sums it up! That equation must be reversed - no country should pursue their own economic and energy security at the sacrifice of environmental sustainability - leaders on all fronts - political, religious, business - must recognize the conceit of continuing to place short term economic gains over environmental concerns.
Quite Contrary (Philly)
Can't afford an electric car? Try this, but of course caveat emptor meanwhile- While we argue about climate change, one thing most of us who uses public utilities can do immediately, in the next few minutes, even, is to go online and switch our home energy providers to 100% renewable energy (e.g.,non coal, oil or gas) sources. All you need is your account number; the charges are not a separate bill, and rates vary. It cost me $19/month, on top of usage charges, but free to cancel at any time. Carbon savings are equivalent to taking 1.8 cars off the road for a year. Some of these companies offer $ incentives and intro rates. They are for-profit, though they shouldn't be. (Where is our gov't?) But for now... It's very easy to put as least a tiny bit of our money where our mouths are, folks. It's the least any of us can do, even those at my low income level. Anyone who pays a utility bill can try this. It won't solve the big problem, but it will make you a wee bit less complicit. Use your search engine to check your state's public utility commission and find out how. Mine states: "If every resident who cared about the environment was to choose this option, it could reduce the amount of coal being burned for electricity to levels not seen for decades." It's one small thing to believe in, in this miasma of deceit and self-dealing. It made me feel a bit better, for a moment.
and next... (some place)
It's fully portable and no wasteful metal container or pipeline is needed. That's right, I'm referring to the natural and organic solution of our founding fathers... wood. This 100% natural and organic answer will bring a total stop to the wars over oil... dead in their tracks!
JRoebuck (Michigan)
What good is wealth and energy in a contaminated and uninhabited environment?
Quite Contrary (Philly)
@JRoebuck Oh, don't worry, the insects will still be here for company.
JDM (Davis, CA)
To future historians, this period will appear brief, puzzling, and damnable. We're living through an era where the science of climate change was proven and widely accepted, and where we still had time to take decisive action and avert the worst consequences of global warming, but failed to act. This era won't last long. Within a decade, the impacts of climate change will have become so costly that no government, not even those in thrall to the influence of the petroleum industry, will be able to conduct business as usual. Our failure to have taken action will be impossible to understand from the point of view of our grandchildren and those that follow. Why would we allow the interests of the small percentage of people who reap enormous profits from fossil fuels above everyone else? Why did anyone believe their nonsense about "economic prosperity" and "energy security" when so many other completely viable energy options were available? And they'll curse our memory. We are the ones who knew what was going to happen, and we could've stopped it, but we didn't.
Ralphie (CT)
Here's some interesting info based on a recent analysis: I picked Texas as I am familiar with the land. NOAA shows Texas increasing temps from 1895 to 2013 at .9 degrees F per century ( .55 degrees C). NOAA shows US increasing .76 C and N. America at 1.08 C. Berkeley Earth shows Texas increasing at .67 C per century since 1910; CONT US at .87 & N Amer at 1.11. First, I examined all data for stations in north east Texas: Abilene to LA border (w to e) Sherman to Waco (N to S) - 96 stations all part of GHCNM and/or GHCND data sets. For the raw data, the avg increase per century was .17 C! For those with over 1000 months of observations -- there was an avg decrease of -.3 C per century. Those with <1000 obs avgd + .45 C. Controlling for # of observations, the avg increase was ZERO. The adjusted increase, however, by Berkeley was .94 C per century. I extended my analysis to all TX; So far, for all stations in Texas with over 1000 obs, the avg change in temp for raw data is -.07 C. But the adjusted rate is +.55 per century on avg. This is limited to Texas so far, but you can say with confidence that the raw data from TX stations shows no temp increase and for the longer lived station -- a decline. There is a lot of variability from station to station, even ones geographically close. And within each station, much annual variation. This analysis makes me question the warming narrative. If it extends beyond TX someone has some explaining to do.
Quite Contrary (Philly)
@Ralphie I'll leave it to someone with a more robust data set and some towering credentials to inform my opinion of the prevailing narrative and expose the fallacy of your argument to NYT readers. In the meantime, I'll continue thinking of ways to reduce my carbon footprint. Suggest you consider doing the same.
Ralphie (CT)
@Quite Contrary I'm using the data from NOAA, that's the official data set for the US and the globe. Sorry, but data is data. No one will be able to contest my analysis because it is what it i s. And I guarantee you --- none of the alarmists posting here have done any analyses of the data nor do they know how.
b fagan (chicago)
@Ralphie - yes, you have some explaining to do. Let me help you, Ralphie, your NOAA analysis "accidentally" left out the four warmest years in the record when you stopped at 2013. Here's Texas: Texas warmed at +1.0°F/century, not Ralphie's lower number. Note that since 1950, Texas' warming rate is +2.5°F/century. North America warming rate per century is +1.19°C. (Data from 1910 to 2018) Again, Ralphie hid the extra warming. But if you look at the trend since 1950 instead, it's accelerated - the rate is +2.19°C. And if you look since 1988 when Hansen warned Congress, North America is warming at a rate of +3.56°C per century. But Ralphie, who claims expertise in statistics, moves on to play with local sets of raw data. He never heard of Garbage In-Garbage Out, or that data scientists know that bad data has to be accounted for, or changes in data collection. For example, "raw data" for temperature stations could show a sudden, long-term change in temperature, but the cause could be a change to a new hour of day for collecting the temperature. That's accounted for by processing "raw data" in order to get "information". But Ralphie likes to pretend otherwise with distractions.
ChrisJ (Canada)
Changeover to sustainable energy will be costly, difficult, and painful. But it will generate positive economic growth. The most illogical assumption is that in an environment which cannot sustain humans there will be the possibility of any economy at all!
Jorja (Quebec)
This is why this whole thing makes no sense. What will be the point of wealth when the environment gets too hot and too polluted to live in? I get it, the west has winters that provide respite from the heat, but the Southern Hemisphere does not, and they should be in the fore front, but they do not really have political or economic power. It’s up to young socially minded people to do something, I am so frustrated that we are not able to do anything
Paul Tapp (Orford, Tasmania.)
In my early years in PR for Tasmania's only energy provider we hosted a forum for opponents to damming wild-rivers for electricity production. Many had flown in from interstate to take part in protests. The Hydro Electric Commission had its eyes on the remote wild Franklin River as its next project, with a view to selling excess production via cable to other States...'clean energy' always the catch-cry. The protection of rivers more important than the production of energy from fossil-based resources, the 'greenies' were growing into a major political lobby. Many had come from cities that belched coal-fired power fumes into the atmosphere. I singled out an offensive protester and asked him how he and his fellow protesters got to Tasmania for the planned street marches. He replied, 'by plane and car'. My response targeted the hypocrisy of using fossil-fuel pollutants, not just to travel, but to manufacture the aircraft, cars and the made-in-China clothing they were garbed arrive for a protest.The point being, of course, that humanity should never have left the caves. Everything we do contributes to the ultimate destiny of the conundrum of living with exponential sophistication and allowing beautiful rivers to run unhindered to the still does the Franklin River.
Don (Basel CH)
Remember the Doomsday Clock? It might help if every media source  had an Anthropocene Clock (for our politicians and climate deniers to look at), ticking off the species that die-out every day because of human activity. Ending of course when we arive at the Eremocene: the  age of loneliness, when we are practically alone( if we adapt) on the remnant of what was a beautiful planet.
Panthiest (U.S.)
Mr. Griffith said: “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Of course, Mr. Griffith. Who needs clean air and water?
printer (sf)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” I am speechless. They just come right out and say it.
David Gage ( Grand Haven, MI)
The time has come to create a future special tax focused on those currently in Congress along the current President who do not understand the health and wealth ramifications which will be related to global warming. Most in the next generation will pay for our ignorance however those children and grandchildren of the current elected officials who today refuse to even accept the fact that global warming results from our overconsumption of fossil fuels should have to pay more. Therefore, it would only be fair if a special income tax of 35% of gross income with no deductions allowed is established soon after the current ignorant and/or corrupt elected officials who fight to eliminate our responsibilities related to our environment are removed from office.
Paul Grace (Tennessee)
I am an Australian living in the USA. It’s embarrassing to see the government of my country aligning with climate change denial. I do have grandkids and I care about the condition of the planet I am passing on to them. I’ll be exercising my vote to make that clear.
Tony (New Jersey)
Even if the extreme weather events (wildfire, tornadoes or hurricanes) hit the Trump administraiton and its allies only, they will be the first to run away, and yet still deny it.
mk nelson (portland, oregon)
I do hope wiser heads will prevail. Of course short term gains over long term liveablility and health of a populations in a country will lead to its eventual destruction. Sick citizens, unable to get enough oxygen into theri lungs and dpressed individuals deprived of sunlight , inhaling toxins that destroy the lungs and liver are deprived of their lives. If you have ever visited Farmington ND or Wyoming where the open coal cars run for miles, seeing the air thick with inhaleable particles, feeling the lack of oxygen, the loss of wildlife that makes humanbeings happy just by seeing it, you know what I am talking about. The claim that developing alternative resources for energy production puts our country in an economic tail spin is blindly false. Former adminstrations steps toward devloping and encouraging alternative energy sources did not cause financial melt downs, the collapse of auto maufacturing, the unwise gambling on the housing market, all of which lead to misery and poverty for many Americans. Anger alone is not going to solve this, in my opinion, short sighted and eventually catastrophic stance. New technologies that are more lucrative will bring sustainable changes. Go Science, do that thing.
George Orwell (USA)
The readers here seem woefully misinformed. Allow me to provide simple facts: -Glaciers were Already Retreating Before 1900 -Ice ages have been coming and going for eons. -The last 20 years have shown zero warming. -Man produces less than 1/2 of 1 percent of C02 on the planet. -It was warmer in the 15th century than it is now. -The greatest warming in the 20th century was between 1935 and 1950. -NASA confirms – Sea levels FALLING across the planet in 2016 and 2017. -NASA Data: Earth Cooled by Half a Degree Celsius From '16-'18 -Scientists have been caught manipulating and hiding data. -None, NONE, of their prior predictions have come true.
bl (rochester)
@George Orwell I am quite sure that were he alive, your namesake would have felt very very squeamish about listing such assertions without any url or reference source attached to each and every one of them. The real Orwell was a documenter of observations and events who made very sure that what he reported was evidence based and not mere hearsay; was genuinely reflective of an underlying reality and not mere cherry picking of daily events. What you have written, and how you have chosen to write it, is a travesty of the principles he upheld to the end of his short life.
Bob (Portland)
Who is Trump's delegate to the Fossil Fuels Promotional & Planetary Destruction Conference in Fargo N. Dakota?
Paul (Washington)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Translation: live for today and who cares about consequences, even if it ultimately triggers the rapid, irreversible destruction of our own ecosystem. This is Hardin's "Tragedy of The Commons" redux but this time it's the global ecosystem at stake.
kepallist (Pittsburgh)
As usual, It's very important that no distinction be made between governments and their citizens in order for this article to work. Just as the United States faces internal opposition to its policies, so does Australia, whose citizens elect their leaders. Russia and Saudi Arabia are different systems of authoritarian rule, but their citizens may also have something different to say about their planet's future. These current leaders won't do anything to combat Climate Change - predictably. So how about we pay attention to what climate activists are doing to promote change and how Poland's government is trying to silence them? Those "protesters" so carelessly referred to in this article are the activists and heroes who will bring real change - they are the news.
David MD (NYC)
"With its stance, the United States was emerging as the leader of an informal movement to promote coal and other fossil fuels — despite reports, including by the government’s own scientists, that the planet is growing dangerously warmer because of greenhouse gasses." It is important for the NYT, Mr. Plumer and Ms. Friedman to be completely honest and give the entire story. President Trump has stated repeatedly his desire to keep open existing US nuclear power plants (NPP) which are by far the best method for eliminating greenhouse gas (electric cars, even, can be recharged using NPP instead of using carbon-based fuel plants). Environmental France uses NPPs for generating 75% of their electric power. Yet it is our Gov. Cuomo who has stated that he wants to close the Indian Point NPP which currently supplies one-fourth the electricity of NYC and Westchester Country (total pop 10 million) only to be replaced by greenhouse gas generated electricity. It is in fact Cuomo who is anti-green while Trump has been promoting green energy. In California one NPP was recently closed and they intend to close the remaining NPP in a few years. So California is anti-green as well. Yet, one never hears of the environmentalists based in California criticizing their govt. for closing green NPPs. Instead of criticizing Trump regarding greenhouse gases, New Yorkers and Californians and Mr. Plumer and Ms. Friedman should look in their own back yard.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@David MD: When can we expect Trump to come forth with a plan to find a better place to store spent nuclear fuel than in the yards of nuclear power plants?
Albert Edmud (Earth)
@Steve Bolger...What was Obama's plan for storing spent nuclear fuel? He had eight years to work on it. It must be a doozy of a plan.
David MD (NYC)
@Steve Bolger 16 years ago Congress approved funding for storing the waste in Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Facility and it had been developed for exactly that purpose. Unfortunately, anti-green Obama stopped the funding in 2011. It is *extremely important* to examine actions (eg. Obama stopping funding after 9 years for Yucca Mountain whose intent is just that -- to store nuclear waste) and not to listen to words. "The Obama administration's rushed efforts to shut down Yucca Mountain were strictly political and could set back the opening of a nuclear waste repository by more than 20 years, according to a new report by a federal watchdog [The GAO -- Government Accounting Office] The administration killed the repository program last year without citing technical or safety issues," GAO: Death of Yucca Mountain Caused by Political Maneuvering Thankfully, pro-green Trump's administration has restarted the funding for developing Yucca Mountain. Yet, even though Trump is pro-green, encouraging green nuclear power and restarting the use of Yucca Mountain and Obama was clearly anti-green, the MSM incorrectly states Trump is anti-green and Obama as pro-green. Examine the actions and the evidence is clear.
Martha (Northfield, MA)
The Trump administration and other multinational leaders are trying to turn these climate talks into a big business conference for fossil fuel interests. And something this article doesn’t mention is the ridiculously huge and intimidating police presence, heavily armed with military gear, tasers and tear gas, as if preparing to go to war against a relatively small crowd of peaceful citizens who are simply trying to take a stand on moving in the direction of renewable energy infrastructure and against protecting the interests of the fossil fuel industry.
sophia (bangor, maine)
It's too late. They just want to make as much money as they can before the ship goes down. It's incomprehensible, but there it is. The human species - and millions of others because of us - will die out in a couple hundred years. If some other intelligent life form arises after us, in a few million years, they will surely wonder at the greed and ignorance that caused our demise. I'm truly grateful I have no grandchildren.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@sophia: Evidently we're already past the level where intelligence enhances survival.
Stefan “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” (Berlin)
SNL could not have come up with a better parody of world leaders. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” He might just as well have said “I, and the administration, the country I represent, don’t care about the future generations since we won’t be there when the shot really hits the fan” Pure evil has a strange face nowadays.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Stefan: This from people who spend $1 trillion per year to build weapons to destroy each other.
Vicky (NV)
Shame on you Mr Trump. Endangering billions for the "economic prosperity" of few people. Stop this farce of "rapid retreat from fossil fuels is unrealistic".
RCJCHC (Corvallis OR)
Pushing fossil fuels is a crime against humanity at this point. Someone arrest that arrogant, undereducated president!
Larry Lundgren (Sweden)
Simple question to the rare reader who knows that in Denmark and Sweden, and more recently even in West Palm Beach FL, the choice has been made to use solid waste (preferably after recycling and even, in Linköping SE, removal of food waste) as a fuel to generate electricity and/or to heat whole cities. After looking at a picture of the two most advanced solid-waste incinerators in the world, can you imagine having one of these in your county as a replacement for the coal fired plant closest to you and the landfills that your county must have? The pictures appear in today's post at: Citizen US SE
Bruce Stafford (Sydney NSW)
Of course Trump would find a receptive audience with the current Australian (LNP*) Government. It's current Prime Minister (and hopefully soon to be ex-P.M.) Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal into Parliamentary Question Time in the Reps (against House rules BTW). Morrison also talks of "clean coal". Many in the LNP's Rabid Right also think that Trump is the ants pants and would follow him over a cliff if he led them. But don't fret; Morrison and his LNP mob will be out on their ear at the next federal election. Maybe even earlier since the LNP has now lost its majority in the House of Representative and is relying on independents to survive. The LNP's pro-fossil fuel policy, and the climate deniers in the party, will be a major reason for their defeat. *(LNP = Liberal/National Party coalition [or COALalition]. Don't confuse it with small L liberal).
Shillingfarmer (Arizona)
In the case of ameliorating climate change, the outcomes of delay don't look much different than denial. No-rules capitalists will benefit, but only for a few generations. The last 200 years, particularly the post-WW2 75 years, have been a singular time when mankind has known it was destroying the planet, but had the means to do something about it. That window is nearly closed for good. Dead, dying, or life-impoverished seas, lands and skies are almost certainly the irreversible future.
sheikyerbouti (California)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” -Webb Griffith What can you say.
Doug Lowenthal (Nevada)
@sheikyerbouti You just beat me to it. You can say that it has to be one of the most ignorant things you’ve ever read.
sheikyerbouti (California)
@sheikyerbouti Let me at least get the guy's name right. Wells Griffith. My apologies to all the Webb Griffith's out there.
Michael Tyndall (San Francisco )
Global warming and environmental degradation are not just products of the fossil fuel industry. The deregulation mania in Trump’s Washington and various red states also impoverishes the environment. But it’s also important to state that overpopulation is an equal threat to the planet’s health. We add 83 million new souls to our numbers every year. Every one of those people consume resources and produce waste that must be managed. If we reach a tipping point in global sustainability, cascading ecosystem crashes could cause mass starvation, civil unrest, extinctions, and even outright wars. It’s more likely there will be creeping unrest and conflict as various resources and habitable regions become more constrained. Regardless, things will eventually get very ugly. We know this is coming and we’re not doing near enough to stop it.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Michael Tyndall: Trumpism is just another manifestation of overpopulation angst.
R. Koreman (Western Canada)
Fossil fuel use is not the problem. The problem is food production. The more affordable and obtainable food is the more offsprings humans create over generations. We become more fertile with regular nutrition so the population doubles. As food becomes more scarce fertility rates will drop and the desire to settle down turns to aggression. But as long as we can produce food we can have more and more people. We’ll be okay with eating each other due to shifting baselines and cool packaging. “mmm, have you tried the Solent Green? It’s people!”
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@R. Koreman: When the Nile dried up on the Old Kingdom of Egypt, people did eat each other. So did Easter Islanders after they used up all the materials on the island for making boats.
Hogue (Massachusetts)
I didn't think I'd see the demise of democracy and the planet in my lifetime. My parents must be spinning in their graves.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Hogue: Who really believes that the dead are disturbed by anything that happens?
Shakinspear (Amerika)
Trump's new motto.............. Russia and Saudi Arabia First.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Shakinspear: Oiling the skids to the Apocalypse.
KJ (Poughkeepsie, NY)
The Trump Administration says that they don't want to sacrifice economic prosperity for environmental sustainability, but what happens when the effects of global warming become even more severe? Take rising sea levels for example. With the warming of the air and ocean, ice is melting and water is expanding. In the very near future, the consequences will include territory loss around the world, trillions of dollars worth of damaged property and infrastructure, and the weakening of many nations socially and economically. Is prevention of these horrors and the preservation of human lives not enough of an incentive to reduce fossil fuel emissions and promote sustainable practices?? Contrary to what the Administration believes, economic prosperity IS possible with environmental sustainability, because what is a functioning economy without healthy workers and social stability?
msf (NYC)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Masters in twisting words so they appear to benefit a nation, not just their own pockets. WAKE UP!. Can we do what the French are doing? More is at stake than wages!
fred (washington, dc)
Steve W (Ford)
The Trump administration has the "gall" to speak the truth that so many want to ignore. The truth is that NO ONE is prepared to leave modernity behind and abandon fossil fuel use and any politician foolish enough to try would be promptly voted out of office by outraged citizens as we can see from the reaction of the French to very minor tax increases trying to do exactly that. Reality is a hard thing for many to face but, at this point, Trump is on the right side of history as the left loves to claim.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Steve W: Only until history derails. When the unmentionable does hit the fan, the mobs will probably devour the scientists they will blame for it.
Michael Tyndall (San Francisco )
‘We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.”’ This guy speaks for the elite who own fossil fuel companies and stand to profit handsomely if left alone. These folks will be just fine if large portions of the planet are barely habitable. Immense wealth and entitlement will allow them to relocate as they wish. It will also soothe any troubled conscience. The losers on a despoiled planet can pick themselves up by their own waterproof bootstraps. And please, no mass migrations!
Birdygirl (CA)
How many times do you need to bang your head against the wall? Apparently, endlessly, because those who doubt global climate change must be too taxed to connect the dots between extreme weather events, fossil fuels, and rising sea levels. It's just easier to ignore it and hope it all goes away. This is our legacy: bow down to big oil, doubt solid science, and live in the past--that's the way to deal with it if you don't like facts and reality.
TexasR (Texas)
The cleanest countries catch the criticism. If the protesters go to China or India, where their hallowed solar panels are being made, sending waste streams of heavy metals and acids into the world water cycle, they can shout softly, and end up in prison. High school physics explains these processes better than most "environmentalists" can articulate in a conversation. We have to get past "Green is good," or "Oil bad." Green is terribly dirty, and in the hands of the Chinese, much worse than any hydrocarbon. They're killing us, people.
Susan H (New York)
Dear Mr. Griffiths, In order to help you support your unpopular, disastrous position on fossil fuels, I suggest you rid your office, home and automobile of all air conditioner units. This would "prove" your commitment to ignoring climate change. Show us how it's done!
Albert Edmud (Earth)
@Susan H...Have you rid your office, home and automobile of all air conditioning units, Susan? Of course, you wouldn't own an automobile. But, what about that triple door frig? That designer oven? Water heater? Those digital devices and their energy sucking "cloud"? Walk/cycle/jog to work? Vacations? Progressives? Not very.
Emory (Seattle)
The battle has become central to American politics. Unfortunately, the increasingly severe winters in the NE US (which are due to the "sluggish" jet stream, due to global warming) will offer camouflage to the profit-driven deniers. Their impact is enormous. Here in WA state they defeated a carbon tax measure on the ballot by creating confusion. Pointing at short-term extremes has become the public relations battle. Floods, fires, hurricanes vs cold N Carolina winters. The battle of the idiots. Meanwhile the ice melts.
DSS (Ottawa)
You cannot defend the wide spread use of fossil fuel. It is not logical.
bilbo336 (Colorado)
Our use of fossil fuels is only a manifestation of the real problem - that is, there are too many people on this planet! While I understand that the world must reduce the consumption of fossil fuels I also understand that any reductions we might make will be offset by the growing world population. When I was born, in 1948, the world population was about 2.5 billion, now it is about 7.6 billion and I just read a report projecting it to swell to 9.9 billion by 2050. Most of the growth is in underdeveloped countries and those people want and need energy. And they will use whatever is easily available, i.e. fossil fuels. Why is this never included in the discussions and plans to mitigate climate change?
jaco (Nevada)
@bilbo336 What exactly do you propose to be done about "overpopulation"?
Mark Holbrook (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
Republicans would suggest more wars, that way we can kill more innocent people. And, if you think that is fantasy, look at the record. Our country has been at war, quite literally, since the December 8, 1941. Most of it for political reasons as opposed to “defending” anything but the ability for the rich to get richer.
will duff (Tijeras, NM)
@jaco not to speak for bilbo, but here's one solution: Oh, wait, I can't think of one. How about a huge "X-prize" for anyone who can? It would be the most important discovery ever toward saving humanity.
