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How to Save the Planet From President Trump


How to Save the Planet From President Trump

Bill McKibben

We’re going to be dealing with an onslaught of daily emergencies during the Trump years. Already it’s begun — if there’s nothing going on (or in some cases when there is), our leader often begins the day with a tweet to stir the pot, and suddenly we’re debating whether burning the flag should lose you your citizenship.


While I applaud Bill McKibben’s efforts to educate people about human induced climate catastrophe he does a disservice to the biosphere by ignoring the obvious of how we got to this point: unbridled greed, capitalism, empire which has been promoted by both parties-------a duopoly that is morphing into inverted totalitarianism whose lifeblood is oligarchy. This isn’t just about pathological Trump and his followers.

Where are the Clinton’s today? What are they doing? Are they joining forces to fight DAPL? Where the hell is Bill with his bullhorn now?

This is, of course, a rhetorical question.

And let us not forget the legacy of Obama:

“This unprecedented backing of oil, coal and gas projects is an unexpected footnote to Obama’s own climate change legacy. The president has called global warming “terrifying” and helped broker the world’s first proper agreement to tackle it, yet his administration has poured money into developments that will push the planet even closer to climate disaster.”

I highly recommend this interview with Cornell West yesterday----his ability to encapsulate the issues we face today and how we got here is----as always----brilliant and inspiring:


I live in blue state, Minnesota, but out here in the sticks only 1/3 voted for Clinton (and virtually zero for Stein). My neighbors don't want to hear about paying more for electricity or fuel.


It would be a mistake to allow Trump to be a distraction from all the other obstacles to sufficient action such as many of the 30 or so Republican governors who are impeding progress. The states play a big role in electricity generation, much more than the federal government does. And since it is a global problem we can't forget all the other countries. Recent reports that coal burning is increasing in China is extremely concerning and may be much more significant that anything negative Trump can do. Trump specializes in being outrageous which attracts attention but we can't forget that many dull technocrats out there can also cause problems when it comes to fighting climate change.


A campaign of two utopias. Two impossible places. The utopia of globalization - the continuation of the colonial take over of the world, and the return to the past. Hillary was with the money and the corporations with its utopia of globalization and Trump was able to sell the good old days when America was great.

Thomas Frank's important book within the last year, "Listen Liberal: Or, whatever happened to the party of the people" educated many of us about the evil deeds done in Bill Clinton's presidency. When it was going on, the Republican smoke hid what was actually done to trash the New Deal. In an excerpt from his book in Salon.com, Frank points out that for the Clinton's in the 1990's, Globalization played the role that God plays for people. Globalization was an unstoppable force, so one just got with the flow to help it along. That article quotes Hillary during that time saying that we will have to attack our friends to bring globalization about. Thus, Bill Clinton, attacked the New Deal successfully. We might not have learned all this if Hillary had not been the candidate. There is much more to that story.

But the big deal, the biggest deal in the history of us earthbounds, is that the new Climate Regime has exceeded the bounds of our countries, politics, science, and will force massive change for billions of people. The politics of the past is trying to survive, and institutions like science are essential, along with a common world for people.

One really important thinker who has been working on this for decades is the Frenchman Bruno Latour. Here is a short article he wrote right after the election. In Europe they write dates with month first then the day, so he mentions the tragedy of 8/11, that is the date of the election of Trump.

How not to be too mistaken about Trump -translation of an oped in Le Monde

The question is now whether the tragedy of the 8.11, following after the Brexit one, can help us avoid what happens next. Can we get away from both utopias, that of the global just as well as that of the return to an old soil? For this we should attempt to land on a slightly more solid, realist and durable earth. For the moment unfortunately the ecological crisis is the elephant in the room and we act as if nothing was happening, as if the choice was either to bravely keep going forward to the future, or to hold on to the past. Trump and his followers even chose to deny the very existence of such crisis.

In addition, here is a 40 minute speech he gave on the past (Land), future (globe) and the new path that needs to be constructed Earth Gaia)

Bruno Latour: Why Gaia is not the Globe

There is much more to his work which links to art, science studies, politics, sociology, anthropology, religion, digital humanities, etc. One of the most important parts of his work is showing that the frame of modernity cannot grapple with the New Climate Regime. The major player in politics is the climate. In other works he shows how distinctions like: Nature vs Culture, Subjectivity vs Objectify Fact vs value, reinforce the status quo. In fact, the debate between climate scientists and climate deniers is a non debate, but because it is contained in the modernist frame, it cannot be settled. The inability of the environmental movement to move to a radically new metaphysics has held back their efforts.


"Radically new metaphysics" not "in the modernist frame" will go nowhere in my lifetime. 99% of the people do not want to hear about it. Incrementalism is our only hope to mitigate the coming disaster. Bill Clinton and all of our Presidents did things that I would consider bad choices or even horrible choices. Leftists don't seem to understand that globalization is here to stay (at least until climate change truly ruins most everything). Globalization is not a bad thing if set up in a proper framework. Yes, that is very difficult to accomplish.


