Poor little Tommy. He’s gone delusional… In “Donald Trump, Help Heal the Planet’s Climate Change Problem” he whines “Sir, please revisit your claim that it’s all a hoax.” I guess he hasn’t heard that a premier climate change denier, Myron Ebell, is being bandied about as head of the EPA. In “Obama in Trumpland” Mr. Bruni asks us to behold the president’s wishful bid to tame the president-elect. Here’s TMOW:
Dear President-elect Trump:
Well, you won. You were not my choice, but you’re soon going to be my president. I have no intention of forgetting or forgiving the abhorrent things you said and did during the campaign. They hurt real people, debased our political process and erased social norms vital for keeping our diverse society together. I am not done resisting all that just because you won.
However, I’m not going to spend every day hoping you fail. Too much is at stake. Since you’re clearly rethinking some of your extreme campaign promises, the right response for me is principled engagement. So let’s start now: Please revisit your claim that climate change is a hoax.
Nothing would get the attention of your opponents more than if you declared your intent to take a fresh look at the climate issue. It would force many of them to give you a second look — and virtually none of your supporters would care, because few voted for you on this issue and they all know that their kids understand the climate is changing and would be heartened if you did, too.
Speaking of kids, Mr. Trump, yours run your golf course business. Surely they’ve mentioned that Doral will be your first course threatened by global warming, because parts of Miami are already flooding due to sea-level rise from melting ice. According to The Real Deal, which covers South Florida real estate news, “Parts of Miami Beach could be inundated with floodwaters in as little as 15 years.” That would make your oceanside courses into ocean-floor courses.
This is no hoax. The U.S. just experienced its third-warmest October on record, and, as The Washington Post noted on Thursday, “North America’s most astonishing warmth this week has focused in Canada, where temperatures have been up to 30 degrees warmer than normal.” That’s unprecedented.
When you visit the Pentagon, ask the generals about climate change. Here’s what they’ll tell you: A majority of immigrants flooding Europe today are not coming from Syria or Iraq. Three-quarters are from arid zones in central Africa, where the combination of climate change and runaway population growth are making small-scale farming unsustainable.
Last April, as part of a National Geographic Channel documentary, I followed a group of these refugees from Senegal through Niger on their way to Libya and Europe. Thousands make this trek every month. The same thing will happen in our hemisphere — and no wall will keep them back. You can’t ignore climate change and think you have an immigration policy.
At the same time, please understand, if you appoint a climate-change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency and walk America away from the Paris accord, which committed 190 countries to reduce their emissions of the carbon dioxide pollutants that warm the planet, you will trigger a ferocious reaction by young people in America and across Europe. The backlash in Europe will totally undermine your ability to lead the Western alliance.
And as the climate physicist Joe Romm put it to me, do you really want to risk “going down in history as the man who killed the world’s last, best chance to avoid catastrophic warming”?
There is a better way — for you. You can frame the entire shift in your position in terms of free-market economics.
Hal Harvey, who advises major companies on climate and energy policy, notes that thanks to technological advances, “the cost of solar energy has dropped more than 80 percent since 2008, wind costs dropped more than 50 percent since 2008, battery costs dropped more than 70 percent since 2008, and LED lighting costs dropped more than 90 percent since 2008. As a result, a clean future now costs less than a dirty one.”
Today, from California to Mexico to the Middle East, solar and wind prices are as low as 3 cents a kilowatt-hour. Added Harvey: “That compares to about 6 cents for a new natural gas power plant, and double that for new coal. And remember: Commodity costs — coal, oil, gas — fluctuate, but technology costs — wind, solar, LEDs — follow irreversible trends downward, and so when a new technology crosses the cost line with an old commodity, it’s goodbye to the old commodity for good.”
Have you seen the pictures from New Delhi and Beijing lately? People there can’t breathe, owing to the pollution from burning crops and fossil fuels. So what are the Indians doing? They’re curbing the burning of crops, the use of diesel cars, and they just shut down the coal-based Badarpur power plant. They have to find alternatives to fossil fuels. So they’re investing heavily in clean tech.
Is your strategy to keep America addicted to coal and scuttle our lead in clean tech — which is destined to become the next great global export industry and is already spawning good blue-collar jobs — so we can import clean energy systems from India and China?