LMS (Waxhaw, NC)
Mr. Wells Griffith is a Koch operative and represents the interests of the fossil fuel industry. Their view is that they should be allowed to strip the earth and pollute the air, water, and land with abandon, and without accountability, in the interest of profit. That is what he means by "economic freedom". Koch industries is one of the largest polluters of land, water, and air in the USA.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@LMS: All of these people so resent the inevitability of their own deaths that they want to make the whole world their grave.
ggallo (Middletown, NY)
Wells Griffith- "....the developing world would be heavily reliant on coal, oil and gas for some time..." (that's a giant assumption). and “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Well, that covers just about every country. I wouldn't call those two statements contradictory, however taken together they amount to saying nothing other than, "we are gonna drill, baby, drill no matter what." Much like the proliferation of cell phones in developing nations, thus skipping much landline infrastructure, these same nations just might skip over fossil fuel sources and go right into renewable sources and leave fossil fuel dependent countries in their respective prehistoric caves. "environmental sustainability?" Catchy phrase that, in this case, means the opposite.
James Mc Carten (Oregon)
Sacrificing economic prosperity? Really? The economic costs are getting more profound every year due to climate change. The New York Times should display a graph on the costs of destruction and the amount of aid in dollars on a yearly basis. Maybe the oil, gas and coal companies should be held responsible for damages, especially when it was known, the hazards of greenhouse gases well in advance.
Tom Witkin (Sudbury, MA)
Not so many years from now, the world will be asking #WhyDidntWeDoAnything to stop the climate disaster in our future?
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Add wetlands to the natural resources to be plowed under for golf courses, or whatever is else is supposed to make the followers of Trump happy.
Concerned Citizen - MCG (Salt Point, NY)
Continued from previous comment: If enough individuals lived more sustainably markets would be altered and corporations would be forced to adjust or fold. By living sustainably we vote with our dollars. We can't do it all without support from our leaders, but we can force leadership to take notice and act by the choices we make. Instead we protest when our costs go up, and ironically set items on fire causing more pollution and carbon emissions. Although we must continue to pursue clean energy options, is it realistic that our current and projected near-term energy needs can be met by so called clean energy sources? Also, how clean and environmentally friendly are these "clean" energy sources? How clean is mining for materials used in the production of batteries and solar panels? What is the waste stream that is produced by their manufacture/ ultimate disposal? More plastics are used to make lighter more energy efficient cars - plastics from oil? In effect we have offshored our pollution when it comes to these items as well as technology items. These products are produced/recycled in Third World countries where children play in puddles laced with heavy metals from our technology. What sacrifices are we willing to make as individuals to clean up our individual impact on the environment. Eco-tours to Costa Rico - did you take a plane? Skiing in Colorado - drive your SUV or take a plane? Drive your SUV to your weekend home in the country, on the coast, in the mountains?
RLW (Chicago)
Whose economic prosperity is being challenged by attempts to reduce fossil fuel use to protect the planet? A few fat cats that are already billionaires, like Donald J. Trump. The best way to save the planet is to make Donald Trump and his friends in Russia and Saudi Arabia and all the other coal and oil producers simply irrelevant. Non-carbon-based energy sources could be profitable if we remove this ignorant president from office and select someone who understands that Trump's policies are not good for the economy, they are not good for American voters (all voters even those wearing silly red MAGA hats) or for our children.
Angry (The Barricades)
@jaco France taxed the poor for gasoline, and was planning to spend a good chunk of that revenue on diesel. It was a regressive, sham tax that was implemented poorly. But hey, we'd never expect nuance (or honesty) from you
Robert (Out West)
It’s pretty simple, really: yet again, these are “Texas Taxes.” Texas chopped its state taxes, shoving them off onto local towns and local people, then ran around chortling about cheaper life than California. Nope; just a distribution of pretty much the same costs downward and out. Trump’s tax cut, same same. The wealthy and the wealthiest corps pay less, everybody else, a) gets a crumb or two, so that b) they don’t notice that the crumbs are temporary, or that c) their local and atate taxes go up, d) their services go down, and e) they’re left clutching the bag that has $600 bil in new deficits this year, and $2 trillion in new debt. So, the Kochs and the Saudis et al make more, pay less in regulation. You don’t get jack—note how the Saudis just chopped production to keep prices up?—other than the bills for sea level rise, damaged climate, and chaotic storms and suchlike. And you lose more of a world worth living in. See ya, suckers. As Trump said apropos of our new debts, hey, he’ll be gone by the time the bills come due. By the way, did you vote?
EAP (Bozeman, MT)
If this is an economic problem then we need economists to solve it. If it is a matter of scientific proof and an engineering problem then we need scientists and engineers to solve it. If it is a moral or ethical problem then we need people to solve it, by our will, our actions and our sense of duty to our fellow creatures on earth- humans and animals. To claim, as trump and his cronies due, that they have "right " to continue the economic structure that threatens the world economy, denies scientific consensus, stifles innovation and growth in industry and is morally and ethically apporent, it is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by Oligarchs to seize control of the last oil reserves on earth and to profit from that by sowing economic strife and bringing political chaos upon the earth. In short, it is an act of war against humanity; for greed, lust and power to control.
Barbara (Iowa)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Translation: We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice the short-term profits of its oil, coal and gas industries to the survival and prosperity of the entire human race.
David Wirtanen (Portland)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Or summarized as. "A capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with."
James Mc Carten (Oregon)
This, above all else, is grounds for impeachment. He needs to be removed ASAP.
bl (rochester)
If one peruses carbon sequestration technology sites, one finds a small number of operational sites in different countries (Norway, Canada, Brazil, Germany, China, US). It is unclear the extent to which this technology could scale quickly enough in order to judge if it could be applied broadly across the planet, and, if so, at what cost. Perhaps it would be useful for the Times to publish a study about the practicality and costs of installing sequestration or recycling of co2 over the next 25 years, and the likely effects upon co2 emissions. That is, were the country to follow the path that trump, wheeler, zinke, perry intend to follow, what would be the cost of doing so if all the needed sequestration and scrubbing methods were to be used to reduce co2 emissions by 90%, 95%, or 99%? This would help us make sense of this country's current gung ho approach to exploit reservoirs of coal/oil to achieve "energy dominance". At present, it seems very unclear what the actual increase in cost would be to achieve different levels of co2 reduction. The people in charge give the impression they couldn't care less about such matters, and that it's the use of the coal/oil that counts, not the price at which a given level of reduction of co2 can be achieved. This avoids the need to talk about the costs of their plan. This disconnect from economic reality makes their plan into some type of nutty suicidal pact since the cost of co2 emission is deemed irrelevant.
SP Morten (Virginia)
Will they tell their dying children and grandchildren that at least we didn’t sacrifice economic prosperity?
RCJCHC (Corvallis OR)
@SP Morten No environment, no economy.
jaco (Nevada)
@SP Morten We will tell our prosperous children and grand children that we didn't let the socialists force them to live in poverty and degradation based on ridiculous climate apocalypse prophecies.
The economic costs of ignoring or minimizing global climate change will be astronomical, far exceeding the economic benefits derived from exploiting fossil fuels. The human costs are too dire to be calculated. We are on the road to species extinction, and voting down the climate change report cannot change the facts. The Trump administration and its allies are fossil fools.
F In Texas (DFW)
I'm glad we have a History and Modern Languages Major turned Lawyer then party hack leading policy on energy . . . oh, but he pumped gasoline at his dad's gas station . . . he's an expert, then.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@F In Texas: At least you finally got the rain Rick Perry danced for.
b fagan (chicago)
@F In Texas - yeah, and even if Trump exits the Presidency, his Veep has suitable experience in having taxpayers clean up his family business' fossil-fuel mess. Bankruptcy and sticking it to the taxpayer seems to be a theme in the Executive leadership this term. $20 million and counting on the taxpayer dime in Indiana.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@b Fagan: No worries, the EPA will reclassify these sites as pristine and the government will be off the hook to clean them up.
Phyllis Sturges (Olympia, WA.)
I don't think that we are all doomed. Comments like this really don't help. What we need to do ASP is to impeach this president (for starters). We can't wait until 2020 to vote him out of office. There isn 't enough time for that. We must immediately get someone into the presidency who can restart the process of resisting climate disaster. It's not all over yet.
TexasR (Texas)
@Phyllis Sturges Please read up on impeachment. Focus on the part about the trial in the Senate. I like your energy, but it could be redirected to something more productive. Try to find someone who will take on the Chinese and Indians. Western countries are low-hanging fruit because protesters can speak their minds and not go to jail. Europe and the US have actually made great progress over the past twenty years to clean things up. But, remember that there's only a finite amount of water on the earth. When the Chinese pour toxic waste from the production of solar panels headed for California into their rivers, it comes here. Al Gore left that part out.
Jan NEWMAN MD (Montana)
Over the last 20 yrs I have watched glaciers disappear, forrest fires become an every summer event with the fires lasting long into the fall, summer temperatures mandating air conditioning...didn’t need them before. Half the summer we can’t breathe due to smoke. Snow in winter has become rain and ice from melting snow as temperatures rose above freezing. Growing season has extended a month and a half. No doubt about climate change here. Diseases requiring warmer temperatures are marching north. More and more patients have respiratory diseases.Despite not acknowledging the obvious there will be more and more patients with COPD as a lasting legacy of this administration. And let’s not forget environmental devastation caused by the oil sands, mountain top and strip mining. All for short term profits of fossil fuel giants. We seem to have no problem destroying the planet and life for future generations. The reality is not only do we have to get rid of fossil fuels but we have to reverse the damage that has already been done. Some of that damage can never be repaired. Wake up deniers before you and your children die of COPD or malaria or perish in Paradise.
Bob in NM (Los Alamos, NM)
Trying to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar is like trying to power a truck with rubber bands. Sorry, but fossil fuels are so much more energy intensive that they will be with us for quite some time. That's the reality. But a few highly educated environmentalists, James Hanson for example, are supporting nuclear power. Despite criticism, this is the only way we can reliably supply carbon-free electricity 24/7 today and in the near future. Solar and wind cannot. One nuclear plant can replace 800 wind turbines or 15 million solar panels. All those turbines or panels spread over the landscape obviously have their own environmental problems that no one seems to mention. Dedicated engineers are developing advanced nuclear plants that are modular, lower cost, and much safer than the scaled-up archaic reactors, taken from Admiral Rickover's 1950s submarine designs, now in use. The best solution I can see for both electricity and mobility is deploying these advanced nuclear plants along with hybrid plug-in electric vehicles (that have a small gas engine for comfort). One could also consider overhead electrical lines along one lane of highways for large vehicles where electrical power from on-board batteries is probably not realistic.
Robert (Out West)
Oh, go read Obama’s national energy plan. You’d like it, and you wouldn’t have to keep pretending nobody ever thought, “Hey, we need to get off fossil fuels but we’re stuck with cutting back slowly, and we’ll need nat gas and nukes too, at least they’re improvements.” By the way, how come none of the more nukes crowd EVER mentions conservation or just plain cutting back on energy use?
b fagan (chicago)
@Bob in NM - while we wait and wait for the not-there-yet nukes to get built, we should keep adding to our wind and solar generation capacity, since those work already. We should expand storage installs, since prices keep dropping and they can be manufactured and installed quickly, too. Efficiency's nice, too, as Robert mentions. And hybrids cars (for comfort) is about as practical as advice to early car owners to carry a horse. It's a more complex vehicle when the easier thing is to continue the deployment and improvement in battery charging tech. I think it's unfortunate that the group Hansen has joined has effectively become a pressure group for an industry that doesn't have product yet, since a lot of their effort seems to go into fighting against non-fossil technologies that are being quickly manufactured and deployed already. Not to mention that "less risk" of proliferation isn't "no risk" as we consider the option of filling nations around the world with nuclear sites - while the world doesn't seem to be getting much more stable. Small-scale nuclear might be able to work, but that is absolutely not a reason to push back against existing technologies that DO work and that keep improving (faster product cycles when your test systems don't become radioactive).
Quite Contrary (Philly)
@b fagan Nobody ever mentions hydrokinetic energy and research into improving grid storage, but there are many avenues that could be more intensively researched, explored and developed as either transitional or incremental approaches to reducing carbon impact. Solar and wind aren't the only things out there. More reporting on science funding, less on politics, please. Maybe the deniers could be educated, swayed, changed in consumption and voting habits.
Ellen McManus (Chicago)
"but Allies Emerge, Too"? These emerging allies are the new Climate Change Denier Petrostate Autocrats, who are about to send the rest of the world over the cliff in order to preserve their control of fossil fuels.
Mike (Somewhere In Idaho)
I love it when someone says the obvious. The world is and will be dependent upon carbon based fuel for the next 100 years. WE should try and figure out ways to Minimize the down sides through chemistry and engineering.
Gregg54 (Chicago)
I support any Democrat who runs on a pro-environment, anti-coal regulatory agenda. We need to get real. Why bother pandering to West Virginia or similar states or regions that will vote Republican anyhow?
walkman (LA county)
‘We’re not keeping it in the ground.” The Trump administration is run by the most backward players in the fossil fuel industry, including domestic coal companies, Russia, Australia and Saudi Arabia. They are just gangsters in suits. For the sake of our future they must be fought against in every way. Trump and his gang must be voted out completely in 2020.
BobMeinetz (Los Angeles)
Burning fossil fuel now emits 37 billion tons of CO2 every year. After ten years, the equivalent of burning all terrestrial biomass - every plant, animal, and human on Earth - to a crisp. Though humanity's number three existential problem might be fossil fuel, the top two are studied ignorance and apathy.
Barry Williams (NY)
"Mr. Griffith’s position was shared by Patrick Suckling, Australia’s ambassador for the environment, who was also on the panel and who agreed that 'fossil fuels are projected to be a major source of energy for a significant time to come.' He spoke in favor of technology for capturing carbon dioxide from coal plants and burying it, and noted that such technology could be exported." Ahhh, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Remember when nuclear energy was the coming thing in the US, until fears of plant failures and fuel waste disasters halted that in its tracks? Now we have fossil fuels folks talking about burying carbon dioxide from plants. Except, instead of local disasters from exposed radioactive wastes, we'd have thousands or millions of tons of carbon dioxide released into the collective atmosphere. You think there won't be government subsidies to pay for safely storing this stuff? And any of the other means of mitigating the effects of using fossil fuels? The costs will be roughly equivalent to a carbon tax, to achieve the level of mitigation required to prevent global disaster, except we'll all pay it instead of just the fossil fuel industries. And, since the call is also for no regulation, who's going to make sure these companies do the right thing? Sigh...
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Barry Williams: I consider 1950 the year when humanity bet the planet on the assumption that practical controlled nuclear fusion would be demonstrated within the next 20 years.
Barry Williams (NY)
@Steve Bolger I'm not sure how we bet the planet on fusion. I don't remember that being one of the main arguments for fission nuclear power.
wise brain (martinez, ca)
When we stand back and look at what is happening throughout the Europe and the US, it's shocking to see how disinformation is a cancer on western values of democracy. Rival foreign countries and the wealthy have used the rural "forgotten" to stoke chaos and division. Their goal: undermine western values of democracy to install one-man RULE for their own personal gain. Example: Macron declares the difference between nationalism and patriotism and the "yellow jackets" demand his resignation. What was his crime? Daring to address climate change.
Jeff Scannell (Montpeleir, VT)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” -This is a suicidal thought with a plan and an intent to act on it and therefore it's thinkers should be immediately hospitalized in a psychiatric facility until healing has occurred.
JoeG (Houston)
@Jeff Scannell As you can see the totalitarian mind is deeply inbedded in the ecology movement. Come to think of it suicide, the poor house or a mental institution isn't much of a choice for a free state but if I had to chose better you than me.
Brian Will (Encinitas, CA)
The main problem here is that we have two sides with fundamentally wrong perspectives: The climate change deniers who claim nothing is going on, and the climate change proponents that predict doom and gloom. Although I believe that the climate change science is sound, the arguments how to fix the problem don't ring a bell with the opposing side. So, what to do? First off, stop talking about climate change as if it's happening in 10, 20, or 50 years... that's a losing argument. Humans are bad at planning 20 years ahead, just look at 401K participation rates. The climate has changed, even if we cut carbon emissions today, the rise in temperatures and all the impacts are a done deal. Nobody can stop it. Second, monetize the problem. Call out the $500 million investment that Miami is doing to create pump stations and build sea walls. Call out the $100s of millions states will lose due to declining real estate values. Call out the fact the insurance companies today are retreating from flood prone areas, call out that the Federal flood insurance program is out of money... make it about money. Third, make it about health. We all want our kids to breath good air, drink clean water. Make this something every mom in the US will care about. Lastly, make this about lacking government institutions. Fact is that we have no effective way to relocate a community from the coast 5 miles inland. We have to rethink what government support we need to deal with this crises.
Concerned Citizen - MCG (Salt Point, NY)
While I am saddened by our current administration's "head in the sand" approach to energy, pollution, and climate issues, I don't see this as being unrepresentative of our nation as a whole. The commenters on this site that blame government and oligarchs for current environmental problems are many, while those who urge us to take individual action are few. It is true that we as individuals cannot effect entirely the change that needs to occur. The magnitude is simply beyond the capacity of individuals without government and industrial support. However, the current scenes in France as well as the reactions in the US when the price of gasoline and fuel rises substantially show that the average citizen is not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to effect the massive transition required to move from fossil fuels to cleaner energy. How many of the environmental warriors expressing disgust over the powers that be have actually made sacrifices in their own lives to live more sustainably? Are we willing to pay for the full cost of cleaner fossil fuel consumption while the transition to cleaner energy sources continues. How many walk or bike or take mass transit; live in sustainable homes; drive energy efficient/electric cars; limit use of plastics;use reusable shopping bags - not only at grocery stores; resist the use of air conditioning; line dry our clothes; consider environmental impacts when making purchases, and the list goes on? See next comment.
Robert Avant (Spokane, WA)
@Concerned Citizen - MCG And where, pray tell, does the electricity come from to power your virtue signaling driving choice?
Robert (Out West)
Some of the same sources powering your toys—you know, that fat truck, motorcycle, jet ski, SUV, ATV, snow blower, leaf blower, and all the rest of the noisy junk you shouldn’t have.
dave (montrose, co)
The Guns and Oil Party was purchased long ago by the fossil fuel industry, in the guise of the many arms of the Koch Brother's octopus of political lobbying organization, et al. The fossil fools thus set the stage for a hostile takover of our government by Putin's Chaos President. Now, as trump rides roughshod over all of the best traditions of good government, and works full time to destroy our democracy, it's no surprise that he is wreaking havoc on the very environment that sustains us all.
Ian MacFarlane (Philadelphia)
What these men are doing is to ensure there will be a worldwide division based on presently extraxtable wealth. There is no concern whatsoever for the literal billions of human beings or the uncountable trillions of life forms which presently inhabit our Earth?. These men are not world leaders rather world bullies who will use whatever military force lies under their control to assure the wealth of the world's people is controlled by them and their descendents. What is we, the people of our world, don't see aboiut this blatant move by these powerful and selfish men who have no care whatsoever about this world which belongs to every person born? We are trusting fools to give them another inch in this quest for domination.
Ron MacGregor (Austin, Texas)
Man made climate change has become a religion that is worshipped and supported by speculation that if this happens then therefore that will happen. Man made climate change is a theory and not a fact. It is supported by modeling that is renown for being wrong and excessive. Climate should be examined over centuries and not decades. Blaming weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and tornados on climate change is a false assumption.
James K. Lowden (Camden, Maine)
Man made climate change is a fact. Religion has no research, no data. Climate change is measurable, with reams of supporting data going back centuries. Models of the effects of climate change — what will happen as a result of record-high carbon dioxide in the air — is, indeed, speculative. But again, it’s not faith-based: it’s a system to predict the interaction of various moving parts. Imperfect? Sure, as are all products of man. But we all act every day on imperfect information, our best guess about the future. That’s what the stock market does, and what you do when you decide to carry an umbrella. All science is theory. Gravity is a theory. Theories aren’t “true” except insofar as they’re useful for things such as flying to the moon and back, or eradicating smallpox. No one worships theories; no faith is required. The scientist who disproves climate change — not just “doubts” it, play for pay — would be regarded as making a contribution, not as a heretic. That’s one way to distinguish science from religion. But in 4 decades of study, no one has disproved it. On the contrary, the evidence has only mounted. Deniers and doubters offer no evidence, only disdain for it. Some are ignorant, others cynical. None are credible. We have to act as we always do: on imperfect information, and against those whose profits are threatened. If the two, the problems in the data are the least of our worries.
Albert Edmud (Earth)
@James K. Lowden..."Some are ignorant, others cynical. None are credible." That sounds a lot like something the Grand Inquisitor would have said when dismissing someone like Copernicus. Sophistry in defense of a porous defense. As one old hack said "Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts." As another said " When Science is no longer debatable, it is no longer science." The preponderance of "data" once proved that the Earth was flat. Every model confirmed that fact.
Charles (Saint John, NB, Canada)
The United States has undoubtedly put more CO2 and methane into the atmosphere than anyone by far considering how long it has been the greatest industrial power. And, if I'm not mistaken, about 1/2 century ago the US was the leading discoverer of the problem now so greatly threatening our future. And at the state level some great things are still being done in the US. But Trump's actions have the potential to put the US very much in the very center of the cross-hairs of history in respect to our failure to deal with our most serious all-time problem. People will be scratching their heads wondering how ever such a thing could happen. Mr. Trump exemplifies so many of the things that utterly destroy the proper functioning of society (incredibly dishonest, utterly self-centered, utter disrespect for knowledge or facts, uses people like throw-away fully blown hankies, etc) , and when society is ruined we leave ourselves isolated as individuals sharing 70% of our DNA with slugs. The only thing that ever elevated us was the functioning of society.
Rick Beck (Dekalb IL)
Such an absurdly ridiculous stance this is. Once environmental sustainability is sacrificed what good will the pollutants that caused that sacrifice be? The best I can take from this losing argument is that we should all be content that we entered the advent of extinction as a monetarily secure society with nothing more to worry about than where our next breath of air would come from.
Bernard Waxman (st louis, mo)
It is simple. We have people and a Republican Party in the U.S. that are totally selfish who only care about their current wealth and material possessions. They have no concern for the well being of future generations much less people living today. Many of the wealthy think that they will escape the worst of climate change. They are complete fools and totally selfish.. In the U.S. we could easily cut our use of carbon based fuels nearly in half by simple changes in our lifestyle. Smaller cars, more efficient heating and cooling systems,, well insulated buildings, using mass transit, etc. That is without even taking advantage of solar and wind. Unfortunately most of us are too spoiled, selfish and ignorant to do what is needed.
Albert Edmud (Earth)
@Bernard Waxman...If most of you are too spoiled, selfish and ignorant to do what is needed, then why are ragging on the Republican Party? Republicans are a thin slice of the American population. If you liberals, progressives and Democrats lived conviction instead of hollow chest thumping, you could change the course of human history. Man up and accept responsibility and stop being spoiled and selfish. What kind of legacy is that to leave for your children and grandchildren?
Tonyp152 (Boston, MA)
@Albert Edmud A thin slice of the American population that has done a great job of rigging elections, gerrymandering districts and chipping away at voter rights to seize and maintain power. How else would this thin slice of the population be able to cause so much destruction in the name of narrow minded short term gains. What kind of legacy is that for your children? At this rate of unfettered consumption there won't be much of anything left for you to be concerned about grandchildren.
Mark Schaffer (Las Vegas)
People go into debt for remodeling homes. It is time for people to go into debt for clean energy on their roofs and in their garages. Make coal and oil irrelevant again.
Susan (New York)
Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” I have always wondered what was the thinking behind the short-sighted support for fossil fuel use and exploration. I have been wondering what these people--who live on the earth, breathe air, drink water and may have children--believe is more important than the preservation of the earth as a planet to sustain our life. Now I know, it's MONEY/ Prosperity. These are the values of this country in the international arena.
