Trump's Victory—A Disaster for the Environment Requiring Massive Resistance

November 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Without Donald Trump in power, the world was already experiencing a growing environmental emergency that is relentlessly driven forward by the competitive predations of global capitalism. But now, Trump’s victory threatens to kick the destruction of the planet into overdrive. This is an extremely dangerous situation, and another important part of the overall need to stop this entire fascist program in its tracks before it can be fully implemented.

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2016 is on track to break high-temperature records for the third straight year. Just last week a new study in the magazine Science Advances said if the world keeps burning fossil fuels as it is, global temperatures could rise twice as high this century as previously predicted. A press release for the study says this would mean pushing “Earth’s climate out of the envelope of temperature conditions that have prevailed for the last 784,000 years.” Leading climate scientist Michael Mann commented that this study “does indeed provide support for the notion that a Donald Trump presidency could be game over for the climate.”

Trump has said he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris international climate accords. He intends to kill off Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” which would have made modest cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. He has repeatedly stated he would lift environmental protections restricting oil and natural gas drilling, open up public lands to energy extraction, kick-start coal mining, and reverse Obama’s decision against the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump would certainly try to lift any restrictions on the Dakota Access Pipeline—now under international focus because of the righteous struggle at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North/South Dakota. Trump reportedly has personal financial interests in this pipeline.

He threatened to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, then backtracked to say that he would “refocus” it on ensuring “clean water.” This is a complete joke. Ripping away environmental protections and allowing unfettered energy production will mean more massive and frequent pipeline ruptures, oil spills, train disasters, gas leaks, poisoning of people’s water supplies, and a greatly worsening climate disaster.

Environmental destruction—which has continued and grown worse under Obama—will be vastly accelerated by a fascist Trump regime. Obama and the section of the ruling class around him intended to maintain U.S. global competitiveness and top-dog position in the world while making certain very limited moves to try to “manage” climate change, a crisis actually unmanageable under capitalism. Obama vastly expanded U.S. oil and gas production, pipeline development, and corresponding environmental devastation, all while trying to cast himself as “the environmental president.” But Trump and those huge capitalist interests who stand to gain the most intend to do away with any limits on their ability to gorge themselves on the resources of the Earth, with no publicly spoken “niceties” about protecting it needed.

Trump has said climate change is a “hoax” perpetrated by China to undermine U.S. global competitiveness. Trump claims “there is no drought” in California and all that needs to be done is to “start opening up the water.” Apparently he is not aware of how huge natural reservoirs like Lake Mead are emptying. Denying the reality of droughts, rising seas, melting ice caps and glaciers, temperatures continually breaking records year after year, increasingly destructive storms and all the coming disaster climate changes mean for humanity, makes Trump appear a ridiculous ignoramus. But his denial of reality and of science and his disdain for the truth is a dangerous part of this whole fascist package. And the denial of the emergency already smacking humanity in the face also makes him and his “team” an extremely deadly force that will mean cementing humanity to catastrophe if they get away with it.


Lest anyone be grabbing onto the illusion that, well, maybe he was just saying these things during the campaign and won’t be so bad when he becomes president—Trump has already made it abundantly clear he intends to do exactly as he has threatened. Trump appointed Myron Ebell, a climate change denier and coal industry tool, to head up the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency! Trump is preparing to turn over the reins of managing public lands and protection of the air, water, and wilderness to a conglomeration of capitalist energy company hacks and anti-scientific know-nothings—like Sarah Palin, Ebell, and Mike McKenna, an energy lobbyist with ties to the American Energy Alliance, a group representing leading U.S. capitalist energy interests.

And TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, has announced it will meet with Trump officials this week to discuss reviving this environmental disaster.

This horrible rape of the environment Trump intends, and the danger it means, must be combatted and resisted now and at every step. The struggle to stand with Standing Rock and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline has become a key struggle that has gained support across the U.S. and internationally. Tens of thousands have actively joined with it in national days of action. This key struggle against the continuing genocide of Native American people and against environmental destruction takes on even more importance in light of Trump’s coming to power.

It’s important that many environmental groups have called out Trump’s plans in sharp terms and vowed to not allow them to be implemented. This should be united with. The struggles to defend the environment can, and need to, be joined with preventing this fascist from implementing his power, his whole fascist program assaulting women, Black people, immigrants, Muslims, and all of humanity. But this struggle can’t be limited to trying to preserve the status quo or “get back” to what existed with Obama, which after all meant ongoing destruction of the environment and continual, brutal oppression of world humanity. What is needed is to join this with a real way out through revolution that can move to preserve and protect the planet’s environment while moving to do away with all forms of oppression of humanity all over the globe.


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