"And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds..."
|Emily J Gertz||Sep 4, 2019|
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When it comes to international action on climate change, Politico reports that “…when Trump skipped a climate change session at the G-7 summit last weekend, other world leaders said they were better off without him. ‘We know his position…and at the G-7 we did not have [an] objective to convince him to return,’ French President Emmanuel Macron said of Trump.”
In other words, the USA under Trump has become the global equivalent of that one Fox News-loving relative everyone tries to avoid mentioning climate change to during Thanksgiving dinner.
The G-7 was awkward, but in three weeks the chasm between Trumpist climate denial and the rest of the world will be even more stark, when the United Nations holds a one-day climate summit on Sept. 23 as part of its annual two-week General Assembly of member nations.
“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is trying to head off Trump’s dampening effect,” according to Politico. “He has met with officials from several G-20 countries to encourage new, bold commitments beyond those made when crafting the 2015 Paris climate accord in exchange for giving them a plum speaking spot at the U.N. climate summit.”
If Guterres pulls this off, it will (in terms of UN diplomatic rituals) be quite a spectacle. But I believe the Trump administration’s true foil at these meetings won’t be United Nations diplomats or other nation-state officials. It will Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist, whose blunt denunciations of the world’s slow pace on climate action have galvanized children worldwide to march, strike, and organize for their futures.
Thunberg arrived in New York last week after a two-week Atlantic crossing in a sleek engineless sailboat named Malizia, with the slogan “Unite Behind the Science” printed on one sail. A couple days before the UN climate summit, “Thunberg is expected to participate in a daylong Youth Climate Summit attended by between 600 and 700 people mainly aged 18 to 28 from around the world,” reports NBC 4 New York.
Thunberg’s charisma and determination have hit some thin-skinned climate deniers hard, moving these adult men and women to publicly insult and demean a teenager.
It is, sadly, easy to imagine that Trump will follow their example, as Thunberg’s presence and appearance in the US begin attracting more attention.
Maxime Bernier @MaximeBernierDelusion, manipulation, irrationality, hypocrisy. Get ready for media frenzy and mass hysteria as climate alarmist cult saint @GretaThunberg brings her apocalyptic message to US and Canada. https://t.co/1XsuBzxJdg
* These gatherings are not to be confused with the annual United Nations climate change conference: the two-week meeting held annually in November or December, where negotiators from every nation, along with scores of activists and industry representatives, report on and spar over promises made under the Paris climate treaty. This year, that’s happening from December 2 to 13 in Santiago, Chile.)
Greta Thunberg has gotten right to work. On Friday, “Thunberg was joined by swelling and excited crowds of American teenagers at a protest outside the UN headquarters in New York,” reports The Guardian, “in a further blossoming of the youth environment movement given extra thrust by the Swede’s transatlantic boat crossing.”
UN chief António Guterres apparently remains optimistic about the US returning to rational national climate policies sooner rather than later, because so many sub-federal governments as well as businesses are bucking Trump’s climate rollbacks.
“I think what is important is … if you look at the U.S. society, you see states, you see cities [and] you see businesses that are leading in relation to climate action. It’s not only governments that matter,” Guterres told reporters, according to Fox Business. “It’s the capacity of civil society, the business community and local authorities that will determine the level of emissions and the contribution of the country to the climate action. And so I am very optimistic about the American society and its capacity to deliver in relation to climate action.”
Are seven STRAIGHT hours of TV on climate change policy and politics an outright great thing?
We’re going to find out, because that’s how CNN has opted to program it’s “climate crisis town hall” for the top 10 (gah) Democratic presidential hopefuls, on Wednesday Sept. 3, from 5 p.m. to about midnight ET. CNN’s standard crew of prime time news talkers will be interviewing one candidate after another, joined by only one dedicated climate reporter.
The more I think about it, the downsides of this marathon format are probably less potent that I imagine. In this era of TV on demand, we’ll be able to snack on the different segments at will — assuming CNN makes the tape available afterwards.
It certainly is interesting that CNN (which has only erratically covered climate change, or any other environment topic, since disbanding its science reporting team 11 years ago) is putting this on in an elaborately choreographed format that presumably won’t be sidelined by other news events.
While I’m clearly reserving judgement on CNN’s programming decisions here, I rate it great that climate change is taking over a major American cable TV news outlet in prime time.
Effectively, this will be seven hours of prime time exposure of Trump’s regressive and dangerous climate and environmental rollbacks.
Thanks for reading (de)regulation nation, a production of Brooklyn Radio Telegraph LLC.
This newsletter is written by me, Emily J Gertz. I’m a veteran environmental journalist. You’ll find links to my other work at my website .
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This week’s quote is by David Bowie, from his song “Changes”:
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through