Paul H (Clendenin, WV)
"...arguing that a rapid retreat from coal, oil and gas was unrealistic." Rapid? It's a retreat that's been going on for decades.
Reacher (China)
@Paul H What decades would those be, exactly? The only sizable increase in non-fossil fuel over the past few decades in the U.S. was a sharp increase in nuclear, which leveled off and is no longer growing. See here: In 2017, renewables represented 4.2% of total U.S. energy consumption and 3.6% of total global energy consumption. If that is the result of decades of fossil fuel "retreat," then the retreat has been in very slow motion. Numbers here:
JoeG (Houston)
Is the goal to be greener than China or do what makes economic sense for us? California and Texas are doing well with renewables and other are following, coal plants are being replaced with natural gas and autos have direct injection with ten speed transmissions. So we're doing better compared to last year even with Trumps antics. One comment said if they were president the would ban all fossil fuel vehicles and replace them with electrics. I couldn't live with the present technology or cost. Is there even enough lithium in the world? Is that the power of presidents or dictators? Does giving that much power to one person does it make sense?
Chico (New Hampshire)
I heard Barrack Obama's far reaching speech at the first Climate Change Conference when we were the leaders of the world speaking in front of 200 nations, and he sound prophetic and visionary, as well as accurate on the challenges of the survival for the world in this coming century; in contrast you listen to the Dolt Trump and his emissaries, lack of engagement, and it sounds like we are heading back into the dark ages....backwards to the days of Charles Dickens 19th century England. The United States under Donald Trump have gone from the world leaders and foremost nation in scientific research to also ran, trying to perpetuate conspiracy theories and fake science, sad a pathetic, we have forsaken our role as leaders of the free world, and turned into an isolationist minor player with blinders on.
Roland Berger (Magog, Québec, Canada)
“...a rapid retreat from coal, oil and gas [is] was unrealistic.” Is no retreat from coal, oil and gas more realistic?
Dave W (Grass Valley, Ca)
Our country’s central idea these days: develop land and other natural resources despite the impacts. We come first today. We are real estate developers now, and increasingly we do not have decision makers who respect our own community interests. Our communities are now the opposition.
JVG (San Rafael)
What makes these actions by the Trump administration totally disingenuous is their ongoing effort to ease all kinds of environmental rules on fossil fuel producers, such as allowing greater amounts of methane to leak from pipes and dumping toxic waste into local waterways. If they were serious about the big picture, and not simply promoting Big Oil, they would simultaneously impose environmental protections along with continued exploration and development of the dirty energy they prefer.
WmC (Lowertown, MN)
Don't these government officials from the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Australia care about their grandchildren? At all?
Lois steinberg (Urbana, IL)
As long as energy is tied to increasing profit there will be no change to a much needed environmental industrial complex. The world does not need more extreme measures of extracting fuel from the planet (deep off-shore oil, tar sands, hydraulic fracking) because the banks need to increase their profits. Energy should be a public utility without profit.
Karen (<br/>)
Nothing like being on the wrong side of history and human progress, not to mention being cozily in bed with the leadership of countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia. It will be a long time before the United States will ever regain the respect it has enjoyed on the world stage, if ever. Greed is not a sound footing on which to build the world’s future.
JMT (Minneapolis MN)
With malice and ignorance toward all, the President of the United States and his unqualified but loyal P. Wells Griffith, proclaim the new fossil fuel era. Burn, burn, burn. Global warming is evident to everyone. The ecosystems that evolved under the pre-industrial age levels of atmospheric CO2 will not be able to adapt quickly to the heat, acidification of the world's oceans, and loss of polar ice caps and glaciers. Warnings from scientists are deprecated and ignored. Urgently needed changes in energy sources and consumption are blocked. I feel that I am trapped on the "unsinkable" Titanic.
hquain (new jersey)
The United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia are autocracies or systems with entrenched minority rule. In the US, for example, the recent Senate election saw the continuing Democratic minority capture nearly 60% of the total vote. No surprise that the rulers focus on themselves. You say you want a revolution? Some do, some don't.
Keitr (USA)
The trump administration’s environmental policies are extremely distressing. I don’t see how we can have economic prosperity in the Heartland in the face of increased drought and temperatures.
R G Wickiewicz (Valatie, NY)
Certainly in cannot be done quickly, and I doubt it can be done at all. Human beings do not have a good record at cooperating. It also does not face the underlying problem: there are simply too many of us. But not to worry, Mother Gaia is on the job and will take care of things. We are no more special than the dinosaurs.
Pquincy14 (California)
"We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability." Insanity made visible in a single sentence. Absent environmental sustainability, there is no economic prosperity or energy security. The question is only how long it will take to permanently lose these things.
John David James (Calgary)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Did a sentient human being actually say that? Our present economic well being is more important than the survival of the species? My ability to drive a full size SUV is more important than my grandchild living past the age of 18? The statement is simply utter madness.
tbs (detroit)
Lets see, countries that get their political power from fossil fuels want the status quo. Perhaps the individuals that run those countries don't have the same objectives as the people that inhabit those places? Perhaps the revolution against the wealthy draws nigh?
Dougal E (Texas)
The so-called consensus, both political and scientific, is fraying because temperatures have not in the past 30 years come even close to what the climate alarmists predicted they would and no one can explain why. It always goes back to the leaked comment by Kevin Trenberth who wondered where the missing heat had gone. It's clear that the IPCC, which was created by activists and given credence and notoriety by activists in government, is losing the propaganda battle because the science has proven largely in error in its predictions. So what do the alarmists do? They offer even more dire predictions and analysis like "the fires in California were caused by global warming" and "the hurricanes are more numerous and powerful because of global warming" without a shred of science to back up those claims. The future is still in fossil fuels and will be unless some major technological development in alternative fuels, i.e. a cost effective alternative fuel that is cheaper than fossil fuels, is discovered.
Angry (The Barricades)
Sod off. Your denialist arguments are tired and have been well refuted elsewhere.
Steve Fielding (Rochester, NY)
The ludicrous position of the Trump Administration does not reflect the position of 70% of Americans who accept the science behind climate change. The democratic process that brought Trump to power is in dire need of repair. The influence of social media on election outcomes and daily life, gerrymandering, and campaign finance all need to be addresed to bring most Americans back to the political center. The shift to the right of many of the western countries is a reactionary effort to reclaim the affluence built during the post-war period. The fossil fuel energy that made this possible is what accelerated carbon dioxide release. We need to develop sustainable technologies and carbon capture—soon. We also need to face up to the shrinking economic pie and more evenly distribute wealth, lest we end up with more violence and political instability.
cc (nyc)
The world is laughing at us, out loud.
Jay (Cleveland)
@cc After the riots in Paris, the name of the treaty will have to be changed.
James (Virginia)
Short term wealth and economic growth is a focus of those with no long term strategy. THe reality that these blowhards are only on the planet another 15-25 years so it's easy to ismiss science fact with financial blinders. For those that have never given a moments thoughts to their grandkids, great grandkids and future generations existence on the blue planet it's simply burn it if you got it. Huge inheritance will not clean the air, hold back the rising tides or keep the hungry from moving to higher ground.
lastcard jb (westport ct)
OK, let's make this simple. Fossil fuels are killing the planet, slowly but surely. People make lots of money from fossil fuels right now. Therefore who cares, let's make money right now and the heck with the future - we ( the people making tons of money right now) won't be here anyway. Is that about right?
Kelly Kk (Dallas)
All the liberal caterwauling over climate change never actually looks at the polls: for the vast majority of Americans, for many many years, climate change/global warming doesn’t even break into the top ten concerns. Rabid environmentalists are essentially talking to themselves in small, poorly attended sermons. Rare is the environmentalist who will no longer fly, no longer drive, no longer heat his/home, no longer eat (trucks transport food). It’s all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
John (Upstate NY)
"Allies emerge?" Duh! They haven't exactly been in hiding. Lots of people make lots of money and have lots of power based on the extraction and use of fossil fuels. They will fight to the death (*our* death, not theirs) to maintain it.
RLB (Kentucky)
While not as dramatic as putting a gun to one's head or flying planes into large buildings, ignoring climate change is just a suicidal - just in slow motion. Soon, we will be forced to take a long look at the beliefs that allow us to ignore something so meaningful for everyone, and we will begin to recover from our confusion, deception, and ignorance. In the near future, we will program the human mind in the computer based on a linguistic "survival" algorithm, which will provide irrefutable proof as to how we trick the mind with our ridiculous beliefs about what is supposed to survive - producing minds programmed de facto for destruction. These minds would see the survival of a particular group of people or a belief as more important than the survival of all. When we understand all this, we will begin the long trek back to reason and sanity. See
Woodson Dart (Connecticut)
I don’t have a problem using fossil fuels per se. I’m using them at this very moment as I sit in my natural gas heated kitchen and type this message into my iPhone that is powered by natural gas generated electricity. What I DO have a problem with is a fossil fuel (carbon) pricing system that does not take future deleterious environmental and social costs (economic externalities) into account. This economic “free riding” represents economic theft from future generations and removes incentives to our considerable and powerful scientific, industrial and financial infrastructure to develop and implement low or no carbon emitting energy production. With proper carbon pricing, renewables and conservation will continue to gain ground and de-carbonization will proceed at a nominally manageable pace. I just can’t see how anyone who calls themselves a “conservative” could look upon this current system as anything less than rigged theft.
JW (New York)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Besides the glaring fact that clean energy could also be profitable, what makes this person think that the personal economic prosperity of those in the fossil fuel industry is the same as the economic prosperity of the entire country? It may be part of the economy but so is cleaning up the spills, so are the medical costs associated with illness caused by pollution, so are the rebuilding costs from flooding and superstorms. Should we continue to spill huge amounts of oil into pristine seas and animal sanctuaries, make people sick and destroy peoples homes and lives simply because someone somewhere gets paid to clean up the mess? Seems rather a backwards way of looking at it if you ask me. But then again, nobody is asking me, everyone has already picked sides and will continue on as if the argument is the real problem.
dressmaker (USA)
@JW Correct. And for the record, the ocean is already terribly ill, warming and acidifying, streaked with pollution wherever there is a river or marine traffic. Everything in it, from eel grass to kelps to corals to fish and crustaceans is bathed in increasingly burning liquid. The word "pristine" cannot be applied to the world's oceans any longer and healing the damage already done will take millions of years. Shed a tear.
EAP (Bozeman, MT)
@dressmaker and may I add, the entire world
Paul (Montana)
@JW That sentence also stuck out to me. And besides the points that you make, it seems to be a completely contradictory statement anyhow--without environmental sustainability there is zero chance of economic prosperity not being affected.
Livin the Dream (Cincinnati)
The Trump administration will do anything to stimulate it's short-term growth goals. Never mind the long-term impact. Clearly, Trump has no real plan and no concept of future benefits and costs other than his own personal profit. It should be clear to everyone that this U.S. policy is alone in ignoring the impact of increased fossil fuel use. We do not need to increase growth or jobs ta such a high cost. There is no reason for it in today's economy
Bella (The City Different)
Resolving climate change will have to be a grassroots effort. Each state, each district, each city will have to take on this effort. It is too large for even the most powerful nation to address and resolve. Just as climate will devastate regions and regional populations, the rest of the world continues to look the other way until their own economies are damaged by the effects of a climate disaster. People have to be personally affected to understand this as a reality. The writing is on the wall. Not many are listening, but the economic costs are not too far around the corner and this might be when the people finally realize we are all in this together. Until then, I really have very little hope for a resolution.
Jay (Cleveland)
Scientist create models, with the intent to predict the future. That is not science. Previous models failed to produce results that supported their predictions. Thus, more models, and new predictions. When have predictions, based on possibilities, or probabilities that something might happen been considered fact? The variables used in the models are not facts at all. Concluding future climate conditions based on any model must be scrutinized with the same doubt realized by previous failures of past predictions.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Jay: We know one thing that is common to all complex systems, including those we do not fully understand: in the absence of negative feedback: they will eventually become chaotic.
Clearwater (Oregon)
OK but just get ready for more destroyed cities from wildfires, hurricanes, drought, floods and eventually pestilence and widespread famine. Since human greed isn't going away, it seems, climate change will be right there to hold all of our hands as we walk over the cliff together.
Qcell (Hawaii)
As seen in the French experience, current strategy of raising taxes and taxing carbon is not going to work because 1) it is hurts the poor the most and 2) there is no guarantee that governments will actually use the windfall for carbon reduction. Before condemning fossil fuel, you must realize the importance of fossil fuel as the cheapest and widest available fuel for the poor and underdeveloped Nations that covers much of our world and have exploding population. When they have to go to the market or when the temperature drops at night, there is only one choice- fossil fuel, especially coal. When you are in that situation, you don't care about climate change, you care about survival. To push, carbon tax or other tax on fossil fuel from the comfort of the developed world with great infrastructure is being blind to the needs of the rest of the world and will not work. Only governments will support it because it is a cash windfall but there is no guarantee they will use their windfall on reduing carbon. You need a new strategy.
Albert K Henning (Palo Alto, CA)
The long term costs of using fossil fuels are not included in the price of fossil fuels. If the long term costs *were* included, then fossil fuel energy sources would not be cheap. Capitalism has no mechanism to price commodities in the moment, when the costs emerge only after time periods longer than six months — let alone ten or one hundred years. The truth is therefore revealed: Fossil fuels are easy. They are not cheap. Their continued use is driven by selfish, short-term interest. Such selfishness is irresponsible, precisely because those harboring such interests will be unaccountable.
RjW (Chicago)
@Qcell That’s why a cap and trade system is superior to a carbon tax.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Qcell: We need to establish an orderly redistribution of capital from fossil energy to renewable energy over the next four decades.
Ben (NYC)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” This is essentially the core principle of Republican environmental policy for the last 20 years. The Trump admin is not unique in their anti-environmental protection views, they are simply more brazen in their approach to deregulation and disregard for human health and long term worldwide environmental wellbeing. This line of thinking is incredibly shortsighted. Any interim gains in economic wealth made by oil and gas industries and by developers who build on the newly deregulated lands are hugely diminished by longer term costs incurred by polluting our water sources, increasing carbon emissions, and reducing the areas that safeguard us against larger environmental disasters (as wetlands do against flooding). What will have to happen to get republican lawmakers to see this? They clearly only care about the money lining their pockets and not their constituents. The rejection of science by our nation leadership is horrifying and destructive. I fear their actions will have unforeseen impact on our environment and health.
Steve M (Doylestown, PA)
Carbon dioxide sequestration and reinjection may have very negative effects besides encouraging more strip mining, mountain top removal, ocean drilling and despoliation of wilderness. CO2 = C + O2. Carbon has an atomic weight of 12. Oxygen has an atomic weight of 16, O2 has a molecular weight of 2 x 16 = 32. So for every 12 tons of carbon that gets burned and pumped underground, 32 tons of oxygen is removed from the atmosphere. Oxygen depletion has deleterious effects on most life as we know it.
ben220 (brooklyn)
That oxygen you worry about is already combined with carbon in the form of CO2--that oxidation is, in fact, a large part of the combustion of any fossil fuel, which is made of hydrocarbons. In fact, chemical sequestration via the production of solid carbonates from carbon dioxide and reactive metals like calcium tends to liberate oxygen.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@ben220: People who want to burn coal should study the possibility of oxidizing it all the way to carbonate in fuel cells.
Steve M (Doylestown, PA)
@ben220 Well, the O2 isn't bound to the C until you burn the coal or the hydrocarbons. Once you burn something energy is released. To unburn it you have to put the energy back. That's thermodynamically feasible but very inefficient. The point is, combustion uses up oxygen of which there is only a finite amount in our atmosphere. And if you bind up CO2 as a solid carbonate like CaCO3, you use half as much again oxygen.
Jacqueline Gauvin (Salem Two Mi)
There are a select few who will gain massive profits as a result of policies that embrace fossil fuels. But where will they spend their money on a dead planet?
Earl W. (New Bern, NC)
To all the prophets lamenting the imminent demise of Mother Earth, what have you personally done to prevent it? For example, have you limited yourself to one or, at the most, two children? Have you decided to take an early retirement or work part time so that you can reduce your commuting and other professional expenses? Have you radically reduced your carbon footprint by halving your annual household income, thereby cutting your family's consumption of goods and services by the same amount? If not, you're just mouthing empty words, so spare us your jeremiads.
Steve M (Doylestown, PA)
@Earl W. Yes, yes, and yes. But more importantly we pay taxes and participate in a rules based society to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Failure of governments to wisely use their wealth and regulatory power to fend off environmental devastation is foolish. BTW, did you personally participate in efforts to wipe out polio and smallpox and to control ebola? If not, by your logic, you shouldn't complain if you get infected.
Plumberb (CA)
I have only two children. Thanks to my employer, I currently work from home more than not. I have a small, well insulated home with efficient appliances. Not yet part of the electric set, I drive a vehicle averaging 30 mpg. I'm willing to pay environmental surrcharges for my fuel to support sustainable rnrthu solutions. What are you doing?
Earl W. (New Bern, NC)
@Plumberb: I did the three things I advocated. For item three, my wife and I retired at 58 and reduced our consumption by 67%. Like you, I have skin in the game so don't mind calling out those who put a recycle bin outside their McMansion and falsely assume they are doing their part to save the planet.
Arcturus (Wisconsin)
Preston Wells Griffith is another unqualified political appointee- now spouting about things he knows nothing about. The swamp is much deeper than it ever was.
Jerryg (Massachusetts)
It should be noted that Russia was another of the four dissenting parties at the climate conference. Nothing says that wasn’t a contributing reason for Trump’s stance on climate change from the beginning.
Penseur (Uptown)
"Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” That might well and more truthfully we re-worded to read " in pursuit of survival for the human species."
Greg Latiak (Amherst Island, Ontario)
Why the rush to the precipice of catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Short term profit at the expense of long term survival Trumps (sorry) any other considerations. Sad part (one of many) is that rebuilding civilization in a less destructive form will be immensely profitable for someone. Undoing the decisions of a couple centuries of architecture and infrastructure buildout will not happen overnight. But pretending it is not happening and refusing to change course just raises the cost in capital and human misery. Makes me wonder if the extinction event we have triggered will include us.
G Eaton (Austin, TX )
The oil-igarchy is putting a lot of effort into keeping us tied to their product. This is not unlike the tobacco industry trying to keep people addicted to cigarettes: It's too hard to quit; it doesn't matter that they're bad for you! And hearing that there are supporters emerging for this world-endangering position may be the most angering/stupefying/depressing thing I have read.
Believe in balance (Vermont)
Environmentalists and their financial backers need to create a list. A list of all those, like President Trump, who willfully caused the destruction of the environment. Not for me, because I won't be around when that happens, but for our children and grandchildren. These people's families should be blocked from any measures taken to rescue us from the consequences of their parents' actions. They need to see that their will be consequences for their causing the willful destruction of our environment for personal and corporate financial gain, the loss of an escape. In the same way that Evangelical Christians today ignore the teachings of their own bible in order to support the likes of Trump, so should this list ignore these peoples' ability to buy refuge while the rest of us drown, suffocate or burn.
Paul Johnson (USA / FR)
When these guys own up to their complicity in global environmental destruction, then they can have some of their respect back.
Tran Trong (Fairfax, VA)
Well the true axis of evils show themselves.
Leigh (Philadelphia)
I don't understand why the DT administration's talking point/rationale of "economic prosperity" is relatively unexamined, while the US cedes the future of the energy industry to China and other science-acknowledging rivals. It betokens so little faith in the people, and in the young, or, simply, such greed in the old, as if they are determined to disprove the adage "you can't take it with you," by indeed taking the livable planet with them.
Clifford (Cape Ann)
When the epitaph is written for the late, great planet earth, be assured it will not be to possible to maximize shareholder value.
Mark V (OKC)
Thank God for the Trump administration, finally there is a voice against climate extremism. I love the diplomats and environmentalists suggesting anyone opposed to their hysteria is not acknowledging the “science”. The facts are every prediction made by global warming alarmists has been an exaggeration. You can acknowledge that we are affecting climate and start to take measures that have real impact and are short of abandoning fossil fuels all together. Some science for you, CO2 emissions by the US are down to 20 year lows, not due to renewables, but switching from coal to natural gas for electrical generation. Why did that happen? Fracking. Meanwhile, Germany, a supposed world leader in climate, has the most expensive energy costs in the EU and the CO2 emissions have increased. We can use fossil fuels responsibly and have a sustainable environment. The cost to abandon fossil fuels will be very high, replacing every method of transportation and power generation we have. Abandon the climate hysteria and support some practical methods to address climate change, which involve prudent use of fossil fuels.
Jerryg (Massachusetts)
What actual reality supports this position? You have an inside track to the truth?
Marjorie L Spaeth (Philadelphia, PA 19128)
Farhorizons and Joseph Huben are spot on! We need to think about the future of the earth, the legacy of future generations and must stop the corrupt politicians and ego driven people who will endanger the earth and our children's future in the interest of profit! Selfish, sightless greed!
dbb (usa)
Let me guess. The supporters have a huge financial stake in the game. There’s a surprise. This administration is chock full of people in it for themselves. That there are actually people working in it who are afraid to put themselves forth for the chief of staff job bc they can’t bear the scrutiny is revolting.
William Carlson (Massachusetts)
Two Dictators and one that will be underwater Russia, Saudi Arabia and Australia, promotes no confidences. How far will we let the takes us down?
Jim (PA)
How many people here abhor the fossil fuel industry yet have an SUV in the driveway and no solar panels on their roof? Half the country opposes the Republican dirty energy agenda in theory, but not in practice. Fight for change at the governmental level, but don’t live like a hypocrite. Signed - a guy who actually put solar panels on his roof.
Frank Travaline (South Jersey)
Jared Diamond's book "Collapse" describes the fate of six cultures that disappeared. In the section on Easter Island. he wonders what it was like for the person cutting down the last tree.
Dr. Jeffrey Collins (Atlanta)
One again, we witness a poisonous administration, belligerent bozos with zero understanding of climate change and the destructive nature of fossil fuels. The era of fossil fuels will come to an end, and with it, the advent of solar, bio mass, wind, and sustainable technologies. It is not a choice---we have to create a new vision for this planet. Let's elect science-based visionaries next time, and begin building a sustainable future without oil or gas. Otherwise, there will be none.
JB (Phoenix Arizona )
When the last tree is cut down When the last fish is caught Then and only then will the wealthy and industrialists Realize they cannot eat their money A paraphrased quote from the Navajo Nation
John Q (N.Y., N.Y.)
Given the stakes,Trump is unquestionably the worst world leader in human history, but why does he take all the heat while the U.S. auto industry produces gas guzzlers, oil and gas producers increase extractions, and greedy billionaires bribe our elected officials?
Mark Crozier (Free world)
@John Q Ah yes, but let's not forget that the auto industry is only responding to public demand for said SUVs.
John Q (N.Y., N.Y.)
@Mark Crozier The public does not demand vehicles that destroy life on earth, but fuel efficient SUVs are not available in U.S. automaker showrooms .
John Wayne (Atlanta, Georgia)
Of course this mouthpiece from Alabama has no legitimate climate / energy credentials other than his loyalty to Trump. No one should be surprised that he would utter such a preposterous statement like “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” This should be the opening line to a environmental disaster movie. Just unbelievable !!!!
Trish (Dublin, Ireland)
Shame shame shame on the US, failing our children and future generations to line the pockets of rich Americans. There are more billionaires in the US than in China, Germany and India combined and the numbers have soared since 2017. People should be demonstrating instead of ignoring what Trump is doing.
Mike1968 (Tampa Fl)
This is sad and embarrassing and also cause for outright rage.
