On the first night of this week’s Republican National Convention, President Trump nailed the green bleeding-heart haters to the wall in two sentences: “They want no guns, they want no oil and gas, and they want no God. So it’s no religion, no guns, right, no oil and gas.”
On the second night, he rested. The GOP assembled an ensemble cast of salt-of-the-earth folk who delivered the equivalent of victims’ impact statements against the Green Horde. Maine lobsterman Jason Joyce used his two minutes to denounce the influence of “environmental extremists” in restricting fishing in some ecologically sensitive Atlantic canyons. A Wisconsin dairy farmer spoke of her support for President Trump due to her hatred of tariffs and regulations. A logger and a miner added their testimonials. You pretty much had the Village People of victims of tyranny.
Mr. Joyce objected to President Obama’s creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. President Trump rolled back the Obama initiative, re-opening a vast area to lobst…wait a minute, no self-respecting lobster or lobsterman would ever set foot (or claw) in such deep, craggy saltwater terrain. But…
Multiple studies tell us that climate change and warming ocean waters could take lobsters off Maine’s menu within 30 years— something that’s largely already happened in Long Island and southern New England. And just this week, the president reprised his cockamamie prescription to halt wildfires—sweeping the forest floors as if they were the breakroom at Dunder Mifflin.
As it turns out, Vice President Mike Pence was just about the only one in four days mentioning “climate change,” lamenting how the high cost of new regulations would “drastically increase” Americans’ cost of living. (Note to the First Lady: With such a great response to your recent clear-cut of the White House Rose Garden, you might want to take a crack at those drab, moldy ramparts at Fort McHenry.)
In the 2016 gathering, the GOP gave six minutes to a man who would cut a strong environmental profile—after the election. An Eagle Scout, ex-Navy Seal, and first-termer from Montana took the mike and spoke exclusively about the military. Zinke lasted less than two years as Trump’s Interior Secretary, felled by scandals ranging from coziness with oil and gas producers to buying a set of $139,000 doors for his office.
The Convention’s plans for a major hoedown in Charlotte were of course sidetracked by COVID-19, but the main venue for speeches became the ornate Mellon Auditorium on Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s a federal property, but available for rental to the public. And so it became that the Republicans spoke from the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters in the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Office Building (the Mellon Auditorium connects two wings of the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building).
In his Thursday acceptance speech, President Trump boasted about withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change and predicted that a Biden Administration would destroy the economies of oil, gas, and coal states. An estimated live audience of 1,500 fawning supporters were, on observation, at close quarters and almost entirely unmasked.
So it’s done. I don’t have to binge-watch either party’s good intentions, bad facts and blather for another four years.
I just have to live with the outcome. And so do you.
Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor and columnist. His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate or publisher, Environmental Health Sciences. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Pdykstra.
Banner photo: President Donald Trump’s Acceptance Speech at 2020 Republican National Convention (Credit: C-Span/Youtube)