Mr. Trump, you won Florida, but do you know who lost there besides Hillary? Old-line utilities. They spent over $20 million pushing a referendum intended to curb the growth of solar energy in the state.
So Floridians said “yes” to Trump, “yes” to solar energy and “no” to those who wanted to stop both. There is a message for you in that bottle.
Tell it to Myron Ebell. Now here’s Mr. Bruni:
If Election Day seemed to be a dream (or, rather, nightmare) devoid of logic, the week since has done little to render the world more coherent.
Donald Trump, exulting in his big win, addressed the question of The Wall. You know, the central pledge of his candidacy, reiterated at every rally. A mighty barrier between the United States and Mexico that only he was potent enough to erect.
And what did he have to say?
That it might be a mere fence in spots.
A fence! Just three days after his victory, he was downscaling, backtracking. At this rate, he’ll be talking at his inauguration about a glorious hedge along the border. By April it’ll be flowering shrubs, with blossoms that spell out “Welcome to America.” And by June? Some sort of new Christo installation, maybe the world’s largest-ever topiary display.
As for Obamacare, it’s apparently not so awful after all. Trump said he liked the part that lets kids stay on their parents’ insurance plans, which is, if you think about it, sort of what Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric have been doing all along. He also liked the part that prevents insurers from disqualifying people for pre-existing conditions.
My hunch? If some crafty Democrat drafts legislation to keep the Affordable Care Act as is but rechristen it Trumpcare, he’ll sign the bill in a nanosecond. He’s a man in thrall to ego, not policy.
President Obama is betting on that. He’s suddenly professing faith in Trump — or, rather, playing a fascinating mind game in which he endeavors to save his legacy by complimenting Trump into compliance.
That was some through-the-looking-glass news conference on Monday, when Obama, who had previously warned that Trump was all four horsemen of the apocalypse rolled into one shocking jockey, spoke of Trump’s “gifts” and how “gregarious” he could be.
“I don’t think he is ideological,” Obama said. “Ultimately, he is pragmatic.” From your lips, Mr. President, to God’s ear.
He said that their initial meeting had gone so well that he could, on this last foreign trip of his presidency, allay our allies’ anxieties.
Never mind that Trump and Vladimir Putin were already whispering sweet nothings to each other over the phone. (“You’re the man.” “No, you’re the man.”) Or that Steve Bannon was en route to the West Wing.
Perhaps the Bannon appointment didn’t sink in fully until Tuesday, when Obama, in Greece, had chillier words of warning about the direction in which a Trump administration might — but mustn’t — turn.
“We are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism,” he said. That’s hardly the extent of the vigil. Trump is reportedly seeking security clearances for his children, who will be running his business, and a former State Department official watching an increasingly messy transition process took to Twitter to warn other Republicans to “stay away” from Trump’s “angry, arrogant” team.
Obama is partly trying to save face after Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss. In the weeks before the election, he implored Americans: Honor me by choosing her. Not enough of them did, and at Monday’s news conference, he seemed to steal a page from Trump’s playbook and take issue with her stamina.
He never said her name but noted, pointedly, how he had trudged through “every small town and fair and fish fry” in Iowa, a state that he won in 2008 and 2012 and that she, with less trudging, lost.
He also repeatedly recited a litany of yardsticks by which he was leaving the country in fantastic fettle. Was he reassuring us — or himself?
From his electrifying address at the 2004 Democratic convention through his stirring 2008 presidential campaign, he spoke of transcending blue and red, uniting black and white, healing.
And here we are. It has to gall him. It definitely gives him incentive to use whatever psychological jujitsu necessary to nudge and manipulate Trump. He doesn’t want historians to write that he opened the door to a monster. So he’s pressing for a sunnier tale: the monster defanged, the nation safe and sound.
And he’s a patriot, always has been, which is what’s so rich here. Trump bangs on about putting America first, when he really puts himself before all else. That shriveled, unhinged hood ornament of his, Rudy Giuliani, is on the record questioning Obama’s love for America.
But Obama loves this country enough to summon the same grace for his successor that other presidents did for theirs, though his is a nasty, juvenile breed apart.
And he loves this country enough to try to calm it when it most needs calming, even if that means a willed optimism about Trump that’s oh so difficult to share.