Marco (Brussels)
You Americans just have no idea how much hate this is feeding towards your nation globally. However much one can respect the many, many good things that America has contributed to mankind, you are now the main culprits in the destruction of our only planet. People all around the world know it. This will not be forgotten when disaster comes. As a friend of America, I entreat you to come to your senses and put pressure on your politicians.
Steve Snow (Johns creek, Georgia)
With this kind of “reasoning” from supposed American leadership.... I will be engaged in fully encouraging our Grandchildren ... to build a Boat! What ever happened to the country that I thought I lived in?
B-more (Baltimore, Maryland)
All you need to know about Trump's climate adviser, Oil Wells Griffith, is that his family owns a gas station. This political hack, who cut his teeth on right-wing political campaigns like that of Scott Walker, is just further proof that Trump's only regard for who he puts in power positions is that they be anti-Obama and, more broadly, anti-humanity.
Until such time as the world is largely powered by solar, wind and wind power we might as well permit fossil fuels to be burned responsibly, none of which is to imply that we should wantonly deplete the earth of its resources and dirty the place up.
ENN (Paris)
The Trump government stance on not promoting environmental sustainability which is the trend in the United Nations for an absolute lack of alternative, is a big SHAME. It is foolhardy because the billions of dollars saved to pollute the environment will then have to be spent to repair damage due to environmental extremes. They will only lose, you cannot fight with nature. The problem is that they pose a danger world's poor and vulnerable. Environmental responsibility must be a must for everyone because climate has no borders.
Edward C Weber (Cleveland, OH)
The disaster movies have it right. No sane positive action on this looming environmental crisis will have overwhelming popular and governmental support until and unless there is a very sudden, almost overnight catastrophe that kills millions and causes the kind of dramatic infrastructure and property damage that now can only be illustrated with computer graphics. Masses of people who watch Fox “News” ideologues and read every issue of People Magazine and Sports Illustrated, but have never even glanced at a Scientific American, will only pay attention when lots of things they love blow up.
Lizzie (Tucson, AZ)
"Trump administration officials at high-stakes climate talks here offered an unapologetic defense of fossil fuels on Monday, arguing that a rapid retreat from coal, oil and gas was unrealistic." We put men on the moon in the 60s. Saying that America is unable to solve its energy needs without resorting to coal, oil, and gas is insulting. Repeal the grossly negligent Trump tax cuts, and we can work on solving the problem faster than Trump can tweet "smocking gun." America should be leading humanity to sustainability, not leading it to destruction.
Mark Crozier (Free world)
@Lizzie Trump supporters probably believe that the moon landing was a hoax. We are living in bizarro world.
L. Moran (CT.)
@Lizzie I'm sorry, but your politics seem to be showing. In your comments concerning energy and the environment. It is interesting how many people, probably because of a biased media. Single out someone like President Trump, as the leader in destructive energy policies. As much as many people would like to believe it. Mr. Trump, is not the leader of a totalitarian government, and is therefore not a dictator. Who is in complete control over what America does. I think that you would be more correct, in blaming Congress, and the politicians from states that produce fossil fuels. For standing in the way of "clean energy" proliferation. You probably don't remember, the statement that many "prominent scientists". Proclaimed that British school children would never see another major snowfall. They made that prediction, five years before recent Winters. Where Great Britain has seen record Winter snowfalls. Lastly, I would not vote for President Trump, and I do believe that Humans contribute to Climate Change. However, Humans will pursue policies that benefit them in the short term, and have difficulty preparing for the future. Developing countries need fossil fuels to grow. Poor people are burning down the Amazon forests, at alarming rates. To farm, and feed their families. So.. America, regardless of how powerful you may feel it is. Can't lead a world with very basic needs, and I think that it is a conceit that many Americans have.
Dougal E (Texas)
@Lizzie You neglect to mention that we put men on the moon with the energy provided by fossil fuels. And the analogy is ridiculous anyway because climate is an enormous and barely understood phenomenon that seems to enjoy embarrassing the prophets of doom among environmentalists.
rwp (New Hampshire)
This is such a bizarre statement: “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” So, the place where the "economic prosperity" is happening need not be sustained. Huh? Because it'll go on happening in our dreams? or where, exactly?
oldBassGuy (mass)
P. Wells Griffith has a BA in history, and a JD. Just what the EPA needs: another profoundly math and physics illiterate climate denial, lawyer and sycophant. It is already too late. It no longer matters what any individual or entity thinks or how it acts. The population explosion (7.7 billion, increasing 80 million annually) drives everything. Keeling curve is currently at 411ppm, increasing ocean level, temperature, acidity already ongoing and baked in for decades to come. So long and thanks for all the fish (Douglas Adams).
felixmk (ottawa, on)
Most of the time, I regret not having children. However, when I read about global warming and the destruction of our planet by the rich, I rationalize that I made the right decision 30 years ago. I do feel terrible about what we are inflicting on the poor, children, animals, and young people.
Bert (New York)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” The fact is, the only "economic prosperity" that is at risk is that of the profiteers in the oil producing nations: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Australia and the United States. For everyone else, including the people of those nations, environmental sustainability is a win on all points: environmental sustainability; infrastructure jobs; lower energy costs; and long term energy security.
Bill Wilson (Boston)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” With the current administration, the GOP and the plutocrats driving the insane and obscene US climate, environment and energy policies we are in very big trouble. Until we hit a breaking point that either creates enormous financial loss at the top or massive threat to lives and safety across all society - or both - nothing will change. Maybe it will be too late, maybe not. Just so incredibly sad that we cannot let science, commons sense, nature and good will toward all show us the way.
chuck (denver, colorado)
Hmm, the carbon clingers want to preserve their materialistic lifestyles, short-term gains, and the nostalgic past. Personally I think they are mad. It's insane to dump more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the air, and this will be painfully evident in the next decade. For the moment we are losing the information war. We need to inform, to inoculate the people against this madness, and invest heavily in new thinking and technologies that are sustainable. This is mainly a Northern hemisphere problem. Start with renewable energy technology and be prepared for changes. We were strong and adaptable once, and we can be strong again. We need to contain the pollutants as if they were radioactive, with airlocks and containment structures. We need to contain and reuse waste heat. Isolate and insulate. We can bury a lot of CO2 through better management of soils and forests. We can connect the continents' electrical grids and utilize solar and wind power 24/7/365. Climate change should be framed not as an insurmountable problem, but as the opportunity of the century.
Jordan Davies (Huntington Vermont)
When I am president one of the first laws enacted under my administration will be that every car sold in America must be electric and that gas guzzlers be banned.
Lee Smith (Raleigh, NC)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” I don't understand, how can you sustain economic prosperity without sustaining the environment? What am I missing in this logic?
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Lee Smith: People who talk like this believe they were created by a God who will grow more planets to accommodate infinite numbers of them.
Stephen Pearcy (Aiken, SC)
From day one of the Climate Change debate the issue of addressing it has loomed larger than the debate over the existence of Climate Change. What is being proven over and over is that the current world order, driven by wealth attainment, is just not equipped to deal with it. So nature will.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Stephen Pearcy: It is all about rent collection.
European American (Midwest)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Yea, Right! Swapping survivability into perpetuity for short-term profits...the can't see beyond the end of the nose business model. (gotta have "environment sustainability," if for nothing else, to grow the food to feeds the folks) So, if the Republicans have it their way, it'll be, "Sorry about your luck, great-grandchildren; but rather than developing alternative sources of energy and solutions to the problems of burning fossil fuels, we chose instead to concentrate on the profits from fossil fuel use while only half-stepping development into alternate sources and solutions, kicking the can down the road as it were. Proved to be terribly short-sighted with respect to your survivability, but there it is."
Mark Thomason (Clawson, MI)
"arguing that a rapid retreat from coal, oil and gas was unrealistic" How rapid? How realistic? We can't do 100% tomorrow. We can do a lot more than the nothing that Trump really wants. Making that conversion would be jobs, good jobs, and good investments too. It would be those things if done right. That would require government effort to build out the infrastructure of the shift, and to encourage the shift, and to discourage the failure to shift, all with price points on those actually able to shift, not just the weakest people least able to resist the burden.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Mark Thomason: Nothing galls these people worse than having to take instruction from scientists.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, MI)
@Steve Bolger -- True. However, there are far too many even on the side of concern over global warming who are taking a non-scientific position. All or nothing extremism has a political appeal, even if it is not reasoned scientifically. We have a real problem. The Earth is warming, and it isn't going to stop this century no matter what we do now to limit carbon. So what do we do? First, actually think about that, seeking actual answers that could deal with that problem. We have to go beyond talking about carbon and how the other side is wrong. We've got to deal with geo-engineering, real temperatures, and real options.
Bill Wilson (Boston)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” With a leader like Trump and lackeys like Griffith we will never stop climate change. And without Trump the GOP and many Dems are 'owned' by big energy and other plutocrats. The French may have an idea with serious push back at the street level. Obviously the moneyed/corporate/political classes care not for the masses.
CynicalObserver (Rochester)
These are the same kind of people that ran Kodak into the ground. How many times did I hear the phrase "photographic film is going to be around for a long, long time" which we now hear about coal and oil. Well, film is still around, but not like it used to be. And Kodak is a shadow of its former self. These guys (and they are almost all guys) will try to play the same game with fossil fuels, and the result will be the same. When the transition happens, it will happen all within a decade and nobody will be able to stop it.
Kevin L (03902)
Shorter Mr. Griffith: "There's money to be made. Who cares about people or the planet?"
Joe B. (Center City)
The corporations and their bought and paid for governments are the true enemies of the planet and its inhabitants.
Joe (California)
It seems impossible for fossil advocates to understand the meaning of the word "unsustainable." As for Trump, he has absolutely no clue. I've seldom witnessed someone as completely and transparently blinded by pure greed.
vsanthony (MA)
The planet is warming and we are hastening our own extinction, or at least the creation of a world so devoid of diversity that I for one am quite happy that I won't be there. And I don't have children. Apparently these people don't care what kind of a world they're creating - Because they don't care about the beauty that is out there. They value the dollar above all. I'm not religious, but if I were, I would say that Nature is my god. And it will continue to be Nature. Do "Christians" remember that God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only son? He did not so love MAN. Our anthropocentrism will ironically lead to our demise.
Lilou (Paris)
The U.S.: “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” This preference for global warming and the attendant human,  animal and plant death;  this preference to support air and water pollution in pursuit of the almighty buck; is as repugnant as it is ignorant.  Only 4 countries,  the U.S.,  Saudi Arabia,  Russia and Kuwait,  major fossil fuel exporters, prevented full adoption of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), overruling 193 countries who supported it. Evidently, the four countries, now condemned as "rogue nations", sowed sufficient chaos to block full support of a report that all 197 nations commissioned 3 years ago. Their life-threatening stance on the IPCC flies in the face of research findings which took thousands of hours to compile and hundreds of scientists. All economies could thrive by developing, constructing, educating and hiring workers to design, build and maintain green energy facilities and buildings. It's a money-maker. Trump's denial of the report, therefore, is even more bizarre, given that his love for money, over all, is well-known. This week, the IPCC will be presented to ministers. I sincerely hope they will support science, and not "rogue nations".
Carol S. (Philadelphia)
Failure to address climate change now primes the pump for violence, social upheaval and revolutions in the future. Add that to the catastrophic consequences coming from the planet. We will reap what we sow.
Grain Boy (rural Wisconsin)
I predict that the planet is in for a rough ride. I would like to see the youth of this nation stand up for the future, they can start by kneeling during the national anthem at every sporting event. By the election of 2020, the Dems need to have a real plan ready. The equivalent of a moon shot program to curb global warming. This needs to be a worldwide program to fertilize the oceans to maximize photosynthesis in the high latitudes and convert to renewables with energy storage within 10 years.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Grain Boy: Climate modeling needs to get considerably better before we can reliably geo-engineer climate.
Tran Trong (Fairfax, VA)
@Grain Boy. Fertilize the ocean? Don't we have enough run off already?
Kurt (Friesen)
It would be interesting to know what qualifications, if any, Preston Wells Griffith, III has to serve as the President’s “international energy and climate adviser.” His biography suggests that his primary qualification may be having served as “a Battleground States Director for President Trump during the President’s successful 2016 campaign.” The abdication of this administration’s duty to appoint qualified individuals to prominent policy roles is a complete disgrace. President Trump was prescient during the campaign — the world is laughing at us.
JET III (Portland)
I've read a lot of comments here about the wealthy few warping global energy policy. This misses a literally vast political and economic problem. To see climate politics as simply a manifestation of corporate wealth and power is to make the same dumb mistake that Hillary Clinton committed in 2016. The key is to see the employment and political-economic implications of each energy system. This is where clean energy supporters stumble badly. Wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear offer jobs at the construction phase of development, but none provide the sort of sustained employment opportunities as the mining, refining, and retail phases of the carbon economy. If you want to win the battle at the ballot, there has to be a compelling argument about sustain employment. Blue collar Americans ain't dumb, and they are not going to vote themselves into greater poverty just because environmentalists dress up as Santa and shout rude remarks as Dear Leader.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@JET III: Pre-Columbian Americans sustained employment with highly labor-intensive intercropping agriculture. If stoop labor is what people really want, agriculture can be made much less efficient.
Tran Trong (Fairfax, VA)
@Steve Bolger Current agriculture is not more efficient, it just offload the hidden cost to the environment. That's why there are ocean dead zones and fish kills.
Jim (PA)
@JET III - Yet blue collar Americans will vote themselves into poverty by supporting a politician just because they promise to ban gay marriage. Man, those folks are complex.
bob (New london)
Where would we be if we took the money just thrown away in the recent tax break and apply it to climate change? Are enough of us, as citizens/voters, ready to force our representatives to change the legislation they propose & vote for?
Charlie Fieselman (Isle of Palms, SC and Concord, NC)
Since trump doesn't support the Paris Climate Agreement, shouldn't the United States lose any voting rights regarding implementation of that agreement?
Dave L (Dublin, Ireland)
This is highly discouraging, but not surprisingly in the slightest. Only a strong movement to dethrone this administration and it's backward policies in 2020 will reverse these worrying trends. What is even more distressing from a global perspective is that this issue has been politicised so much. Protecting our planet and its resources should be a non-negotiable, apolitical process, not derided by dismissive politicians who only care about the now.
Chris Mchale (NYC)
The greatest myth of the Trump right is the myth of economic prosperity.
Larry Feig (Newton ma)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Destroy the earth he says for prosperity!!! Logical???
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Larry Feig: The word "sustainability" has gained the notoriety of the word "liberal" in Americanese.
Anonymot (CT)
The current incompetents running America have the standard short vision of corporation people. It's profit-while-you-can, buy low-sell high. Neither the public interests, scientific conclusions, nor the world beyond a few American urban centers have any weight in Trumpian thinking (if you can call it that.) It's only after you've elected and put an administration in place that the country knows how much of any candidates promises were flat out lies and how many foreseeably undeliverable. Ever since JFK won us with a Pepsodent smile and a pretty First Lady on TV, we've gone for the surface and the promises. the rare keeper of his platform was the Bush child and his team of Frankensteins. Neither Clinton nor Obama delivered much that advanced the nation or the world. Now we can see how effective a bulldozer can be in a demolition project. And we are the object. Trump didn't win an election, he won a demolition derby. His rich friends, private or corporate will go down with us all, no matter how protected they think their money will make them.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Anonymot: There is no punishment at all for white collar crime that is big enough in the US.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Anonymot: Happiness is being patted on the head after a round of golf by someone like Trump.
Joseph Huben (Upstate NY)
There are a handful of very wealthy people and corporations that are waging wars and endangering the world for private gain. That is a fact. These people and firms have corrupted our government have extorted and coerced trillions of dollars and perverted the law and our tax structure and poisoned our air water and land. They have caused wars and terrorism. They have created a culture that pays for protection and transport of hydrocarbons that are not factored into the price of fuel. We must know who they are. We must know who in government they control. We must know which industries they advantage like defense and transport and banking. We must advertise the costs of wars related to fossil fuel. We must identify the money and officials corrupted by it. Criminalize efforts to promote war that advantages oil and coal at burden to tax payers at no real cost to the hydrocarbon industry and that impose environmental and health costs endured by everyone for the profits of a few. The whole world knows who and what they are but the producer nations: USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, that defy every other nation. It falls to the American people to change our government, our policies, our laws, and raise taxes and costs to reflect the costs imposed. Those costs must be exacted from profits and not the tax payers. France has demonstrated how not to effect change. Provoking the public is agent provocateur tactics to manipulate the public to protect the corrupters.
Bill Brown (California)
@Joseph Huben The science on climate change is settled, but the politics isn't. The GOP is disingenuous when they deny the science, but lets be honest the Democrats are even more disingenuous when they deny the cost. Most major U.S. cities have gigantic energy needs which can't be met by clean energy. It's not scalable. We can't & won't stop burning least for the foreseeable future. Of all the fossil-fuel sources, coal is inexpensive & a major factor in the low cost of U.S. electricity. Renewables can't fill that gap. Coal & other fossil fuels are currently the only way we can meet the high demand for power. The electricity demand on the power grid must be generated as its needed, in real time. There's no other option. When the demand for electricity suddenly spikes, we need to have the means available to generate that power immediately. Fossil fuels provide this capability. Solar, wind & hydro power is limited as we cannot generate hundreds or thousands of mega watts of power upon request if the Sun isn't shining or if the wind isn't blowing sufficiently. If we were simply forced to generate power through only clean methods at this point, there would be rolling brown-outs and power curfews like there are in 3rd world countries. The American public won't stand for this under any circumstances. While many people are in favor of alternatives, they also want those alternatives to not compromise their lifestyle.
Dave P. (East Tawas, MI.)
@Bill Brown I am sorry to tell you this, but you are seriously incorrect. Based upon a study of weather across the United States over more than three decades, and without the use of storage systems to hold unused energy, it is possible to supply about 75-80% of US electrical needs. If the system were designed with excess capacity (the 150% case), the US could meet about 90% of its needs with wind and solar power. This does not account for hydroelectricial power or, as I said, the storage of unused energy that is produced. If you factored in nuclear power (which can be built safely and securely today but still suffers from a bad rap) we could continue to produce more energy than ever needed to every region across the country without the use of any fossil fuels. The problem will always remain that the wealthy continue to enrich themselves with the status-quo, and they would have to spend their wealth to switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy and that is unfathomable to them. Every single thing you wrote is what is promoted by those wealthy individuals who are happy reaping the wealth from fossil fuels at the expense of the environment, and that was plainly stated by Wells Griffith.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Joseph Huben: Saudi Arabia was a creation of the petroleum industry to establish title to all that oil. Before oil became a commodity, the Arabian Peninsula was just a tribal no-man's land where Egypt, Turkey, and Iran vied for control of caravan routes.
Mark Crozier (Free world)
Is anyone surprised that the Trump administration is now allied with Russia and Saudi Arabia? Anyone? Is it not obvious that this was the game plan all along. Big Oil saw their man, funded and groomed him and then their wildest dreams were realised when he won the election, which nobody expected to happen. Now they are doing everything possible to combat their greatest threat -- the climate change movement -- and their primary weapon is the Manchurian Candidate, Donald Trump. Who doesn't have a bad word to say about Big Oil's strongest allies, Putin or Mohammed Bin Salman, men who have personally authorized the assassinations of civilians who criticized their regimes. The United States has crossed a line. It is no longer in control of its own destiny. The US government is now being run by Big Oil and their puppet President. They are failing to act in the interests of their own people, despite all the evidence that climate change is going to cost the country multiples of billions of dollar. A GOVERNMENT-issued report that was completely ignored by the Trump administration. Draw your own conclusions. You could connect the dots with a crayon, they're that obvious.
Mark Crozier (Free world)
@V Nagarajan Indeed... shades of the Vietnam war: we had to destroy that village in order to save it.
Fred Woollard (Sydney, Australia)
I am embarrassed to be an Australian when I read this. Luckily, our pro-coal Prime Minister is likely to be kicked out within a few months.
Ed Marth (St Charles)
A lump of coal for Trump's stocking. The smoke for the rest of us to breath.
Walter (Ferndale, WA)
I wonder why any of you commenters are surprised. Some of us have known for over 50 years that the US is the biggest stumbling block for both world peace and a sustainable world economy. Climate catastrophe is just collateral damage for US imperialism. I have been working on alternatives since 1970. Yet I get no support. Fer chrissakes I couldn't even GIVE food away that was grown with organic methods and an extremely low carbon footprint It wouldn't be any different if Clinton or Sanders were President. Better teach your children how to use a shovel. Those that survive will be burying a lot of bodies.
Patrick Stevens (MN)
The representatives of United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Australia are not standing for their citizens. They are standing for the fossil fuel industry and those men who own the fossil fuel industry. We, the citizens of the world, really do need to take a stand against these regressive, powerful, insidious forces. They are killing our children and children's children for ages to come. It needs to stop. We need to change. It is that simple.
Boogen (Nevada, Missouri)
CO2 is a valuable resource. Putting it back into the ground from whence it came provides enormous benefits to society at a profit. Restoration of soil microbiome population and its structure: * Begin reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration * Works in all ecosystems * Reverse soil loss and rebuild soils * Slow/reverse desertification * Reduce soil salinization * Reduce downstream pollution from application of agrochemicals * Restore beneficial insect and pollinator populations * Restore coral reefs and oceans * Increase soil fertility * Increase water storage capacity in soils * Improve plant water use efficiency * Increases soil nutrient availability * Reduces plowing
Anna (Minnesota)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” The reference to sacrificing "their" prosperity and security has nothing to do with the people or a country but everything to do with (very) wealthy industrialists and their industries.
Chip Steiner (Lancaster, PA)
1. 'Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their (sic) economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.”' On the contrary: an unsustainable environment (that is, an environment in which much of life cannot sustain itself) destroys any chance for economic prosperity. Griffith and this horrid administration have it exactly backward. 2. Why is it that energy from coal, gas, and oil are economically "good" while energy from wind and solar are economically "bad?" There is no logic in this at all. 3. The irony: Staying the present course will eventually thin world population through starvation, cataclismic wars, disease. If enough of us are offed the earth will rid itself of the human pestilence and be able to heal itself. Karma. Hopefully, those who make it through will develop a more compatible relationship with the only home they got.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Chip Steiner: The ability to collect rent on essentials is crucial to the sustenance of all plutocracies.
Jan Syme (Sydney)
As an Australian, I am horrified that my government is supporting the Trump administration in their climate change denial. Fortunately we may only have 6 months more before our next election, and most likely we will get rid of our Liberal (read Republican) government, and get a Labor (read Democrat) government instead. They will take climate change seriously. You folk have another 2 years of the Trump nightmare.
farhorizons (philadelphia)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” This is the Trump administration's prime value: economic prosperity. If America is first and foremost about economic prosperity, we are doomed.
Bill Wilson (Boston)
@farhorizons the prime GOP value is economic prosperity for the 1%. In the last 40 years of a 72 year life I have not seen any 'trickle down ' prosperity at home or abroad.
James (Miami Beach)
@farhorizons You are right--"doomed" is the word. This statement by Wells Griffith will be carved on the tombstone of humanity--if anyone is left to do the carving. And if we do survive the recklessness and greed of those with power today, every child in every school in the world needs to be made aware of this statement and the catastrophe it could have brought in its wake. These words show utter contempt for the wisdom of every religious tradition in human history--and for modern science, one of the glories of human progress. Today I hang my head in shame to be an American. But only for a moment. I must get up and do everything in my power, no matter how limited, to stop the train that Trump, Griffith, et al. are driving toward us. Aux armes, citoyens!
Aerys (TN)
And you’d think that a country that has such a high deficit wouldn’t be as worried about economic prosperity. It seems the government doesn’t understand that tax cuts aren’t bringing us economic prosperity (ie. Ford and GM).
