You could practically taste the looming threat of ecocide leaching through the air at the Republican National Convention. The foundational document of the party’s forward-looking agenda, the 2016 Republican Platform, is saturated with strategies to undermine decades of environmental and climate policy gains in the name of “job creation, expanding opportunity and providing a better chance at life for everyone willing to work for it.”
For over 20 years the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has brought world leaders together with the intention of catalyzing international actions to reduce emissions and hedge our chances of avoiding some of the irreversible catastrophic impacts of our changing climate. Last December in Paris, nearly 200 countries signed the first-ever global pact to tackle climate change.
If Donald Trump wins the upcoming election, the United States would throw emissions regulations to the wind and pull back on its climate commitments.
“Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue,” the document states, “we reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.” If the U.S. – the second largest emitter on the planet – backs out of the deal, the whole agreement would likely collapse.
The GOP plans to take their anti-international climate policy agenda to the next level by demanding a “halt to U.S. funding for the…UNFCCC” and disregarding science from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, claiming “its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy.”
As those tree-huggers at NASA point out, “97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.” In other words, human-induced climate change is not something you “believe in”; it is a fact.
While the Republican Platform attempts to derail established climate science, ExxonMobil faces a legal battle for consciously disseminating misinformation to the public about the detrimental impacts of burning fossil fuels.
From an energy perspective, the GOP plans to do away with renewable energy subsidies that cause “economic stagnation” and instead support the “abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource” called coal.
“A mine is a terrible thing to waste,” said Republican Party representative Looten Plunder; oh wait, he’s actually a profit-driven eco villain from Captain Planet but I think I saw him in the back row playing thumb wars with Charles Koch.
The Republicans encourage “the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower.”
The Platform states it would dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, which they claim perpetuates the Democratic Party’s agenda to “routinely ignore costs, exaggerate benefits, and advocate the breaching of constitutional boundaries by federal agencies to impose environmental regulation,” by turning it into “an independent bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”
Furthermore, the environmentally devastating document proposes turning over a substantial portion of our country’s 200 million acres of U.S. Forest Service protected land, in the name of “economic potential” to logging interests that would “produce jobs.” Additionally, the Party promotes “the opening of public lands and the outer continental shelf to [oil] exploration and responsible production.”
The Platform also insists that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) undermines “the economic viability of an area…costs jobs and hurts local communities.” The document suggests that the ESA “should not include species such as gray wolves and other species if these species exist elsewhere in healthy numbers in another state or country.”
The 2016 Republican Platform is “one of the most anti-environmental platforms we have ever seen,” said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth. Eric expressed concern that many of the proposed actions could be carried out via executive orders if America ever calls Trump President.