Archive for the ‘Global warming’ category

Call Me Cynical

March 2, 2017

President Trump has announced his intentions to increase Defense spending by $50 billion, an increase “badly needed” according to the President. Hmmm.

The President’s story gets a little cloudy when he says he can pay for this budget increase by shifting money from the State Department and the EPA. This proposed slight of hand is necessary because (1) President Trump and most Republicans want to cut taxes, (2) the President wants to launch a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure plan, and (3) there is the inconvenient law restricting what increases in spending are possible (sequestration). Do we hear the deficit increasing on the GOP’s watch?

President Trump has proclaimed that part of making America Great Again is “rebuilding” the military, woefully underfunded, the President says. Hmmm. The Defense budget weighs in at slightly under $600 billion, more than all other countries combined. An increase of $50 billion or 8% could procure some more airplanes and ships, or could be used to outfit more sailors or troops. But for what purpose?

The Presidents suggestion of taking money from the State Department is laughable unless there were to be across the board reductions in Federal Government spending. But even the act of decreasing Defense and State Department budgets begs the central question, what is to be the over arching US foreign policy?

Many observers have had their fill of the notion that the US is world’s policeman. And to be sure, the US policies in Afghanistan and Iraq have been poorly thought through and to date, failures. But policeman and deterrent can be two different situations. A deterrent if effective can keep other nations from aspiring to enforce their wills on other nations, for example Russia, China, or Iran. Does the President or his advisors really think that buying more planes, ships, and tanks will be sufficient for him to “bluff” other countries into following America’s wishes?  And what will happen if the President’s bluff doesn’t work?

Beefing up the military is a nice sop for his nationalistic followers, especially those who have never worn a military uniform (like the President). More Defense spending will also please a lot of Defense Contractor CEOs. Hmmm.

Taking the money from State Department and the EPA, however, may reflect other motives. Weakening the State Department could (and most likely would) make implementing US foreign policy dependent upon military action. A self fulfilling prophecy so to speak.  Will President Trump be a war President?  Neoconservative rhetoric can be infectious until implemented, then if becomes deadly for the sons and daughters of other Americans.

It is the EPA donation may shine more light on an underlying and even more sinister motive. Which sounds more responsible to you, (1) cutting the EPA budget purposely so the EPA will become resource starved and cannot continue key programs like enforcement of clean air and water regulations or those related to global warming, or (2) cutting the EPA to fund serious national security concerns, and oh yes, unfortunately with a restricted budget the EPA simply cannot do as much as before?


Environmental Catch 22

August 31, 2015

President Obama will visit Alaska and plans to announce a change back from the Mount McKinley name to its original Indian name, Denali. He will use the trip also to emphasize the threat global warming presents and the need for the world to take it seriously. The President’s actions are understandable given the science, the melting glaciers, and that President Obama is in his last months in office.

Environmental groups are calling the Obama Administration “hypocritical”. How can the Administration be for the environment and still give Shell the go ahead for Arctic oil drilling?

For sure the Obama Administration wants it both ways. The Administration seeks to get kudos from environmentalists and yet also see the need for energy and satisfy economic realities with jobs associated with drilling. It does seem a bit odd that the Keystone pipeline has languished for so long even though it involves no new drilling. Building the pipeline will not increase the supply of oil but rather change where it is refined. Why the big deal with Alaska?

Environmentalists are loath to admit global warming is a far bigger and more complicated problem than just Alaska or the US, or other developed countries. China and India are moving towards the spots of #1 and #2 polluter and with their combined 2 1/2 billion people, they will draft the output of US’ 340 million. Getting a handle on global warming is much more involved than drilling in Alaska.

Environmentalist point out that unless the developed world presents an example, the rest of the world will not follow. Hmmm.

Reducing fossil fuel consumption must involved decreasing the world’s dependence upon most carbon energy sources. Wind, ocean, thermal, solar, along with hybrid systems all lie on the path to lower demand for fossil fuels and subsequently reduced global warming. Environmentalist might consider advocating for non-fossil or significantly reduced fossil fuel alternative energy sources.

Both political parties could take a message from this controversy too. The path away from fossil fuels is not clear and is expected to be costly (at least initially). Political parties, who either denying global warming, or approve new oil exploration while embracing global warming dangers is sending a very mixed message to voters.

The unintended message is that politicians cannot be trusted to see right from wrong, and cannot be expected to advocate innovative solutions to tough problems.  Voters may see non-traditional elected officials as just as good as the current crowd.

What say Ben Carson, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump?