Last year was the hottest year since people started measuring the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere. This year is breaking even last year’s records. Every single month in 2016 the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere has been higher than at any other time in human history.
These are facts. They matter, because they are having extensive, harmful consequences around the planet. Increased droughts, wildfire, destructive storms, heat waves, and sea level rise are all being caused by global warming.
It’s also a fact that the disturbed climate of the last few years isn’t just an isolated phenomenon. It’s part of a generations-long trend of global warming that is strongly correlated with environmentally-destructive human activities. We’ve known about anthropogenic climate change for over a generation now, and year after year, the mountain of data supporting the model of human-caused climate change that is almost universally accepted by scientists gets even larger. To refute the anthropogenic nature of current climate change has become an exercise in absurdity that cannot withstand the slightest puff of serious scrutiny.
Serious scrutiny is not at all the kind of work that Scott Pruitt has dedicated his life to, however. The Attorney General of Oklahoma has instead sought to gather political power to himself by doing the bidding of the fossil fuels corporations that control the state’s government.
In order to expand the profits made by these corporations, Pruitt has worked tirelessly to increase the amount of toxic mercury spewed into the air by coal-burning power plants. Pruitt has labored to increase the amount of ground-level ozone released into the air of American cities. Pruitt has been dedicated to the cause of increasing air pollution in America’s national parks, and now, Pruitt is in the middle of an effort to block any effort to control the emission of greenhouse gases, the dangerous substances that are causing global climate change.
It’s a strange obsession to purposefully cause so much harm in the world, but Scott Pruitt is motivated by one core belief: The profits of oil, gas, and coal companies matter more than anything else, even when billions of human lives are on the line.
The biosphere of planet Earth is teetering on the edge of disaster. Despite decades of fantasies about colonies on the Moon or Mars, humanity has nowhere else to live but on this planet. It is as if we are living in a house built on top of a mountain with straight vertical cliffs on every side, and we have discovered that the house is on fire. In this scenario, Scott Pruitt is like a man carrying a big can of gasoline, yelling at us all to stop worrying, telling us to stop trying to call the fire department, as he opens up the can of gasoline and starts splashing it all over the walls.
Donald Trump has just nominated Scott Pruitt to become the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Under Pruitt, the very organization that is supposed to be dedicated to protecting us from ecological calamity will become dedicated to making the disaster worse – all so that a few corporations can enjoy even bigger profits while the house burns down.
With the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and set to place another anti-environmental zealot in the mold of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, there is no one in a position to stop the confirmation of Scott Pruitt or to block his planned new age of environmental destruction across the USA.
I could end this article with a call to grassroots action, but there is nothing that grassroots action can seriously hope to accomplish right now. Under Donald Trump, the stranglehold of corruption in Washington D.C. is becoming even tighter, so that no amount of begging will convince any Republican senator to ignore the orders of their corporate benefactors to vote against the confirmation of Pruitt.
The most that we can hope to do is to prepare for the congressional elections of 2018, to vote out every single Republican in the House of Representatives, and replace every Republican U.S. senator who is up for re-election.
With increasing Americans getting their news from factories of pro-corporate misinformation such as Fox and Breitbart, we’re going to need every ounce of grassroots dedication for the fight in 2018 that we can muster.