When one of his projects was funded by the EU a few years ago they said it was impossible. But they also said that it was the most important project that they could think of so they funded it.

This is happening outside philosophy departments for the most part. Other disciplines are getting on board.

Once you get into it, it changes how you see the world and what is possible. Something like this has a good probabality of happening some time. Not sure if it can happen rapidly enought.

It needs some like Bill McKibben or Naomi Klein or others to get with it and work through it in a more user friendly form. Naomi would be a good one to do it after all the work she did on the climate and capitalism in her last book: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. I wrote yesterday to a staff member on 350.org but have not heard back yet.


At this time it's just a dream and I think it will remain that way for a long time. However, I am truly glad that there are dreamers.


Get out and tell them the they don;'t have to. Get solar panels on your roof and in a few years your electricity is FREE.


Thank you Bill McKibben, for all of your hard work. It is a steep climb but we will be with you and do what we can. As you pointed out, climate disruption is upon us now, my hope is that they will be involved in as disaster that will open their eyes. Yes, I know it's crazy but what else is there? You can see the disasters all around the country, one is coming their way too. Those that can't hear must feel.


My goodness, we are so screwed. I think we are in a thermal runaway which is going to kill off most species like the ones we depend on for food. CD had a Military article the other day where Generals and military analysts were saying they think we will see 20 million climate refugees in short order.

If we shut off all the coal, according to some scientists, in a few days all the coal dust will fall out of the atmosphere and give us an immediate 3-4 global degrees temp rise since they think that coal dust is reflects long-wavelength light. Four degrees probably kills off all the Wheat supply, since that is a global average, but temps are higher at higher latitudes.

If we don't shut off the coal, temps creep up anyway. It's a real catch-22 situation.

Here in the tropics it's 94 degrees again day after day. I never saw that happen last century. It was always in the 80's. I'm not looking forward to the next rainy season. Greenland is a melting ice cube combined with expanding water at hotter SST's (Sea Surface Temperatures) according to the Weather Underground.

Not good for those of us on rivers that hook to the sea. Sea level rise is now probably about a half inch/year according to some calcs showing .4 inch/yr. It appears that in the geologic past, sea level rise happened all at once on several occasions.

These things are happening at such an alarming rate that absolutely nobody predicted. We need to shut off the 440 nuclear power plants before they flood and turn into additional Fukushima disasters. It takes ten years or so to decommission them, so we better make a move right now to avoid deadly global fallout.


I have never heard that stopping burning coal will increase the earth's atmospheric temperatures 3-4 degrees (F?). You really need to cite some references for this kind of statement. I have heard of the cooling effects of various aerosols but the subject appears to be more complicated than how you present it. See




I know. It's counter-intuitive. I'm not claiming it's true. Just that some scientists say that is what they believe. Dr. Guy Mcpherson, an expert in extinction, is the source:


Yes, so instead of pushing for progress moving forward from the insufficient progress of the Obama and Hillary administration, we will instead be fighting to merely preserve what little progress was made.

And you do know that really serious action on global warming will mean $10.00 per gallon gasoline. I'm willing to pay this (I already use very little gasoline) will you?


Very little particulates are emitted from any modern-day coal power plants - so no, there are no longer many particulates to offset the CO2 emissions.


Monkes Tale is a upper Midwest farmer - soybeans and corn. Can he run his tractors and combines on solar panels?


Probably not. But I would suggest that he move away from corn and soybeans to a more biodiverse type of farming which may not need tractors.


RRRrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhht, Yunzer.

Burning Coal doesn't produce smoke. Now I've heard everything!

Study these coal particulate maps to see the fallout of coal dust in the USA. It appears to be quite extensive.


I looked up elevation of White House with Google and it says 95 feet. But I was also looking at some topographic maps and it looks more like the 50 foot mark is just circling the WH. So how long before they get it? 50 feet ain't that much. Of course, I guess Trump can just abscond to his Trump Tower and continue to rule from there.


Indian and Chinese smog are keeping us cool. 40% of Indian smog is from cooking fires and Chinese smog is probably from cars and coal. Having seen Chinese smog in northwestern Vietnam, where it hides one side of a valley from the other in what is agricultural country with no cars, all I can say......well....I dunno, but it is all as bad as was the UK in the good old days before the Clean Air Act of the early 1960s. Just to cheer you up, there are another 60 power plants being built or planned. So when the waves start migrating inshore and human society starts to implode, as it will...........oh dammit, I'll be in Antarctica growing bananas and coconuts, so who cares!

All this talk about possibly doing something to kind of sort of stop whatever is total bullshit. We are there, NOW. And the results are coming at us like a growing tsunami. However, the world has survived far worse than us, and after all, global temperatures (and atmospheric CO2 content) have been much higher for longer and life and dinosaurs stayed happy.