Ed Clark (Fl)
"Let them eat cake." What do I care if the people are starving, how could they be, I have more than I can eat. We have heard this before. We, the Americans, consume grossly, and unconscionably, more resources per person than any other nation on this planet, so why should we concern ourselves with reducing our personal consumption anymore than those people who consume a tiny fraction of what each of us do. When you sit at the apex of consumption, think DJT and company, what else can you expect. With any luck at all, these people will suffer the same fate as those overlords who came before them.
Mark Crozier (Free world)
@Ed Clark Indeed. It is the same mentality that buys up a piece of land home to many creatures and turns it into a golf course, a playground reserved for the 1% who can afford entry... or wants to turn one of the last pristine wildernesses in the world into just another oil field. It's only valuable if it can be turned into dollars.
Norm Levin (San Rafael CA)
"The beautiful thing about science is that it's true, whether you believe in it or not." - Bumpersticker seen this past summer in Washington on a car from Minnesota
Question Everything (Highland NY)
As lyrics for 'Keep Your Dirty Lights On' notes - "Every time they have elections, They talk how coal is clean, Well coal is cheap but coal's still black, It ain't never turning green." Big special interest money's motives to re-animate the use of coal in the energy sector, coupled with eliminating protections for our environment and human health, makes Wheeler and others (current and former) in the Trump Administration obvious shills and hacks. Lobbyists placed in positions of power is a corruption of American governance, and disregards fairness and justice for We The People. Drain the swamp? Make America Great? Damnable lies!
Scientist (New York)
Next, look for Republican geniuses promoting cigarettes at cancer research conferences.
preston (NH)
A BBC News bit showed the Polish miners not wearing dust masks despite reported dusty conditions and having obvious black faces. The reporter, down in the pits, not given a dust mask. Meaning the coal folks really don’t care about health and safety, only the profit derived.
Politics With The Earth At Stake Are Shit (The Only Planet That Humans Live On)
To quote a apolitical friend of mine, “ The earth will be just fine without us”.
loveman0 (sf)
Republicans are working for oil and coal because they pay them to. Trump is working for oil (and coal as part of the Big Lie about the necessity of fossil fuels) because the Russians have ordered him to. Whether he is an actual agent or is being blackmailed, it's the same: Treason.
ehh (New York)
When are people going to see that countries can have environmental sustainability AND economic prosperity? This administration is so backward thinking.
Jan Syme (Sydney)
@ehh, and so is my Australian government. We have elections coming up next May, and this lot are hopefully going to be thrown out. Most Australians want effective action on climate change.
Bill Brown (California)
@ehh In a democracy the leaders serve the people not the other way around. The GOP isn't the problem when it comes to enacting climate change legislation. American voters don't want to pay more for energy. Every poll backs this up. The GOP is simply reflecting the desires of their constituents. The point of cap & trade was always to increase the price of 85 percent of the energy we use in the U.S. That is the goal. For it to work, cap and trade needs to increase the price of oil, coal, and natural gas to force consumers to use more expensive forms of energy. The majority of U.S. voters will never go for this. Period. The overall reality in that climate change legislation is hard to pass even in good times. It's a real killer in an economic downturn where citizens & business fear higher costs, even slightly higher costs, & may see no concrete benefits. The US is extracting carbon & flowing it into the global energy system faster than ever before. We're trying simultaneously to reduce demand for fossil fuels while doing everything possible to increase the supply. Mind you this started when Obama was President. Can we bring ourselves to prioritize renewables over cheap fuels? Are we willing to vote against our own self interests & approve higher taxes on fossil fuels? Can we muster the restraint needed to leave assets worth trillions in the ground? Absolutely not. It's never going to happen.
Scientist (New York)
"We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” It cannot be overstated this is a false dilemma denying the economic potential of green energy and climate science, without which sustainability is impossible. Claims of alarmism are self-serving denials to promote fossil fuels. It is antithetical to prosperity and environmental survivability not to reject every politician and corporate promoter who support this fallacy. The habitability of the planet is paramount.
gw (usa)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” The recent climate report signed by 13 government agencies detailed how "economic prosperity" will be damaged by climate change. A previous Pentagon report made clear our national security is put at risk by climate change. People are dying in wildfires, hurricanes, floods and other severe weather extremes.....just as predicted, and it will only get worse. Failing to act with so many red flags and warnings, how is the Trump Administration not criminally liable?
sandcanyongal (CA)
The world leaders should have initiated research to determine how to convert away from fossil fuels shortly after the first scientific evidence surfaced that fossil fuels were creating a blanket over Earth. These government people need to be thrown right out of their seats and banned to an island never to be heard from again. Only the people can do this then get on with identifying options and making them reality. Enough about economy because there will be no economy when Earth edges closer toward extinction.
Scott Werden (Maui, HI)
Read the recent UN IPCC report on climate change. It said we must reduce CO2 by 45% within 12 years! 12 years! It is far more sobering than the US report that came out last week. There is no way that humans are going to reduce CO2 45% in 12 years. We will be lucky to reduce it that much in 30 years. For one thing, the global population will grow by about 15% in the next 12 years. And we have shown no ability to reduce use of fossil fuels at all over the last 20 years. A 45% decrease will have a huge impact on the global economy - imagine not driving by half, stopping half of all shipping, stop flying by half, using half of lights and AC, etc. Manufacturing will grind to a halt, jobs will be lost. But the alternative is worse. It appears to me that us humans have reached our evolutionary match, and it is ourselves. We cannot live compatibly with our environment without rendering it uninhabitable by our own actions. We are likely extincting ourselves and probably a lot of other species. It is a grim situation yet we are doing silly things like sending probes to Mars and engaging in pointless trade wars. None of that will matter if we don't all concentrate on the single most important problem that humanity faces.
Dontbelieveit (NJ)
There was a time that while tobacco killed scores and addicted the rest of smokers, it spared the tobacco masters and their offspring. There was a time that while the lack of safety belts in cars killed scores, car manufacturers and their offspring were able to bet their survival against profit. The fossil fuel barons and their descendants spend these last few years of existance before life extinction in deep denial, not much different than the proverbial frogs cooking to death in boiling water. This sorry human species deserves all it is coming to it at a freight train force and speed.
Rachel (Boston)
We must vote all science deniers out of office. In every election. The number one issue in 2020 is going to be climate change and environmental policy. People are paying attention. People are worried and frightened. Politicians and businesses who think otherwise are not in touch with the public and talking only to themselves and each other. Scientists must become more vocal. Get on social media and take back the issue. Flood the airwaves and internet with facts. As to coal. We no longer drive horse and carriages. This is a dying industry that kills its workers. Stop lying to the 70,000 coal miners in this country. Get them out of the mines,retrained, and into clean energy jobs.
Bruce Stafford (Sydney NSW)
@Rachel "We must vote all science deniers out of office." Amen, and we will be doing so in Australia next May.
Jim (Abita Springs)
Is Trump passing off those wooden nickels again? He sprinkles American ingenuity and goodwill everywhere he goes. Follow his escapades and see for yourself he's greeted like Attila the Hun. Maybe he'll get the Nobel Prize, championing our return to using all Fossil Fuels. What a guy, single handily he's become the new CEO of the flat earth society. Just send $30,000 to his new university and become a Associate Professor of Environmental Studies!
GH (Mittagong)
Just to echo Flossy - please don't confuse statements from Australia's Minister for the Environment with the opinion of Australians in general! Anyone mildly acquainted with Australian politics will know our government's current opinion on climate change and fossil fuels has many of us down here - I believe the majority - quietly exasperated. We have an election next May. If we have a change of government (quite likely) I expect, as most of us do, that Australia's next Minister for the Environment will be able to accept serious scientific research and from that position take a different view!
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@GH: Australia is rich in renewable energy.
Kevin Lane (Finland)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” So, we all expect someone else to bear the burden associated with reducing carbon emissions. Where are our leaders?
Peter B (Calgary, Alberta)
These conferences are a waste of time. Fossil fuels will keep being used because they are essential to running a modern economy. The world will not end because of degree or two of warming but our economies will stop if we abandon fossil fuels.
Marco (Brussels)
You know what? All those thousands of scientists got it wrong and you know it all so easily. I can’t believe they didn’t ask you to write this report, it would have saved so much money. You might have written it on the back of a postage stamp.
David (San Jose, CA)
It’s very hard for human beings to accept reality when the reality is catastrophic. But this reality is. Modern society as we know it is not going to survive. We are already seeing mounting evidence that climate change is going to happen much more quickly and be much more devastating than earlier predictions that attempted to soft-pedal the situation. Meanwhile, the world’s most powerful country and largest economy is actively trying to make the problem worse! Others are apathetic at best and resistant at worst. And we have run out of time to procrastinate. Human history is littered with civilizations that collapsed when unable to deal with their environmental problems. We are headed to a similar outcome... fast.
Santa (Cupertino)
On the one hand, there is capitalism, the free market, and economics, all governed by man made laws. On the other, there is nature, governed by the laws of physics. Which do you think will prevail?
MassBear (Boston, MA)
I think the Trumpets and their allies in other fossil-fuel producing states aren't really human; apparently there some sort of creature that eats dollars, breathes methane and drinks crude oil. The alien invasion is amongst us - and needs to be repelled!
NYer (NYC)
"Trump administration officials at high-stakes climate talks here offered an unapologetic defense of fossil fuels"? Kind of a contradiction of terms, isn't it, to push fossil fuels at a summit devoted to climate change? Typically, absurd and contrary to the best interests of the world and our nation. Trump (again) allies with Putin and the Saudis -- more or less against the rest of the nations on the globe. And of course, Trump dances to the tune of Big Energy, who's no doubt funneling money to him and his companies, just as Putin and the Saudis are. Once again, our (unfit to be) so-called president presents the USA as a rouge nation! And a greedy, deceitful, utterly irresponsible, and treaty-ripping one too. How much harm can this malevolent character do?
Thomas (Norway)
It would be amusing if such a thing as "climate sanctions" were established internationally. Maybe the Trump administration would be more receptive if it impacted their precious trade ;)
common sense advocate (CT)
I have the strong suspicion that this "president" doesn't understand that "environmental sustainability" means sustaining life on earth.
ijarvis (NYC)
Two years from now, a Democrat will be President of the US and his or her first 100 days will roll back all of Trump's changes and initiatives. I hope the businesses currently wetting their lips about the money they are going to make backing fossil fuels, new drilling regions and wetland abuse, realize that just about the time they've spent billions of dollars in money, assets and time to exploit Trump's insanity, he'll be gone from the world stage and so will their their money.
Alan from Humboldt County (Makawao, HI)
Gasp! We are struggling to breathe.
njglea (Seattle)
No surprise who the supporters are. "there are signs that the administration is finding a receptive audience among other major fossil-fuel producers, including Russia, Saudi Arabia and Australia." Cutting the use of coal and oil would drastically change the global power structure. The Robber Barons who control the markets will do anything they can to try to maintain their supposed power - including destroy the planet and start WW3. Thanks to all the people who stood up to The Con Don and his bully brethren. WE THE PEOPLE are the only ones who can/will stop them and NOW is the time.
Block Doubt (Upstate NY)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” But we do believe that we can sacrifice the earth for the sake of that initiative and expect to have an economy in the end.
Paul Abrahams (Deerfield, Massachusetts)
Odd that no one mentions nuclear energy, even though a significant segment of the environmental community now believes that nuclear is the way to go, provided that we don't do it with outmoded and dangerous technologies. There has been enormous progress in nuclear technology, including the use of thorium rather than uranium as the fuel source to avoid the putative use of nuclear fuels for military purposes. The use of nuclear energy has been endorsed by many in the environmental community who were previously vociferously anti-nuclear, notably Stuart Brand, the author of the celebrated Whole Earth Catalog.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Paul Abrahams The cost and the time factor. Building plants is prohibitive now in terms of both. That's why they are not being built. They would if they could but they can't so they won't. And the waste. Few environmentalists support it.
Peter Czipott (San Diego)
The only way to justify anything less than a maximum practical effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels is to vastly accelerate efforts to develop and implement scalable technologies for carbon sequestration. Implementing each comes at a politically insupportable cost, but the cost of dealing with delay will prove far, far higher. One way to mitigate the costs, and the opposition of major fossil fuel producers (nations and companies), is for them to transition oil processing from mainly fuel to mainly advanced materials (plastics -- rapidly biodegradable, easily recyclable, and/or with much longer-life usage -- and pharma products, etc.). If they can realize comparable or greater profits making materials rather than fuel, the political and financial cause of opposition would decrease. The extraordinary costs of industrial transition away from fossil fuels and toward carbon sequestration will nonetheless undoubtedly require a decline in the world's mean (if not median) standard of living, which is likely to be politically infeasible (see the Yellow Vests, etc.) -- but the costs of not doing so will force a far more drastic collapse of living standards a very few generations down the road.
I was an Air Force weather officer for 22 years, thanks to the Air Force sending me to NYU for one year and MIT for two years. Man-made global warming due to burning fossil fuels is a scientific fact. I can’t foresee global political agreement to limit energy consumption. So I suggest the possibility of geo-engineering to cut down on our main supply of energy, which is the sun. If we could create a way to reflect more solar energy before it reaches the earth’s surface, we could limit global warming. I have no idea how this could be done or whether it could be done, but I think it is worth considering. Necessity is the mother of invention, I’ve been told.
Mark Crozier (Free world)
@JSK Well, the other option is to harness all that energy from the sun to power our needs. This transition is entirely achievable and already underway... but the oil industry is laser-focused on scuppering the transition process by co-opting people like Donald Trump.
BlueHaven (Ann Arbor, MI)
So Trump sycophants posture for FOX News while the real work is done off camera. The Reality TV Prez ...
bl (rochester)
It is a remarkably diabolical turn of events when species survival is understood as predicated upon resistance to the powers that be. The carbon energy extractors have purchased so much political power that our species has been put in the position of affirming its will to survive by resisting this power. For those prattling on about coal burning and carbon sequestration, it is beyond insane that the costs of this unproved technology (indeed it isn't even at the stage of large scale testing) are never acknowledged by its promoters. Were it to prove effective, I'd be the first to say wonderful news! But show us the evidence that this is imminently on the horizon before you commit to running coal or oil burning power generators. Not doing this means you're placing the cart before the horse. You insist that renewables won't be capable of replacing carbon, but battery storage technology is more or less at the same level of readiness as your carbon sequestration plans. So why is there such favorable emphasis upon one unproved technology and dismissal of the other? The incoherence of this as a policy for the next few decades is absurd, and is only in our face because the powers promoting it are as powerful a group of businesses as exist. If there were any honesty there would be acknowledgement of the fact that burning carbon without sequestration won't be done and that the costs of sequestration, no matter what they are, will form the basis of a carbon tax.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
If wind, which should be sufficient to power the world, including non nuclear warships and subs, aircraft the lone exception without significant (several orders of magnitude improvement in fuel cells, batteries and “supercapacitors”), ocean/ground temperature gradient (which may have severe environmental consequences too), we had better begin developing airborne blue-green algae, corralled over every inch of land, along with space-based slight shields (surprisingly easy to build/ deploy, take a big circle of springy metal that will unfold into a very large circle, cover with a perforated material, and equipped with solar-cell powered ionic “station keeping” engines, like the ones holding the International space station in place to at least cool the arctic/antarctic regions, we, humanity, may still be able to cool the earth and destroy enough CO2 and NOx to keep a planetary ecology into which we save enough key species to survive, Otherwise, I suggest we cease breeding more than one child per couple, no gender control, and cut our supplies of pigs, cattle, camels, horses and goats by a minimum of 60 % beginning immediately. Or continue to be selfish and denounce scientific reports because the President is incapable of, or, like a true Trumpsnick* unwilling to accept, kiss our present environment abs grandchildren goodby. *trumpanick, no caps, Yiddish noun, possibly Galitz for “petulant two-year-old.
Chicago1 (Chicago)
It will be interesting to see what gets our attention. The realization that acidification of the ocean from carbon dioxide is dissolving all the shellfish including krill and therefore knocking out the entire oceanic food chain -- fish oil supplements, tuna, seabirds, you name it, all in danger of dying out. A sudden collapse in one of the really big Antarctic glaciers that bumps up the sea level by five to ten feet in a year or two. Rapid warming killing off the phytoplankton that produces much of the oxygen we depend on to breathe and the insects that pollinate our fruit and vegetables, or chopping down and burning off another major source of oxygen, the Amazon rainforest. But make no mistake about it, through massive fossil fuel use, we're ripping through nature several times as fast as natural disasters in the worst previous global extinctions of life--and it's simply happening way too fast for nature to keep up. Agricultural areas have already lost three quarters of their insects, mostly in the last 30 years. Our soon-to-be unpollinated food supply will be next. We must either stop the insanity, or die off along with everything else. And what's really crazy about it is you really LIKE spending money on gas? I sure don't. There's profit and freedom, better quality of life and better health in renewable energy, eating less meat, avoiding having to throw stuff away, and having fewer kids, and yet as a species, we're fighting against all of these things.
Laura (Madison)
How can the quest for money distort reality so much that keeping the world habitable becomes of secondary importance? Are we really willing to sacrifice our futures to pad our bank accounts today? The quest for money is truly a fatal illness. We need a cure, fast.
common sense advocate (CT)
"We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability." But Mr Griffith, if we don't sustain our environment, we will have no economic prosperity or energy security. Drought, famine, floods, a poisoned water supply, and earthquakes from fracking aren't signs of prosperity, they are signs of wholesale destruction. And using up our limited supply of fossil fuels instead of splicing them in alongside new energy alternatives in development will instigate a devastating energy crisis. not energy security. If that's too scientific for this administration to understand - standing with, and trusting, Saudi Arabia on climate change is like trusting the Saudi Crown Prince didn't order the murder of Mr Khashoggi. Stop the destruction. #blueslate2020
&lt;a href= (California)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” I think I'll drain my savings account, take out as much credit as I can get and party till it's all gone. Then I'll kill myself. Sounds like a great plan, after all nobody should have to sacrifice for sustainability.
East End (East Hampton, NY)
President Trump’s international energy and climate adviser, Wells Griffith, said “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” This remark escapes any logical explanation. Without environmental sustainability there will be no economic prosperity. Our lives depend on our ecosystem. If it is destroyed, our lives are destroyed. The Tяцmp administration is in the thrall of the oil, gas and coal industries. Their policies are as dirty as the fuels they want us to buy and burn. It is a suicidal bargain that must be rejected. Renewable energy will give us sustainability. We must end the slavery of fossil fuel dependency.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Somewhere On Long Island)
If wind, which should be sufficient to power the world, including non nuclear warships and subs, aircraft the lone exception without significant (several orders of magnitude improvement in fuel cells, batteries and “supercapacitors”), ocean/ground temperature gradient (which may have severe environmental consequences too), we had better begin developing airborne blue-green algae, corralled over every inch of land, along with space-based slight shields (surprisingly easy to build/ deploy, take a big circle of springy metal that will unfold into a very large circle, cover with a perforated material, and equipped with solar-cell powered ionic “station keeping” engines, like the ones holding the International space station in place to at least cool the arctic/antarctic regions, we, humanity, may still be able to cool the earth and destroy enough CO2 and NOx to keep a planetary ecology into which we save enough key species to survive, Otherwise, I humbly suggest humanity cease breeding more than one child (gender random), unyieldingly l we ha
jwarren891 (New Paltz, NY)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Stupidity reigns in the Trump administration, but this ranks as beyond brain-dead. The environment is the canvas upon which human activity is painted. Destroy the environment and nothing else matters.
Darcy (Canada)
Australia should know better.
Sharon Phillips (Melbourne Australia)
@Darcy Most Australians do not agree with the Morrison Governments view on this and they will be voted out of office in May 2019 because of their idiotic stance on climate change.
Martha R (Washington)
About three years ago I planted a native species of oak tree in my backyard, a seedling grown from an acorn and given away for free on Arbor Day at the local arboretum. The tree survived surrounded by chicken wire (to keep the deadly Lawn Mower at bay) and is now not quite three feet tall. In another month or so I am going to prune out a competing leader and let it grow, hopefully straight and healthy. Then I read this news and realize that all my effort to provide habitat and biodiversity in my little backyard is an exercise in futility. Whatever tree was native in my area will very shortly be native no longer. I'll be tending a relic - that's less an expression of hope than of despair. But gee, I guess the coal economy will be booming.
Nicholas (Japan)
Mr. Griffith's remark: “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” How can you disconnect these things? This statement trips on its own lump of coal.
john (denver)
Resist. Get solar panels. Drive a small hybrid car. Get LED light bulbs. Don't waste food. There's so much each of us can do to fight climate change. If we all make a few small sacrifices we can make a huge difference now. This doesn't need to be a political issue.
Ryan (NY)
When the climate change claims lives and livelihood, we the people should go after the climate traitors and make sure they pay for their egregious crimes.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Yes, replacing fossil fuels will be a huge expense. Building replacement systems will burden everyone with huge debt for decades. It will be very troublesome. However, it takes many decades for the natural environment to bring down the concentration of carbon gases in the air and seas. Until it does we are in for increasingly severe weather patterns that will disrupt everything that we do. We are going to suffer no matter what. We are going to suffer indebtedness no matter what. Better to start dealing with it sooner rather than later. Better because the harshness of the difficulties will be worse, later.
DK (Cambridge, MA)
When I was about eight years old I was walking down the street with my mother drinking a soda. When I was finished I threw the empty bottle and the straw into the gutter. "Don't do that", said my mother. "What if everybody acted that way?" "Well, if everybody acted that way I would be a fool to act any differently" I responded. My mother slapped me. "You're turning our beautiful town into a garbage dump," she said. It looks like our country wants to turn the world into a garbage dump.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@DK But there was still the bottle and straw...somewhere, so the fact that you put it (or didn't put it, as the case may be) from point A to point B (landfill) changes nothing. Out of sight out of mind is no solution for anything.
Anne (CA)
Think how much a USA leader could have done the last couple years to have made a huge difference in the world. Foolish and worse DJT did all the opposite wrong things. He chose to be a republican because he could dupe desperate people. That backfired for the whole world. If we do have a world's chance I still think the USA could still lead. Unless we burn up in the MEAN time. We need a World Accord and the chops to Do Better.
historyRepeated (Massachusetts)
So what are Russia and Saudi Arabia personally offering Trump and his cronies for selling out the future viability of the planet? When Trump is talking sovereign prosperity, he’s referring to himself.
RonRich (Chicago)
Trump's supporters never voted "for" something; they only voted "against". They have no manifesto, no doctrine; there is only destroy and impede.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@RonRich Oh ... my ... goodness, they do indeed have a manifesto and a doctrine. Destroy and impede is indeed a manifesto and a doctrine. Ask any German over 70 years of age about that.
AdamStoler (Bronx NY)
You can’t spend your blood $ in the doom Mar y logo under water Permanently Soon
L Hartman (Daly City, CA)
For the love of god, can we please throw this administration out and move on from this chapter of pure ignorance and shameless greed? This is nihilism on steroids.
Justine (Wyoming)
Trump should be arrested for crimes against humanity (along with of course all his other crimes he's about to be indicted for)
Pat Richards ( . Canada)
The Sage , as usual , has said it : What Fools these Mortals be!
Ponsobny Britt (Frostbite Falls, MN.)
The level of hubris coming from Welles Griffith ought to be considered felonious. Unbelievable!!!!
KSM (Chicago)
Wells Griffiths is Trump's climate "expert"? Check out his credentials ( >Political and Public Affairs Consultant >Battleground States Director, Donald J. Trump for President >Vice President, Arena Communications >Deputy Political Director, Scott Walker for President >Deputy Political Director, Our American Revival >Candidate, Wells Griffith for Congress (AL-01)> >Republican National Committee, Deputy Chief of Staff Campaign Manager, Campaign, Steven Palazzo for U.S. Congress >Executive Director, Mississippi Republican Party >B.A., History, Minor in Modern Languages (Spanish) >J.D., Law Now Griffiths is telling the world to dig up and burn coal and oil. @GOP is relying on a corporate shill to implement a worldwide environmental policy that will be catastrophically expensive.
