Saturday, July 08, 2017

America Versus the Civilized World

The G20 is now the G19 Plus One. The One, of course, is Trumpland. The 19 constitute the civilized world, the rest of the planet that understands that climate change is a truly existential and urgent threat to our global civilization.

The final communique of the G20 Hamburg summit is said to spell that out. Trump, whose country remains second only to China in total greenhouse gas emissions, has abandoned the Paris climate accord commitment to slash emissions.

Some of us want our grandchildren to have as liveable a world as still possible. The hard reality is that Donald Trump, his government and the majority of America's Congress don't stand with us. It's time we recognized that awful truth and acted accordingly.

As for Canada, prime minister "do as I say, not as I do" Trudeau is firmly aboard with cutting greenhouse gas emissions so long as it's the provinces and municipalities doing the heavy lifting his government won't. His solemn resolve is, however, so very soothing.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Justin bombed the Deutschers with this howler:

My predecessor Stephen Harper did not care much for the fight against climate change. For 10 years under that government, what we saw was tremendous leadership from our provinces, from our cities, from our big companies -- despite the federal government at the time.

See, it's all Sideshow Steve's fault. He left the heavy lifting to the provinces and municipalities. No, Justin cares very much for the fight against climate change - right up to the point of doing anything about it. Birds of a feather.

One other thing. The next time someone asks if you believe that climate change is real, say "Hell no." Climate change is not a belief-based construct. Science is evidentiary in nature. Religion, ideology, economics - those are all belief based. That's why they're so widespread and diverse and constantly shifting. I believe this, you believe that, he believes something else altogether. Tomorrow or next year or in a decade or two we may believe something quite different.

The denialist side has very skilfully turned climate change into a difference of beliefs. That's because their position is not evidentiary. It is belief based, plain and simple. And the best way to advance their position against ours is to make ours belief-based also. That's how they degrade and undermine the scientific case - make it all about belief.

You don't believe the sun will rise in the morning. You know it will. You don't believe the wing on your jetliner will generate lift to get you off the ground and on the way to your destination. You know it will. Science does not give you belief. It gives you something way more valuable. It gives you knowledge.


Toby said...

Mound, your paragraphs on belief versus science nails it.

Anonymous said... first reaction is: " Thank heavens we don't have a PM like Trump"

crf said...

This is very bad by Justin. In my opinion, you just shouldn't call out your political predecessors by name on the international stage. These were Canada's failures, not Harper's.

Also, Trudeau is wrong: Canada's climate failures (like the United State's, like Germany's, like Denmark's, etc) has been a decades-long multi-partisan affair.

The Mound of Sound said...

Chris, there's no argument on your points. Throughout that interview Trudeau was diplomatic, circumspect. Then, when the pipeline issue comes up, he replies with a gratuitous and misleading criticism of Harper. While Harper did next to nothing - like Chretien and Trudeau himself so far - he also paid lip service to the issue, again like Chretien and Trudeau himself. And, yes, it was bad form.