Carol (No. Calif.)
This criminal, corrupt President is doing an amazing amount of damage.
GUANNA (New England)
@Carol Another Trump lie ant his inauguration he claimed the carnage stops now. In reality it was only beginning.
Erin (Northcoast)
It's an Easter Island redux.
Dave (Nc)
As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to align with Russia and Saudi Arabia. On anything, let alone the future of the planet.
Riverwoman (Hamilton, Mi)
The elite of Rome lined their cooking pots with lead. The resulting lead poisoning may have contributed to the fall of the Roman empire. Is oil our lead lined pot?
Rich (Delaware)
Climate change is real and it is cause by human activity. We are not going to stop using fossil fuels in the very near future. Humans react to stress, we have not experience the real effects of climate change and will not until things start to go south. If you think there is still time to change the outcome, you are fooling yourself. We are not going stop warming/cooling our homes, or stop driving our cars, or developing nations sacrifice their economic development and it goes on. Until....we have real technologies that provide what we our used to, we will not give it up without a fight. You may say renewables, but they are local generation, we cannot transport wind or solar generation long distances. What do we do when we have no wind or sun. Carbon dioxide sequestering is not carbon neutral, it takes energy to capture it, compress it and pump it into the ground. The world has warmed before and humans survived albeit a lot fewer than what we have on the planet today. I personally am looking at how technology is going to allow me to survive in a warmer environment. Food growth and water supply are going to be a problem which I see as a more immediate problem. As the temperature rises food production will decline due to lower crop yields. This will be offset to a small degree by moving production to higher and lower latitudes. What ever humans develop it must be big in order to be successful. The magnitude of the task is daunting.
Carol (No. Calif.)
Hello from California, where we have largely turned our backs on fossil fuels & have an AWESOME economy, because solar and wind are very profitable & create a lot of jobs!!
Eli (RI)
This is disgraceful and it is a replay of George H W Bush's deplorable performance in Rio's 1992 Earth Summit (under the ! The US and its contemptible allies Russia, and Saudi Arabia may find themselves isolated receiving the wrath of the world for standing in the way of saving our Planet's atmosphere. Australia's very unpopular prime minister's approval is in free fall (almost as bad as Trump's) and hopefully will lose majority in less than a year from today. We also need to get rid of our more weakling.
Peter J. (New Zealand)
Australia encapsulates the climate change conundrum. It is the hottest, driest continent on earth and the climate science projects that many parts are simply going to get hotter and drier. Surely a prime candidate to support climate change measures. However Australia's economy depends to a large extent on digging the continent up and shipping it to the large Asian industrial producers. Coal and natural gas are major exports. Australia's Liberal government has clearly chosen the current economy over future consequences. With an election a maximum of 6 months away they have made the brutal calculation that today's adults have a vote whilst tomorrow's adults don't.
Barbara Snider (Huntington Beach, CA)
As noted by another writer, we are running out of oil. Yet, the greed of oil producers and other industries insures that there will be no unified movement to save what we need for the future. There are adequate technologies to take the place of oil within a matter of years. All we need to do is stop spending monies on wars, another contributor to pollution and global warming. With sane people in charge this would have been a no brained, unfortunately that is not the case. And greed has driven many crazy.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Barbara Snider Doesn't make a difference that we are running out of oil. We've been running out of oil since we started exploiting oil. The only thing that matters are C02 and CH4 emissions. Which are already in place to change climate way too dramatically. Most of humanity has been wed to oil and fossil fuels because of what they offered. Do you own a car? Heat your house? Expect the ambulance to arrive? The hospital to be functioning? The fire truck? Do you want food in your markets? A plane to take you somewhere? Do you want to turn on lights? Do you want the modern world to tick tock and feed you and clothe you and entertain you and protect you and house you and...and...and....? And do you want all your friends and family to have the same? You do? So we are ALL greedy. Petroleum is involved in ALL life. That is so sad, but just sickeningly true. We ALL rely on it. PLASTICS. Just TRY to get plastics out of your life. Your comment here used LOTS of petroleum. Your computer all the way from China, the internet, the Times itself. All dependent on OIL. Lots of oil. Oil companies are evil because we allowed them to be evil. Because we got stuff in exchange. Lots and Lots and Lots of stuff. WE are the enemy. WE require the world to be the way it is. And we fantasize when we wish the end of oil, because that will be stunningly difficult.
Shakinspear (Amerika)
It is easy to know the Republicans do not believe there is God as they continue to trash his world and they also do not care about their own families and their future in light of the damage fossil fuels are doing. Republicans are mere mortals lacking belief and are obviously consumed with their own mortality thinking there is no afterlife to enjoy.
Confused (Atlanta)
Do I detect a bit of bias and discrimination in your criticism of Tennessee? I believe I do— no different than bias when it comes to fossil fuels. Unfortunately, bias cannot always be proven. Please stay in New Jersey.
Gene (Morristown NJ)
All of trump’s hot air policies will be rejected and reversed in 2020, if you believe in thermometers, which most sane people do.
Ellen Burns (Connecticut)
This is an embarrassment. We must vote Trump out in 2020. Do these people not have children or grand children? They will look back at this time and ask, what were they thinking?
Shakinspear (Amerika)
The history of great technological prosperity began with agriculture, then the Industrial revolution, followed by mass production and the automobile, followed by the space age and the computerized internet age, only to stop suddenly at the alternative energy generating age hindered by Republican fossils who love fossil fuels. If you want continued economic prosperity milestones and great economies advancing, resist Republicans led by Trump.
Mark Kessinger (New York, NY)
That Australia should ally itself with the Trump administration on this issue comes as both a surprise and a disappointment. But as to the other two nations mentioned, Russia and Saudi Arabia, one can only respond with, "but of course."
A.S. Weiner (Portland,OR)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Seems Mr. Griffith has it backwards. Without environmental sustainability it’s hard to see how one can expect economic prosperity. Unless, of course, you are the company selling oxygen and gas masks.
nb (Madison)
This is blatant. Rather than building some kind of diverting response, the guy says "“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental SUSTAINABILITY." He doesn't mince words or attempt to portray it as some kind of wrongheaded politics. He is against trading supposed economic success for sustainability. Are we interested in no longer SUSTAINING? I'd prefer to live. Maybe it's time for an extinction rebellion.
Barry Fogel (Lexington, MA)
If the Republicans really believe in carbon capture and storage, let them spend $5B on developing that technology instead of building a wall. Hey, how about this? Let's take all that carbon and make a wall out of it.
Coopdedoo (USA)
“We”....??? No, I don’t believe that the majority of Americans agree with this statement. Too many are suffering the effects of climate change right now and recognize that our way of life and future are at stake unless we change immediately.
John (MA)
This administration is endangering all Americans with their reckless position on climate change. Personally I am enraged at Trump and the Republicans for rejecting science and indeed our collective futures in the name of short term profits. What they are doing is an act of violence on all of us and it cannot stand. Vote him out in 2020.
2016-2018: “What Not To Do” Blueprints (Pittsburgh, PA)
They should be put in prison for what they are doing to people and this planet in the name of short-term profit.
J (Denver)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Without environmental sustainability, nothing else exists... what part of that do people not understand? Frankly I'm sick of reading about it. Everyone who is ever going to know, knows... everyone who is never going to care, still doesn't. And it's probably too late... we're facing a world altering perfect storm between automation taking all our jobs and climate change wiping out our resources... No one is talking about automation... it's the brown people taking all the jobs... and everyone is talking about climate but no one is doing anything about it. Inside 50 years robots will be able to do every human task... right around the time Florida goes under... Yay!
Anne (CA)
200 years ago there were less than one billion humans on earth. Now, there are more than 7 billion people. Today's population size is about 7% of the total number of people ever born. For thousands of years, our population grew slowly. Recent centuries, it jumped dramatically. Oil, and it's byproducts and industries resulting may have been one of the reasons we extrapolated so dramatically. Likely. Oil replaced biomass as the primary source of energy in the mid 1800s. My grandfather was born in 1873. Between 1900 and 2000, the increase in world population was three times greater than during the entire history of humanity. Oil ruled. Oil and a few other things gave rise to our fertility, prosperity and comforts. Much of the world's people are just now starting to consume oil. It will be the death of all of us if we don't wean ourselves asap. We need to spread green energy technology widely throughout the world for all of ours sake. The US lost all leadership status 2 years ago. I hope we can do better in the next few years. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers etc. also fueled growth but are now shortening life spans, bringing disease and toxicity. Likely why my grandparents lived to their 90s and my 4 siblings passed in their 50s and 60s of cancer.
Shakinspear (Amerika)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.”................... Then why did the Congressional Republicans and Trump repeal America's prohibition on exporting American crude oil, our strategic national resource? Trump sure is a good Putin Puppet for this reason and has sabotaged chances of an American technology revolution to spur the economy with alternative means of energy generation, now being dominated by other nations. Trump could be Russia's greatest saboteur.
Rocky (Seattle)
Oligarchs rule, and energy oligarchs most. No matter what type of government is in "power." For money will buy anything, and politicians and "leaders" especially cheap. We do indeed need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The only way I see that happening is for the 99.9% to buy them out and keep them there. Think there is the political gumption, among the populace much less the politicians, to do that? Really? Start writing letters to the great-grandkids...
JC (Dog Watch, CT)
Tragedy of the Commons. . .
Henry J (Sante Fe)
While we cannot immediately change the position of Saudi Arabia and Russia, we can change the future in America. If America committed to a massive Manhattan Project to produce clean energy, the economics would force SA & Putin to follow. Waiting two years for Trump's term to expire is insane. Americans need to gather at the Lincoln Memorial and demand an immediate change in leadership. We have the power.
Piece man (South Salem)
Funny thing is. The republicans will take our environment to an irrecoverable dangerous place. the people who put the republicans in office will now put democrats in office to fix the problems. It's irrecoverable though so it only gets worse and those same people blame the democrats. And if 5 people jump off a bridge are you going to jump with them?
Max Deitenbeck (East Texas)
How obscene. That is like selling drugs at the funeral of an overdose victim. When will this nightmare be over?
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Max Deitenbeck When will this nightmare be over? It's just ramping up. But there should be no fantasies of "over" this is not a storm that will pass. This is a global catastrophe that will last beyond the Anthropocene. It is not a big rain storm. It's not something you brace for and ride out watching the Weather Channel.
JanetMichael (Silver Spring Maryland)
Wells Griffith, Trump’s “climate” advisor is so brazen that he declares that fossil fuels will be in use for years to come.In years to come we will not recognize this country because of coastal flooding, dry grasslands and damaging fires during the dry seasons.The latest climate report listed 2030 as our point of no return in mitigating environmental damage.Digging coal and pumping oil will only hasten the disaster.The government will not be able to tax people enough to pay for the damage to the environment.I hope Mr.Griffiths realizes that he is ruining the world his grandchildren will live in!
2016-2018: “What Not To Do” Blueprints (Pittsburgh, PA)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” This is the most absurd, idiotic, ignorant, irresponsible, even suicidal quote I've ever read on this topic.
judith courtney (guttenberg nj)
For the sake of the planet, Trump must be stopped in 2020. For the sake of our children's children...
Pat Richards ( . Canada)
@judithcourtney , Why wait till 2020? Stop him now. Time is running out.
Michael Jay (Kent, CT)
These people's grandchildren will curse them.
Justin (CA)
I call the science deniers, Flat Earthers. When ideology matches idiocy. They sound as ridiculous as the people who denied science back then. And look how wrong they were...
M (Seattle)
Let’s say the climate change report is 100% accurate. Which country is actually going to do what it takes to make any kind of a difference? A gas increase of a few pennies in France to fund carbon reduction practically caused a revolution and blood in the streets. Good luck.
Matthew (Nj)
True. It’s a game global musical chairs about the tragedy of the commons. No country will. This is human nature. We are doomed.
David Rosen (Oakland CA)
@Matthew. Human nature is exceedingly diverse isn't it? We're capable of the marvelous and the horrible. So there's little we can explain away in a simple fashion by invoking human nature. There's really no basis at all to blame dysfunction on human nature. We rapidly retooled industry for war in the the 1940s and can do the same for climate change now. Unfortunately the current confusion suggests that we will need something dramatic to change course. Perhaps an enormous release of Greenland or Antartica ice into the ocean. Sooner than later would be good.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@David Rosen Well sure, David we "can" (not really), but we are not (definitely). It's important to realize that it is also, according to the science/data, waaaay, way too late. I'm sure you will disagree, which is fine, but that does not change the science/data. It is what it is. Wishful thinking, "by god we gotsta, I refuse..." proclamations do not change the data and where we are now at.
DenisPombriant (Boston)
They can try to support fossil fuels all they want but the dirty truth is we're running out. The 2014 BP Annual report estimated a 54-year supply left in the ground. It will take most of this century to convert the economy and if we don't start we'll be in even more trouble. What's left should be conserved for making things like synthetic rubber and a host of other things that fossil fuels are starting materials for. Burying CO2 underground is well understood. Why aren't we doing this already? Because it doesn't work, the gas leaks back to the atmosphere. It's not a solution. Open Ocean Iron fertilization will take CO2 out of the air without all the dangers of carbon sequestration. We aren't doing any of these things because of economics. Fossil fuel companies are blocking because they want to sell every last drop regardless of the harm it does.
Mark Kessinger (New York, NY)
@DenisPombriant =- Indeed, and this is and will remain the central problem of fossil fuels dependency, completely apart from the issue of climate change.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@DenisPombriant "It will take most of this century to convert the economy" Time which we don't have. Most of this century?? 2040 is now looking bad. That's in 21 years. 21 years. Let that sink in. 21 years. Now in the lifetimes of those of us PAST middle age. Let that sink in. You are late 50s and you thought you'd escape this? Ha! Your "golden" years are now poised to be less golden. It is too late. The window came and went a long time ago. The inertia of CO2 is there, in place, doing it's thing. All fantasies aside, we are Still burning more, consuming more, building more, have babies more, living with blinders on more. All trend lines are dramatically headed in the wrong direction. Projections are consistently moving impacts sooner/worse-er.
Georgina (Denver)
@DenisPombriant Denis, while your point is ultimately valid, it's also deceptive. The 2014 report says 54 years and 2012 consumption levels. Because consumption has risen since 2012, we should expect our current reserves to be 50 years or less. Yet, the 2018 report acknowledged that we have in fact added enough reserves that we have compensated for the increase in consumption, AND now still have enough for 52 years at 2017 levels. We're by no means currently "running out".
jrinsc (South Carolina)
So, a "rapid retreat from coal, oil and gas [is] unrealistic," eh? Here's what's unrealistic: ignoring science, pretending that climate change isn't happening right now, ignoring the huge low-term costs in exchange for short-term profits, and ignoring not just the fate of humanity but the fate of all species on the planet. Imagine someone you love goes to 100 doctors, and 98 of them say "you have nearly irreversible lung cancer, but if you quit smoking, watch your diet, and following a specific treatment, you *might* still have a chance." The other 2 doctors aren't sure if your loved one even has cancer, and if she/he does, perhaps it has nothing to do with this person's two-pack per day smoking habit. What do you think is more "unrealistic" - doing nothing and believing those 2 doctors, or trusting the other 98 and doing everything possible to fight for future health?
fFinbar (Queens Village, nyc)
Based on the diagnosis of the 98, hand me a pack of Newport 100s. I'm as good as dead, and they're just pushing hope with a large dose on maybe, no guarantee.
j (montana)
both are iffy
Eli (RI)
@j you take iffy death I take iffy maybe. Not all iffy are created equal.
Lee Harrison (Albany / Kew Gardens)
In principle CO2 sequestration from coal-fired power plants is feasible. The reality however is that almost every demonstration plant to date has been a fiasco, and the economics look terrible. There's also the very real problem of finding injection sites to store the CO2, and worrying about potential leaks and earthquakes. The onus is on the coal producers to demonstrate that CO2 sequestration is feasible -- not just feasible technically (it probably is), but feasible economically. This is another way of saying the obvious: competing on price. Create the necessary CO2 tax, and then let the market sort itself out as far as whether there is any viable market for coal.
vulcanalex (Tennessee)
@Lee Harrison NO to any carbon tax or cap and trade regulations, neither will provide benefits other than hurting the people.
Barry of Nambucca (Australia)
@vulcanalex Australia introduced a carbon tax in around 2013, which was removed by the new conservative government when they won the next election. The carbon tax was used to reimburse those on low incomes. It did see the emissions from coal fired power stations fall. It worked as intended. One of the main issues with fossil fuel as is that the community have to deal with all the external costs from using fossil fuel. If external costs were added to the price of fossil fuel, it would be uncompetitive with renewable power.
@Lee Harrison and commenters, viable alternative power sources exist now: wind and solar. Why is solar use in Arizona, with 300 days a year of sunlight, only between 2% and 5% (depending on locale)? And wind largely powers Palm Springs, CA. Ocean wind is abundant on both coasts and if a wind generator or cable breaks, it doesn't spill oil and kill millions of fish and birds. The activism of this "government" in undermining conservation is disgraceful, as are the rest who support this untenable stance. Like almost all of their positions, this one is built on a foundation of manure (literally as well as figuratively - or have we forgotten than livestock flatulence is also a huge contributor to air pollution worldwide?)
IN (New York)
Succinctly expressed, short term greed over long term survival. The Trump administration is Putin’s gift to his fossil fuel country. It is not coincidental that Trump’s allies are his likely contributors to his money laundering real estate organization. I am truly embarrassed by how reactionary the Trump administration is. They do not reflect the opinion and passion and commitment of the majority of Americans to pass a better world to our children. We must fight for the survival of our planet. Global warning is not fake news. Unfortunately Trump is impervious to environmental facts and that alone threatens our long term security and prosperity.
Karen Lee (Washington, DC)
@IN, I am not embarrassed about anything that the Trump administration does. I just can't be embarrassed about something that I did not cause. Similarly, in November 2016, I was already tired of reading that "we" elected DJ Trump.
Rocky (Seattle)
@IN You're embarrassed by the oligarchy? Where have you been the last forty years, or really forever? The period from 1933-1979 was but a brief and rude impertinence...
Bill Wilson (Boston)
@Rocky maybe but we can get back there I think. Let impertinence rule !
Michael W (UK)
Are we all doomed? Led to global catastrophy by people who put economic greed and selfishness first before the good of society? They better have irrefutable proof that global warming and the harmful effects of fossil fuels are non-issues. Because if they can't, their actions are simply criminal. Hang on, they can't provide such evidence. The US government's recent report spells out the dangers of global warming. The report has fallen on death ears. We really are doomed after all.
Tom W (Cambridge Springs, PA)
@Michael W You’re a cheery, up-beat bunch over there in the UK, aren’t you? Despite the idiocy of Donny T and his Dysfunctional Republican Band, there IS some chance that we won’t ALL drown or starve or be burned up or die in freakish unprecedented storms and weather anomalies. Keep your sunny side up, Michael. Some of us will probably survive to see the barren near-lifeless landscape that is our profit-driven future. Real estate values will be low, or free. No television commercials or television programs either. Try to see the bright side of this situation.
Alex (Detroit, MI)
@Michael W The ONLY way to move the needle on climate change action is to vote Republicans OUT.
A person (Somewhere)
Countries don’t have to sacrifice their prosperity or security to use green energy. The U.S. has not seriously pursued green energy on an institutional level because of big oil. It’s nothing but rhetoric when people say green energy is unrealistic or damages the economy. The Trump administration delaying the development of green energy doesn’t help us. The increasingly extreme impact of climate change will do serious damage to our security and prosperity, however.
Daunted (NorCal - Europe)
I always wondered if past civilizations - the ancient Romans, Greeks, Mongols and so on - were aware of their decline as it was happening, and what that must have felt like. In a word: powerless. It’s excruciating to watch these “leaders” lead us to certain peril. Shame on them. I donate, I vote, I make efforts in my everyday life; all the while craving systemic change (regulation!) that requires true leadership but both bereft of that leadership and fearful of whether anything could actually change (the Gilets Jaunes are a cautionary tale).
Amanda (France)
Please don't be pessimistic because of the gilets jaunes. Their protest is about not having discretionary income. It started as a protest against an increase in gas prices and it became a general protest of low-wage workers, unemployed, underemployed, and people on small pensions about their lack of money in general. Getting rid of the gas tax would not end these protests now because they are no longer about that. Don't lose the forest for the trees: before the new environmental tax, gas prices were already 3 times higher than in the US and not causing protests, but did result in everyone having much smaller cars. The traditional high gas prices have therefore been successful and should be emulated in the US.
Dennis W (So. California)
So this is who we have become. While the world is choking on it's own human produced air and water pollution, the U.S. bravely leads those who deny the science and fight to hold on to fossil fuels as our primary energy sources. We have abdicated a position of world leadership on environmental protection to make money short term on 19th and 20th century energy sources. If there are future generations what will they think of us?
vulcanalex (Tennessee)
@Dennis W Here we are not choking on pollution, we have greatly reduced traditional polution over time. Typical overly emotional statements, and there will be many more generations of humans.
RjW (Chicago)
@Dennis W Yup. We used to envision future generations as thinking, “ my how well they built “. In future, not so much.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@vulcanalex "traditional" pollution? The good 'ol Tennessee traditions?
Flossy (Australia)
Australia as a government might agree, but around Australia, particularly here in South Australia where I am, we are NOT in agreement, and have some of the highest rates of clean energy use in the world. The current Australian government is very out of touch with its people in this regard.
Blank (Venice)
@Flossy Same here in America.
Rocky (Seattle)
@Flossy Like most all governments of countries with energy resources in the ground, it is owned by the energy industry.
VM (upstate ny)
I have friends in Australia who feel as you do. thank you for speaking out!
Juliane (NYC)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Unbelievable...!! Environmental sustainability should be the goal. Without our planet’s health, we can’t exist. This is such a flawed way of thinking. Invest now, change, we have the resources to produce clean energy, and live forever. Be rich tomorrow and your kids won’t live to tell the story.
John (MA)
@Juliane. Agreed. Incredible statement and really plays bare the Trump philosophy. I guess when you're an narcissistic old man the future doesn't matter.
Victoria Johnson (Lubbock, TX) our future generations don’t matter? Shame on Trump.
Patricia (Pasadena)
They miss the fact that climate change is going to threaten economic prosperity. It's already doing that. Wildfires leave economic devastation in their wake. Rising sea levels are already starting to cost Florida quite a bit. These greedy buzzards don't just reject science. They reject simple math.
Anne (CA)
I have seen some of the good and bad in relation to oil industry jobs over 4 or 5 decades. Family, close and extended, friends... in both executive high level positions and boots on the ground in Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, British Columbia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It's fickle and dangerous. Fracking earthquakes, deadly climate warming, poisoned water etc. divorce (the oil industry separates families for months at a time), revenue from abundantly relied on leases abruptly discontinued... Texas has abundant wind and sun, as do ALL the other oil producing locals. Goodness gracious our oceans should be sacred in oil free ecosystems. We subsidize fossil fuels that are killing stable economies and the health of the planet and it's inhabitants. The world need leadership that will do whatever it takes to save the world and wean us from the past. That leadership is not currently coming from the US. I am heartily sorry to say that. Coal is another fracking blight on US. And one other blight is plastic. Most plastics are be made from the hydrocarbons that are available in natural gas, oil and coal. There are alternatives that our world governments can and should embrace. Now. Stop subsidizing fossil fuel robber barons. Add tariffs and taxes. We will be fossils ourselves next, because we let Citizen United and the like rule. Oil was amazingly great a hundred years ago, no longer.
Anne (CA)
@Anne Sorry for the typos above. :-) I forgot the most important undesirable byproduct of oil dependence has been internecine war. We can all be energy independant if we make the effort. Our lives depend on it.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Anne No!! Oil was never "amazingly great" it's CUMULATIVE. Folks really, really, really do not get this problem.
Danny B (Montana)
Our lives depend on universal, unconditional love right now. That means regular Americans changing how they live and work, which means government that allows us to do those things. Now.
Nathan Howell (Texas)
I'm happy to report that more and more Christians are waking up to the reality of climate change and how it will hurt not only the poor but also future generations. We put our hope in God.Even if our leaders in the US and elsewhere do not act, God is still in control. This is my hope. I want climate talks to succeed and net carbon emissions to fall. I definitely do. I will do my part to support them. But at the same time I think it unwise to put too much faith in our collective ability to solve our problems. This is a really big one. And one that we must seek God's grace to tackle. There will always be suffering in the world. And we can't stop it all. But we can glorify God in all circumstances.
leftcoast (San Francisco)
@Nathan Howell Yes let's depend on either someone firmly situated in DSM-V, or mythology to get us out of this predicament.
Rodrigo (CHILE )
@Nathan Howell Mmmhh we better think we are alone on this, no one will do anything but humans
Anthony Flack (New Zealand)
@Nathan Howell - I have very little faith in our collective ability to solve this problem. But I have no faith whatsoever that any deity is going to solve it for us. I imagine that would turn out about as well as shutting your eyes while driving and letting God steer the car.
Baldwin (New York)
If more voters cared about the environment, we could do something positive. It’s not about ignorance or corruption, it’s about selfishness and indifference. For a while, a political system that encouraged people to do whatever was best for their private interests was a good idea. But now we are left with a society unable to address group problems. No individual person has an incentive to solve this on their own. Trump doesn’t care about the environment one way or the other. He doesn’t care about any policy topic at all. He just sees voters as selfish and gives them the excuse to indulge their selfishness. Is he wrong in this assessment? I wish he was.
Norman McDougall (Canada )
The USA, Russia, and China - the world’s three largest oil producers have banded together to resist measures to address the climate change crisis. Who could have guessed?
VM (upstate ny)
DJT gave them the green light. we didn't elect an outsider: we elected an ignorant Pandora who opened the box.
Jim (PA)
“Hey guys, check out all the cool ways to cleanly use fossil fuels!” breathlessly exclaim the same people who spent all their waking hours trying to abolish all pollution controls...
fard barfill (planet earth)
so, to recap.. all those in favor of fossil fuels need to be turned into fossils
Blackmamba (Il)
When America stands with the corrupt royal theocratic autocrats in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait along with our autocratic masters in Russia on fossil fuel issues regarding denying and hiding the science behind climate change then you know what MAGA really means. Donald Trump made a solemn sworn oath to preserve, protect and defend whatever he is hiding from the American people in his personal and family income tax returns and business records in order for the Trump Organization to profit from their occupation of the Oval Office of our White House.
SW (Los Angeles)
Team Trump is only focused on short term profits; he’ll be dead and won’t have to deal with the problems he is creating.
Mike (San marcos)
We are, without a doubt the stupidest country on the planet
Andrew Davies (Australia)
The stance taken by Australia's coal-loving conservative government is embarrassing. Polls now show that a majority of Australians support action on climate change. More importantly, Australians are adopting renewables in increasing numbers. (See the animated change in demand curves here: ) The scientific illiteracy on display among fossil-fuel supporters is appalling.
Wabi-Sabi (Montana)
Has anyone considered a fast collapse of our civilization might be better than a slow collapse? If we try to sustain 10 Billion people for over the next one hundred years, think of the wasteland we will make of the planet. If humans survive the next 1000 years, they will need whatever natural resources we didn't destroy.
Marston Gould (Seattle, WA)
“No country should have to give up energy independence for the sake of environmental sustainability” is an oxymoron
Elly (NC)
These collective countries believe in all modern science, technology, until it conflicts with their pocketbooks. They become blind to what each little child going to elementary school learns and knows to be fact. Hopefully, they will grow up fast enough to save our air, water, earth. They will have to save the planet because these men do not have the fortitude. They have no concept of what detriment they cause or they do and just don’t care. Too many of our illnesses relate to our environment. Wake up accept the reality of your actions and yes the responsibility.
Barry Fogel (Lexington, MA)
Trump and Co. think environmental sustainability is an option, a ‘nice to have’. I guess it is if you don’t care what happens to your children.
ash (nyc)
This makes me very sad. I decided almost 12 years ago to devote my career to renewable energy development. Its being trampled by people who neither care nor know anything about energy and science. See the world while you can.
SW (Los Angeles)
@ash It is exactly because people see too much of the world every day that is a big part of the problem. There is a downside to grade a jet fuel, deisel buses, many trains, cars... Stay home
Eric Schneider (Philadelphia)
no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” They just don’t get it, do they, even after the report a few weeks ago which explained how climate change is going to directly affect our economy. Sustainability is not an option, it is survival.
A person (Somewhere)
The U.S. is decades behind the rest of the word in green energy. Big oil has conservatives convinced that economic prosperity and green energy are mutually exclusive. Climate change is going to cause more damage than any transition to green energy. But most politicians will be dead or retired at that point, so they don’t care.
SpecialKinNJ (NJ)
In a statement associated with issuance of the IPCC 2007 report Chairman Pachauri stated categorically “If there’s no action (to slow the pace of global warming) before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment". Assuming humankind is responsible for increasing warming --and Chairman Pachauri's statement was valid – it is now some six years too late to do so, but theoretically knowledgeable folks are still clamoring for action! More generally, this reader is inclined toward the view-that never in the history of a planet marked over millennia by periodic changes in climate not attributed to human behavior [see, e.g., Climate Change Doomed the Ancients, May 27, 2014 and what happened in the Nile Valley ] have so many otherwise rational public officials, journalists, academics, NGO's and ordinary citizens, espoused beliefs so arcane as those which gave rise to the Church of Anthropogenic Causation (CAC). The logically attainable goal of a "pollution-free atmosphere", per se, might have been espoused with less reservation, had it been advanced free of the claim that doing so is needed to "fight climate change" . Quien sabe
Rev. E. M. Camarena, PhD (Hell's Kitchen)
Where were the critics when a former president boasted about creating increased American oil production? "I was extraordinarily proud of the Paris Accords because, look I know we’re in oil country and we need American energy. And by the way, American energy production, you wouldn’t always know it, but it went up every year I was president. And you know that whole suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer … that was me, people." Pres. Obama, Nov. 27, 2018 at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas. "That... was... me." To those who remained silent... you emboldened Trump. Thanks. For nothing.
Danny B (Montana)
So, this is how it ends? People of like minds learn to fight and hate one another instead of simply uniting? We will bite each other's backs until the last man is dead. That's the way it goes with climate change - all brotherhood, all humanity are lost. So we are lost, and the root of the problem vanishes. The earth will heal over the next hundred thousand millennia or so, and hopefully such a clever species will never be seen again. Look back at HW, the great and noble statesman who wouldn't sign the Kyoto Protocol on '89: more study. It became radioactive politically after the GOP decided to politicize the issue for the sake of gaining power. Nobody would touch it all the while the opportunity for easier tweaks to solve it was passing by. There can be no more blame now. It's too late. But Trump's people need to get out there and wash their mouths out with dirt for saying such garbage in public.
Erin (Northcoast)
The tiring tu quoque stance, again.
W in the Middle (NY State)
“...I don’t see any reason why any government or country can deny what the science says,” said Amjad Abdulla of the Maldives, the chief negotiator for a bloc of island nations known as the Alliance of Small Island States... Perhaps – but this bloc may now have very good reason for renaming itself the Alliance of Smaller Island States...
Steve Eddy (Austin, TX)
whoaa...stop the presses! All the major oil producers are supportive of continuing use of fossil fuels. Who'd of thunk it?!
otto (rust belt)
I love all this posturing. Our children, and our children's children will spit on our graves. And they will be right to.
RjW (Chicago)
Hmm? How many tonnes of ghg emisions would be avoided if we were to sequester Individual No. 1?
Blank (Venice)
This time lapse view of the Arctic shows a sad tale of woe.
Sparky (Earth)
Oil isn't going anywhere, hippies. For those in the "green" movement, put down the bongs and pay attention. Even the things you want to build that reduce dependency on oil...require oil to make! Mining equipment, transportation, factories to refine and make raw materials...don't run on 'good vibes' and weed. Like food? Food enough to feed the planet? That requires commercial farming which absolutely requires oil from start to finish. I could go on and on but if you don't understnad it by this point you're beyond help. The ONLY way this begins to happen is if the planet adopts a one child policy today. Yeah, good luck with that.
Randy M (Boulder, CO)
@Sparky Hippies? Really? How about just humans that want to ensure there is a viable earth for our kids and their kids. This isn't a 'green' movement; this is a human thing. You are correct - our reliance on fossil fuels is extensive, but we have to start decoupling from that reliance and figure out ways to support all the things you refer to - all of which absolutely can be done with less impact to our planet. It will be expensive, time consuming and probably painful. Such is the way it goes when changing bad habits. But his bad habit of ours will put into jeopardy our potential to LIVE on earth. It's not hyperbole - this is the real deal Sparky. Either get on board, stop with your fatalistic attitude and be ready to deal with some challenging times ahead while we change our habits and get creative with ways to do so, or quietly step aside and fade away please.
Spock (Vulcan)
the headline should have read... Trump Team Pushes Koch Profits at Climate Talks. Protests Erupt, but Allies Emerge
leftcoast (San Francisco)
I am starting to rethink the idea of culling a president from reality TV. Then again, maybe we should just give it one more shot, maybe Hulk Hogan next time around or The Situation from The Jersey Shore?
leftcoast (San Francisco)
@leftcoast I mean, if you are anything like me, you said to yourself, hey this guy was on realty TV, what could go wrong?
Will Hogan (USA)
Russia and Trump are both expected to have no morals, but Australia???
Rodrigo (CHILE )
@Will Hogan what a shame, Is surprises me as well!
EWH (San Francisco)
Those who deny the reality of scientific facts - NOT "fake / alternative" ""facts"" - are simply believers in the world of "magical non-thinking." Science - not always 100% right - but at 98% of all real climate scientists - this is fact compared to the trump and fossil fuel neanderthals. Stop dragging your knuckles on the ground. If 98% of doctors told you you'd die if you did not act, but 2% said, "nothing to worry about", what would you do? Think the same if it was your children. You deniers are yielding your critical thinking to depraved liars (yes, trump and the fossil fools - especially coal). This is not a debate. This is insanity.
leftcoast (San Francisco)
@EWH Science is not a culture, a political party, or even a guess. Science is simply what is. I wish people could figure that out.
punch (chippendale, australia)
Australians will definitively kick out their right-wing, climate change denial Conservative government whenever the election is called. The grotesque Abbott/Turnbull/ScoMo Coalition reprobates have stymied any progress on climate change action to the point the vast majority of Australians will sprint to the polls with baseball bats. That is how much this corrupted Australian government is loathed by its citizens. Unrepresentative ScoMo and his bullyboys put coal before the health of their citizens and the world. The anger on the streets is palpable. The replacement government will be Bill Shortens Labor Party, Greens & Independents who will immediately implement their effective, strong climate change policy which chooses all renewables to quicken the transition away from dirty, polluting coal & help workers to make that transition to cleaner, better jobs. Win win win. ps For those who don't follow Australian politics, the latest unqualified Prime Minister likes to be called ScoMo. Says it all really.
HPE (Singapore)
This is just about one side of the equation: creating energy. But it ignores the efficiency of utilising it. I just don’t understand how the US as one of the most advanced nations in the world, cannot become more efficient in its energy use. Europe produces about half-two thirds of the pollution despite having a similar economic size (and more skewed to manufacturing) and about 50 pct more people. Japan’s cars and aircons consume much less energy than american equivalents. IF the US would simply adopt what the others do today, it would probably not need more energy while being able to grow significantly. Making the coal discussion obsolete. And this does not include further benefits of the innovation race that would ensue. It is not environment vs economy or life style. You can have it both. Instead this is simply unwillingness and ignorance. Only to further political interests of a few greedy billionaires in a handful of countries (US, SA, Aus etc). But it burdens the entire planet and jeopardises us all.
David Stoeckl (Conestoga, Pa)
“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. Even if doing so will result in a profoundly changed climate and immense problems for our children and grandchildren? The selfishness of these acts is palpable. The science is deep, based on decades of research, and supported by nearly everyone in the science community.
2016-2018: “What Not To Do” Blueprints (Pittsburgh, PA)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” - Humanity's Epitaph
Bruce (Denver CO)
Santa is right. As usual, Trump is wrong. And, of course when it comes to money, oil producers will do or say anything to line their pockets.
Jim Cornelius (Flagstaff, AZ)
With allies like those, who needs enemies? We are known by the company we keep. Meanwhile, calamitous record snowfall in the Carolinas on the heels of a calamitous hurricane, and record downpours in Houston on the heels of record flooding from another calamitous hurricane, and record fires in the far west on the heels of record droughts, and rising oceans everywhere. If we prevail with the aid of such such allies, perhaps in the not so very distant future there won't be anybody to keep track of climatical records ....
Chris H (Los Angeles)
"The United States — along with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia — refused to allow a collective statement that would “welcome” the report, issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which detailed a variety of strategies for cutting global fossil-fuel emissions roughly in half by 2030 in order to avoid many dangerous climate impacts." Axis of Evil.
E. Ochmanek (Vancouver)
The friends one keeps says a lot about ones character.
Mike Murray MD (Olney, Illinois)
Many large developing nations, India, China, Indonesia, pretend to agree but are going right ahead with massive fossil fuel growth.
Justin (Alabama)
@Mike Murray MD Simply incorrect - Google the investment India has made in solar power. For a developing country with the amount of demand they have - a full move to renewables quickly is unrealistic. What is America's excuse? Except big oil and corporations.
Will Hogan (USA)
@Mike Murray MD China is very advanced, their self-set goals for CO2 admissions under the Paris accords should NOT be going up. Unfair to Europe and everyone else.
Jeff Hsu (San Francisco)
India yes, but Not the case with China
Has anyone volunteered to abandon their livelihood and life style in the interest of retarding climate change? How much economic pain are average people willing to absorb to abate climate change?
Corbin (Minneapolis)
@BD Why the average people? The richest derive the most riches from fossil fuels, and can most afford to pay for a change to renewables.
R.A.K. (Long Island)
Yes, many people have made significant changes to their lifestyle, actually. But to be impactful it must start from the top - government. So keep your head in the sand as South Carolina's coastal towns and vacation spots won't even exist in about 50 years. what about "people's livlihoods" then?
AJR (Vancouver)
@BD I got rid of my car and joined a car co-op.
zula Z (brooklyn)
When I moved to southern California 20 years ago, there was no need for air conditioning. This past summer the temperature in my very green neighborhood on Pasadena was 120, and the temperature is still in the high 80s every few days. Drought, fires- don't tell me this is isn't climate change. Excessive development in areas that provided natural barriers and more and more cars are contributing to the unusual heat - and increased humidity in a desert climate. It's weird, and it's man-made.
Neil (Texas)
I totally disagree with many comments below denouncing our country's stance on these issues. For a starter, why is it that folks cheer these disrupters at US presentation - yet, I rarely read that so called "anti environment" folks rarely ever disrupt the other side. I know why. I have been there. I volunteered at Copenhagen COP - after taking time off from my consulting business in the oil patch. I had hoped that my 30 year (then) background would allow me to contribute to debate. What I found was the "environmentalisrs" had no use for facts and had only opinions - and this is the primary reason why they disrupt. Even this 3 deg centigrade number - touted by the high priest of this movement (whose name I forget) had it pulled out of air. No scientific basis whatsoever. And as a sceptic, I wonder how all these folks denouncing fossil fuels got there. Could it be sail boats, battery driven vehicles or God forbid - walked all the way. I suspect most flew good ole Boeings to get there and now get back home - last time I checked, Boeings are still powered by fossil fuels - and with a big carbon footprint. Finally, many of these folks are keeping their eyes wide shut and not hearing - what's happening on the streets of Paris or for that matter - all over France. They are protesting Macron's "end is coming" carbon tax. These French victims put it best - as reported by NYT - "Macron is worried about end of the world, while we are worried about end of the month."
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Neil Yep. But still doesn't mean the science is what the science is, and, as a fact guy, you agree.
Robert (Out West)
Imagine my surprise at reading that somebody with a “consulting business on the oil patch,” would bellow out this kind of guff. Hey, a small question: you good to go with sticking your kids and grandkids with the bills and the debts you’re running up? Because I thought you folks were real deficit hawks, or does that only come into play when some poor black kid needs a checkup and a trip to the dentist?
Djt (Norcal)
@Neil France’s pwr capita emissions are less than 1/3 ours. FYI.
Paul Sitz (Ramsey)
Assume all know reserves of coal,oil and gas are consumed in the next 80 years. What will be the effect on gobal warming? Note that as the reserves dwindle, the price will rise thus increasing the economic incentive to the holders of those reserves.
Paul (Bellerose Terrace)
“‘The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,’ Mr. Griffith said. ‘We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.’” Thus spake the representative of the richest country in the world. It is insulting that American representatives are crying economic manifest destiny.
vulcanalex (Tennessee)
There are no "high stakes" at this meeting for the US. We will continue to reduce our emissions through using natural gas, improving efficiency and other valuable improvements. Let the developing world not increase their emissions if the issue is so serious. Not to mention we need nuclear power here and around the world.
Dan (Joliet)
I wonder what the average global temperature was in 950 AD, to have allowed vast parts of Greenland to be occupied and farmed? The same areas of Greenland are now covered by ice, and the average ambient temperature much too cold to grow crops or raise sheep, as the Vikings did back then.
David Stoeckl (Conestoga, Pa)
@Dan That is simply not true. The Vikings eked out a marginal existence, but there were no "vast parts of Greenland" being cultivated or grazed. If you start with incorrect information, you cannot reach an accurate conclusion.
Djt (Norcal)
@Dan Local, short term phenomenon. Not reflective of the world at the time.
Robert (Out West)
Hey, could you do the one about the medieval LIA? I love the one about the medieval LIA; next to Deformed Rabbit, it’s my favorite.
Tony's Mom (New York)
I got all worked up, reading the headlines of this article. That is, until in reading it, I learned that the two allies are Russia and Kuwait! No surprise there! Query though, to the Times: What were we supposed to make of all this?
CJD (Hamilton, NJ)
Trump is turning us into a corrupt petrostate.
Yuri Asian (Bay Area)
"...but Allies Emerge, Too." Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia? I don't see any allies but I do see three nations -- two murderous tyrannies and a former frontier territory that's proud of its legacy as a British penal colony -- that cynically mistake global warming as ideal weather for tossing another shrimp on the coal fired barbie. In fact Australia, far from its image as a rugged version of Britannia, is a charter member of the Me First! Club that's held Australia a hostage of its dominant coal industry, which dictates foreign and environmental policy. The Aussies export over 70% of its coal mostly to China, Japan, South Korea and India. The government spent millions fighting the Kyoto Treaty and now the Paris Accords. No nation has been nearly as aggressive as Australia in denying climate change and actively sabotaging global efforts to ameliorate it. These countries are "allies" in what sense? A mutual suicide pact? A nefarious plot to starve millions to death in the near future? Or just business as usual? Australia gave the world Rupert Murdoch and the media mogul reciprocated by poisoning public discourse with Fox News in the US. And a slew of Page 5 tabloids in the UK. None of these three nations are allied with anything other than their bad faith and corporate greed. How galling for Aussies to share a rogue's gallery of aspiring pariah states intent on amassing wealth by putting the planet in a slow cooker. Or just tossing it on the barbi.
Speranza (Brasilia)
@Yuri Asian Elections in Australia next year. I hope Scott Morrison will be booted out and the will of the people will stop Adani mine. Optimistic to see that young people are protesting against coal.
Yuri Asian (Bay Area)
@Speranza Thanks for your reply. My guess is that Aussies dislike politics and leave it to politicians who think coal production is an Olympic sport and they're tired of coming in 2nd or 3rd in coal exports. They're going for gold because they want the rest of the world to bask in hot climes like they do. Fosters may be Australian for beer but politics is Aussie for Here Comes The Sun because politicians have it made in the shade.
It's not the economy, stupid. The economy won't matter when everything's dead.
vulcanalex (Tennessee)
@GBM Typical overly emotional statement. There is no chance that "everything" will be dead. Even in the far past when there were mass extinctions life returned.
Baldwin (New York)
You win, just mass extinctions not the complete end of all life. Are you arguing that mass extinctions (which would include most of human life) is fine?
Matthew (New Jersey)
@vulcanalex Good to see you've evolved, vulcanalex, usta be you wouldn't consider any of it. What changed your mind?
RjW (Chicago)
Individual number one works for Putin, not us, not for the environment or it’s climate. The greatest carbon sequestration in history would occur if this president were to be sequestered, long term. Then the healing can begin, where we work alongside the rest of the world to encourage forests, electric transport, and renewable energy strategies. Putin’s pleasure is our suffering.
Mark (Aspen)
Wow. I am amazed that people, much less "highly respected and experienced" people can be found who sign on to this backward-thinking view. With trump unable to find anyone competent to work for him going forward, as either chief of staff or otherwise, I had assumed the rats had abandoned ship by now. They will soon.
Corbin (Minneapolis)
@mark You can buy rats to pretend they are “highly experienced people”. Those “people” (read: Trolls) can than claim or not claim whatever.
Angie (Saint Paul MN)
Global warming is very real and money won't change nature's wrath, president Trump's descents will have to live with today's bad decisions I hope that they can forgive him.
JHM (New Jersey)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” Let that statement sink in from Trump's flunkey Wells Griffith, with the misaligned title of international energy and climate adviser. It's a step beyond Trump boasting he doesn't believe in climate change because his gut instinct tells him its false. It says basically it doesn't matter whether climate change is real or not, because the current administration doesn't give two hoots about survival of the planet if it threatens juicy profits from the fossil fuel industry. Of course, it is no surprise that when it comes to protecting oil profits at the cost of environmental carnage Trump has once again thrown his lot in with Russia and Saudi Arabia, countries that repress and murder their own people and defame the free press as enemies. It is almost incomprehensible what the U.S. has come to represent on the international stage on a host of issues from human rights to the environment. I feel sorry for our children and grandchildren.
Will Liley (Sydney)
How can the IPCC or these climate talk-fests claim to be serious unless they get real about what's actually required to lower global temperatures? The only existing technologies available to provide zero carbon 24x7 base load electricity are nuclear and coal. Secure base load is necessary to convert the economy, especially the transport sector, away from fossil fuels. What should be a global consensus is to commit to a rapid build-out of a standardised modular nuclear design, and an urgent commitment to prove up carbon capture & storage (CCS). Will the bien pensants at the conference even mention nuclear or CCS + coal? Don't hold your breath.
RjW (Chicago)
@Will Liley At this point coal’s best future is being left where it lies. Transport is only 15-18% of global emissions and renewables with natural gas as a bridge fuel is the way to go. Coal is the bottom of the pit in the fuel comparison department.
Nicholas (Canada)
Many would rather ride out the global Titanic in first class than avoid sinking into the abyss. It really is coming down to drastic changes, or a mass extinction event, and there will come tipping points where no matter what we do, the ship will sink. The thing is to make the less drastic changes today and to persist even as the mitigation takes decades to offset the carbon already pushed into the environment. The unfortunate thing is that we humans are very good at responding to immediate dire threats, but threats that have a long build time and a long period of commitment to mitigate are the ones that we face today, and those we ignore until we cannot any longer, and with climate change and extinctions, and weakening threatened local ecologies that won't cut it.
Look Ahead (WA)
Some day the descendants of Trump, McConnell, Ryan, Perry, Pruitt, Wheeler, Zinke, Inofe and others who led in the wrong direction at a critical juncture in the world's climate crisis will be quietly applying for legal name changes to try to hide the stain of their ancestors contribution to climate disaster. But we must never forget. Streets in Miami will be renamed in recognition of their contribution, after they disappear beneath the water. All Category 6 Hurricanes will be named in honor of one of the most notable climate change deniers, changing the Category 1-5 convention from first to last name. Hurricane Trump, Hurricane McConnell, Hurricane Koch, and so forth. It is important that we preserve the legacy of these leaders while we are experiencing it.
Ray Sipe (Florida)
The World literally laughed at us. Sad.Donald/GOP ; give us back the country we built. Ray Sipe
Arnie Klaus (Venice,Florida)
You would think that someone like P. Wells Griffith, III would have some sense of compassion for the next three generations...
You have to wonder if the people promoting fossil fuels actually have children or grandchildren about whom they care at all.
Paul Sitz (Ramsey)
@BMD I don't wonder. I am sure they do not care.
Marianne (California)
Katowice and Silesia region of Poland where this conference takes place, is one of the most polluted places in Europe, where coal and coal dust burning is used for home heating. As a matter of fact 33 of Europe’s 50 most-polluted cities are in Poland! Yet the polish government is supporting the coal as a source of energy. The fact that Trump administration is a promoter of false promise of coal also emboldens countries with populist government (like Poland right now) to carry on carbon consumption. It is truly a shame we stop leading by example in clean energy development and it is truly criminal the ecological devastation it is and it will cause for our planet.
Karen Lee (Washington, DC)
@Marianne, well, the Trump administration is all in favor of coal pollutants in the waterways in coal-mining communities ... and the people who live there apparently don't know what that means.
dbezerkeley (CA)
Americans won't even take the minuscule steps of driving smaller cars and yet we expect our government to lead the way internationally.
Joanna (Arizona)
...or eating less meat.
Karen Lee (Washington, DC)
@dbezerkeley, please don't generalize. Yes, many Americans buy SUVs and pickup trucks, for reasons that might include: large families, desire to haul stuff, large dogs, currently-low-gas-prices, or perceived prestige. Many others of us own, or have owned, very fuel efficient cars. I don't own a car now, though I might buy one in the future.
Rev Wayne (Dorf PA)
The NOAA web site notes that the world-wide CO2 level has never been over 400ppm in 400,000 years until now. And yet our administration - the Republican Party - continues to ignore or deny the potential weather problems and human migration issues and human & animal health issues.
Tom W (Cambridge Springs, PA)
“...offered an unapologetic defense of fossil fuels on Monday, arguing that a rapid retreat from coal, oil and gas was unrealistic.” What sacrifices should we, as Earthlings, be willing to make in order to avoid major environmental calamity? Certainly not disruption of the profit streams generated by coal, oil and natural gas! Be serious! You’re telling me that we need to choose between corporate profits and survival, right? Is that your question? Profits vs. survival. Profits vs. survival. Hmmm... Well, one related fact of which I’m absolutely certain, is that modern Republicanism wasn’t twisted into its present form in order to protect “survival”, now was it?
Paul Sitz (Ramsey)
@Tom W What is the value of survival without profits? Not much in the Trump universe.
Dan (Joliet)
Replace "profit stream" with "creature comforts". Are you walking to the local stores when you can? Do you try to limit your unnecessary use of plastic items, or live in a dwelling that has more than 800 sq. ft. per occupant? I would bet not, and you are just a social warrior hypocrite.
Barbara (Boston)
@Dan. Well I do. And I have for my entire adulthood. And it is not enough - there are many people like me. Basically, we need the gazillionaires who really run the planet to put half their profits into building new transport, new decentralized power grid, new alternative energy and new infrastructure. But a lot of them are buying underground bunkers instead or playing around with vaccines in Africa.
The Oculist (Surrey, England)
The US could benefit so much from pushing for carbon capture and could be an ambassador for this. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a technology that can capture up to 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions pro­duced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes, preventing the carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. This technology would be great for existing fossil fuel plants around the world already down that road. I am thinking of India and China especially. There is a great UK website on it here: The Trump administration could redeem itself if it harnessed itself to science. Listening to experts would be a good thing.
Bevan Davies (Kennebunk, ME)
There is a serious disconnect between recent predictions about damage from climate change, and the full-speed-ahead attitude of the fossil fuel industry and their lapdogs. It seems impossible to determine what might happen in the event of a very serious weather circumstance. The time is fast approaching when we will discover exactly what will change the direction of the climate change deniers.
Ben Lieberman (Massachusetts )
So Australia can join the US in seeking to destroy the possibility of preserving a livable (for humans) plant. That will make the short-term profits worth it.
JerryV (NYC)
"Trump administration officials at high-stakes climate talks here offered an unapologetic defense of fossil fuels on Monday, arguing that a rapid retreat from coal, oil and gas was unrealistic." Of course it is unrealistic. Who would expect the Koch Brothers and their fellow earth-polluters to pay big bucks to Republican candidates if these candidates refused to pass laws that allow them to pollute the World? Highly unrealistic!
Arte Verbrugghe (Philadelphia PA)
Obviously these people have little or no concern for their children or grandchildren, only themselves and their undying and maniacal quest for money. Like Donald Trump has insinuated or actually said out loud, "Well I won't be here", SHAME ON THEM
Jim (California)
Instead of taking personal responsibility, the vast majority of Americans, and other persons around the world, whimper and whine, demanding Government take action and 'lead the way'. The last EPA report (2016) found the following: 28% of greenhouse gases were from transportation ( the Union of Concerned Scientists determined that 20% this was from cars & light trucks (8% from commercial vehicles) Electricity generation accounts for another 28%. In both of these situations individuals have the option to take personal responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases by driving hybrids, renting trucks as needed, installing Low-E windows and installing solar panels (PV panels) where geographically feasible. ALL of these options provide long term return on investment and reduce greenhouse gases. Governments reflect the people who elected them and also the approach to life by those who did not elect them. Until the people show their elected representative they are seriously concerned about their future, their representatives will do nothing. To blame Trump-Pence is hypocritical when those complaining are driving unnecessarily large thirsty vehicles and not taking other actions to reduce their own greenhouse gas 'footprint'.
Ben Lieberman (Massachusetts )
@Jim I'm sorry--yes individuals should be "good," and individuals should do their part, but a problem this massive can only be fully addressed through collective action by governments.
Manhattan Usurper (UWS)
Experts say individual actions are irrelevant to mitigating Climate Change...The radical changes needed must be implemented by government compelling corporations...
Lee Harrison (Albany / Kew Gardens)
@Jim -- It's entirely reasonable to demand concerted community action to achieve something, the "I will if you will" ... if you will. I drive a small car, and I take a lot of public transit. I intent to buy an electric at some point, but because I depend on on-street parking in NYC ... the charging infrastructure doesn't exist for me ... and doesn't look like it will anytime soon. You need to be considerably richer than I am to own a home in this city. Trump's & Pence's complete denial of reality is blameworthy, period.
Vicki (Florence, Oregon)
If Trump was surrounded by a burning building he wouldn't believe it because he doesn't believe anything will ever harm him - and he's the only one that counts to his mind. Rome burned while Cesare fiddled fits him very well.
John Ingram (New York, NY)
Shame on America, its corrupt fossil fuel industries, blind administration, and beholden legislators. Shame on countries that are now following our lead. Stay strong, those who are fighting for a thread of hope against insanity. ".....fear to bring children into the world" will be our legacy if we don't act now.
Margaret (Fl)
So now at least we know why the US bothered to send an envoy to an event the existence of which they want nothing to do with. It is, of course, in order to throw a wrench into the proceedings. I do not understand at this point why 4 countries can boycott anything. If they have a clause that x amount can boycott a resolution, get rid of that clause. This is ridiculous. The United States, headed by short-sided greed and stupidity, plus Russia, a country that tries to sabotage our democracy, plus Saudi Arabia which bought Trump way back in 1983 when he was a crooked outcast and dead broke, and which conducts its internal politics with the help of bone saws - what is this, the band of rogue brothers? Why should they have a say in anything a responsible body of nations united in a common cause have concluded? Don't blame those that take power from you. Blame yourselves that you are meek enough to let them tear if from your hands.
Kerry Leimer (Hawaii)
Republicans, so often enthralled by the concept of actions having consequences, are able to use their incredible gut-driven Powers of Selectivity to deny that dumping countless metric tons of waste into what is in fact, a rather thin and tiny atmosphere, and doing so around the clock for decades without relent is completely, utterly free of any consequences! So sayeth the Gut!
Leslie (Amherst)
That we are represented by people who are so greedy, so hateful, so self-centered, and so devoid of care for life on this planet--including their own progeny--is absolutely shameful.
dbezerkeley (CA)
@Leslie they are representing the will of the people unfortunately
John Bergstrom (Boston)
@dbezerkeley: Well, the will of quite a few people -- but remember, they invested heavily in creating that particular "will", with their disinformation campaign casting doubt on climate science -- and their marketing campaigns for big gas-guzzlers -- and their political campaigns to keep subsidies flowing their way -- and so on... it's not as if the "will of the people" in this case was some kind of spontaneous up-welling...
Edish (NYC)
@dbezerkeley The will of a minority of voters. Not the will of a majority of voters. Legitimate Electoral College President hated by 60% of the nation.
D.j.j.k. (south Delaware)
The catholics voted this unhinged man Trump into office . Their Pope Francis came to talk to the US culture of corruption GOP senate and congress. He said we will be living in a wilderness with no food to eat if coal and fossil fuels continue damaging the environment. The GOP are pushing for its continued use. Trent Lott a GOP lobbyist now is writing laws now to protect the evil coal and oil men so they won't get jail time when their toxic products finally cause the apocalypse . Very sad group of GOP.
db2 (Phila)
It’s comforting to know that Putin’s in our corner.
Matthew (Nj)
Well, maybe it’s comforting to know he - and his kids - are in the same boat. When the time comes, his progeny will get little extra consideration from the forces of climate change nor the desperate masses fighting tooth and nail for scraps.
Paul Sitz (Ramsey)
@Matthew And it is comforting to know that all those in Russia overwhelmingly supporting Putin because he is Making Russia Great Again are in the same boat.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Paul Sitz Russians "support" Putin because they have to. "trump" loves that. Russia is not great again. It is a mobster-ocracy. "trump" loves that.
Alina Starkov (Philadelphia)
Really disgusting to see authoritarian petrostates team up to destroy the planet. There is no moral excuse for the actions of Trump, Salman, and Putin. Nice to see people waking up with Sunrise and Extinction Rebellion- only youth action can save us from abyss!
D. B. (Swiss Alps)
Climate change denial should be a crime with a serious prison term at minimum. 75% of the world’s population lives in river deltas. Inaction on climate will certainly cause mass death and displacement. The GOP needs to be held to account by any means necessary.
dmdaisy (Clinton, NY)
Absolutely the worst news but hardly unexpected. How ironic to read almost weekly about the heroes working to mitigate climate change--whether through solar powered boats, low carbon emission cement, urban canopy work in Louisville, new land management techniques, electrification of school and public buses--side by side with the venality of a federal government so divorced from reality and so lacking in creativity it is willing to risk the future of its citizens and the planet as a whole.
nytreader888 (Los Angeles)
Trump and his administration bear responsibility for millions of future deaths, and for damaging the world's future economy (which probably would mean more to them).
BTO (Somerset, MA)
Since Trump only cares about putting money in his pocket it makes total sense that his crew would be pushing to stay with fossil fuels. Yes we still have to use them, but we need to make sure that we're burning them cleaner and still moving in the direction of green power. This administration needs to see that with the population of the planet growing and living longer the need for more energy will effect our atmosphere and climate.
Shaun Narine (Fredericton, Canada)
Utterly repulsive. Political leaders who push the advance of carbon-based fuels should be held criminally responsible for their words and actions. I pray that, one day, some of these people will be held accountable for what they are doing now.
Debbie G (NYC)
IMHO there is no greater danger to the globe than man made climate change. Having said that I point out that Scotland, will have entirely green electricity from tidal waves by 2020. I have to ask myself, why not the US? it will be so green and nearly free in a few years, and there was my answer. The fossil fuel industry would rather the planet die than for us to have fee energy. Its all greed. Our destruction will be caused by greed and the sloth. Greed of the fossil fuel industry and its toadies and sloth of the people who failed to demand more from their government. Not religious, but the deadly sins do appear deadly.
PK (New York)
"no country has to sacrifice prosperity for environmental sustainability" unless of course you and your children plan to live on this Earth for the foreseeable future. Maybe this Wells Griffith would like to be the first to try the frozen wastelands of Mars, since he is so drawn to landscape devastation.
Demosthenes (Chicago )
The U.S. under Trump is now a climate science denying rogue regime allied with the most repugnant governments (Russia and Saudi Arabia). Rather than seeking to work to develop renewable sources, the U.S. rather now wants to prevent any consensus development on thwarting global warming. This is pure madness. It’s almost as if the Trump GOP want to blow up the world, rather than prevent catastrophic damage. As an American I can only feel embarrassment for the Trump GOP regime and its danger to the world environment. I hope we can get rid of Trump and the GOP in 2020, and again work with the world.
Matthew (Nj)
They DO - they will tell you this. It’s called “end of days” and many see it as a good thing to hurry it along to be raptured. They are serious about this. Really and truly. Ask them.
Robert M. Koretsky (Portland, OR)
@Matthew Those that believe in absurdities will continue to commit atrocities.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Robert M. Koretsky Indeed. Absolutely. No doubt about it.
Larry Greenfield (New York City)
Now we’re leading a fossil-fuel bloc Convincing others around the clock That burning oil and coal Should become their new goal And not worry it’s worse than hemlock
Steve M (Doylestown, PA)
The United States of America stands with Russia and Saudi Arabia (and Australia???) in favor of fossil fuel burning. The USA stands with Russia and Saudi Arabia in opposition to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The USA stands with Russia and Saudi Arabia in condoning torture, murder and dismemberment of dissidents and journalists. The USA stands with Saudi Arabia by supplying weapons and logistical support for its cruel, unjust war in Yemen. The USA stands with tyrannical autocrats for life in Russia and Saudi Arabia. The USA used to ally itself with paragons of civilization and democracy like France, the UK, Germany, Japan and others. The USA used to lead the world in science and in the rule of law. The USA made a horrendous mistake by allowing the electoral college to choose an immoral ignoramus as president. There is still hope that the rule of law as embodied by the Southern District of New York and the Special Counsel and some right thinking members of Congress will correct that mistake before it is too late.
Andrew (Australia)
@Steve M De Maistre wrote that every country gets the government that it deserves. The USA has Trump and his climate change denialists in charge for several obvious reasons - an archaic electoral college system that favours electors in the smaller states, electoral boundaries ruthlessly gerrymandered by state governments, and apathetic electors who don't vote on election day. I can't claim that Australia's current conservative government is any better than the US as far as its climate change denial goes, but at least we're still in the Paris Agreement, our electoral boundaries are established by an independent commission and voting in Australian elections is compulsory. I am hoping that we will boot out the current government at the forthcoming May 2019 election.
Steve M (Doylestown, PA)
@Andrew Good on ya, mate. And thank you for Margot Robbie.
Indy (Sydney)
Believe that many of us in Australia are ashamed to have a government that is so backward looking and unprogressive and we can't wait to vote them out. And now we share company with Saudi Arabia and Russia...
Cal (Maine)
It is truly humiliating when we are on the same side of an issue as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, opposed to the rest of the world.
JFMACC (Lafayette)
What is becoming clearer every day is that Putin meddled in our elections on behalf of Trump, not so much because of a desire to lift the sanctions, but because he demanded that Trump throw as much of a monkey wrench as he could into laws and movements to address the perils of climate change. Putin's climate puppet.
Martin (London)
What's that adage about judging someone by the company they keep?
Jonathan Swift (midwest)
I'm afraid that we are going to have to look seriously at geo-engineering. I also am afraid that Trump and his Republican minions would award contracts to their business cronies.
The Critic (Earth)
Since the late 70's and early 80's, long before it became popular and trendy, I have been warning family and friends about climate change! The sad reality is that there is no easy solution to this human-caused crisis, not when there is 83,000,000 plus more people each year! Now that the subject is gaining popularity with so many people and politicians, one of the facts as to why people are only giving this 'Lip Service" is becoming apparent. Okay, so people want to post comments condemning the current administration, while expressing concern for the future, then proclaiming their support in stopping this crises. This is great until the cost of saving the world actually hits their pocket book! For example, lets use NYC for this comment. As of 2018, the average rent for an apartment is $3,527 dollars. What do you think the rent will be once cap and trade, including taxes, are implemented on all fossil fuels? Who will be hurt the most by the current proposals... the rich or the majority who live below the US Average Home Income of $62,175 dollars? What do you think will happen to the cost of fuel, food, medicine and how will this affect the 39.7 million people living in poverty? How many more people will be pushed over the brink when fossil energy doubles and triples in price? It is easy to claim one is all for saving the planet... until they have to pay for it. You really think solar or wind is the answer? Better efficiency? Jevons paradox!
Tom (San Diego)
I understand the political pandering to the jobs and voting. I don't understand the investment rationale when there are much better options.
MS (Midwest)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.”
davey385 (Huntington NY)
@MS“The United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground,” Mr. Griffith said. “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” you beat me to it. Wells Griffith will go down in history when the environment is no longer able to sustain life.
Steve (London)
@MS Appalling! Absurd. Beyond frustrating.
Kb (Ca)
@davey385 Where is all that prosperity going to go when nations have to contend with hundreds of billions (trillions?) in costs from severe weather conditions, mass migrations, etc.?
David (California)
Ignoring the impending catastrophic loss of human life and the collapse of vast ecosystems in order to protect vested economic interests is criminal. Yes we need to restructure the global economy, and we'd better get moving because things are only going to get worse.
Matthew (Nj)
You first! Everyone else is watching the constant barrage of xmas SUV/pick-up truck commercials wrapped in huge ribbons thinking “hmmmmm, sounds good!!”
htg (Midwest)
“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” The time for worrying over "economic stability or energy security" is coming to an end. The time for worrying about "environmental sustainability [and food source security]" is rapidly approaching the human race. I will take bountiful harvests over the next iPhone, thank you very much.
Matthew (Nj)
Bountiful harvests REQUIRE economic stability and energy security. Thus we are in a pickle. If you do not have economic stability and energy security you have chaos and violence. Keep in mind we have 7,700,000,000 folks on board the ship, mostly all reliant on the machinery continuing to chug along. Folks react really badly if they have a black out for longer than a day and you think we can jettison energy security as not essential?? incredibly complex, interconnected social structures are not so easy disrupted.
Andre Hoogeveen (Burbank, CA)
Just curious, what does iPhones and Apple have to do with this? Apple is one of the most environmentally conscious companies I’m aware of.
Matthew (New Jersey)
@Andre Hoogeveen Apple succeeded in marketing that to you! Congrats!
EW (Glen Cove, NY)
How much would it cost to buy out the oil barons? It might be cheaper than cleaning up the mess they are making. And if don’t like the price now, it will only get worse as green energies get better and cheaper.
Amber (MA)
I like this idea. What if some of those insanely rich silicon valley billionaires bought these fossil fuel companies and established a plan to wind down fossil fuel use and replace it with renewables? Exchange those heinous piles of gold for lasting glory.
Cal (Maine)
@EW Paying the would be coal miners a pension if they promise not to work as coal miners?
Max Deitenbeck (East Texas)
@EW Your heart may be in the right place, but the answer is "too much." You have to pay off the shareholders, the employees, the contractors, the executives, etc. Not to mention you have to help all those people find jobs and, if you want this to happen with any alacrity, you must help all fossil fuel dependent industries retool. Then, you need to help people all over the world get replacement vehicles for their gas burning vehicles. Again, your heart is in the right place. I would love to see the fossil fuel industry go away quickly, but your idea would not work.
Phillip Stephen Pino (Portland, Oregon)
I truly fear for the future safety of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the owners, board members and executives of the oil, natural gas, coal and pipeline companies and their sponsored political “leaders.” As living conditions on our planet become unbearable due to the severe, relentless impacts of Climate Change, generations of devastated citizens around the world will ask: “Who is most directly responsible for this existential catastrophe?” When these citizens look around, they will find many of the culpable carbon barons and carbon-sponsored politicians have already passed on to whatever afterlife awaits them. But the direct descendants of the carbon barons and the carbon-sponsored politicians will still be here. And there will be no escape – not even behind their gated communities – from the wrath of billions of incensed citizens on every continent. For the carbon barons, it all comes down to one essential choice to be made right now: harvest their carbon assets and sacrifice their descendants – or – strand their carbon assets and save their descendants? For the carbon-sponsored politicians, it also comes down to one essential choice to be made right now: continue to dither on Climate Change legislation and sacrifice their descendants – or – pass sweeping and meaningful Climate Change mitigation legislation and save their descendants? The time on the clock is quickly running out...
Matthew (Nj)
Well, if it’s any consolation, there won’t be that many to ponder their fate, and likely those few will be struggling with basic subsistence such that they wouldn’t have the time to sit in reflection anyway.
j (montana)
so you see the meek surely do inherit the earth.
Majortrout (Montreal)
I don't believe anything that trump does is in the interest of the People of the United States or for mankind. He is rotten to the core and subserves himself to those 1% who funded his election!
Barry Fogel (Lexington, MA)
@Majortrout A FRACTION of 1%. Most Americans with wealth, education, and class voted for Hillary Clinton, preferring to pay a bit more in taxes and have a qualified President. No one I know in the 1% here in Massachusetts feels like a winner because Trump is in the White House.
Brian (New York, NY)
Why did the organizers of this conference even invite the US? It's a lost cause at least until Trump is out office, whenever that may be. Instead, they should invite the loose coalition of US mayors, governors and other leaders who want to take positive steps on the environment and climate change. In the meantime, the US Federal Government is a rogue actor on the international stage, enjoying the company of Russia and Saudi Arabia (and now, it appears, Australia).
Alan Harvey (Scotland)
You’re correct that Mr Trump and many of his policies have no great following outside his own comfort zone voters. But there is another factor... We in Europe don’t see you as Republicans or Democrats, that only occurs inside America. We want you at that table because it’s a critical issue certainly, but more so because you USA are a valued and historical ally and friend. I pay respects every year by leaving flowers at the site of a USAF Liberator which sadly crashed just after WW2, it’s a difficult place to climb to especially as I get older. But the point is the young American man lost never asked about UK political persuasions, they saw beyond that. I feel so must the rest of the world now, we must see beyond bipartisanship and fake news, you’re our pal... we want you there. But equally we want you to honour promises made in such an important subject as climate change.
James F Traynor (Punta Gorda, FL)
@Brian "...until Trump is out office, whenever that may be. " And when will it be that it is not Trump but the Republican Party that is the cause of all this. It has become, clearly, a treasonous orginisation as is amply illustrated by its bahaviour in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan, as well as Trump and his family's connection to Russia. What makes you think that Trump will leave if he is not re-elected ? He has his armed base, the police, probably the Pentagon and above all the GOP behind him. Wake up, it may already be too late!
Michael Hogan (Georges Mills, NH)
I’ve never been so ashamed of the leadership of my country. Even Richard Nixon understood that the non-negotiable foundation of long-term prosperity is a healthy ecosystem. We are now represented by the lowest form of humanity.
Ed Kerry (San Francisco)
@Michael Hogan I so agree with you. Why is every step this president and his administration take worse for our nation and the planet than the last? I am so sick and tired of this utterly mindless and money-grubbing regime that I barely have the words to describe our current nightmare.
Matthew (Nj)
Except I don’t think “he” qualifies as a member of humanity.