As the man responsible for the biggest federal regulatory rollbacks since the Environmental Protection Agency was proposed by Republican President Richard Nixon, Donald Trump somehow manages to brazenly dissemble about the current state of the environment in the United States — and the world as a whole — with a perfectly straight face.
Trump’s bravura performance as a faux eco-warrior came during a press conference at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland when he was asked about his reaction to the fiery speech made by the precocious climate activist Greta Thunberg to the assembled crowd of business tycoons and political leaders from around the globe.
The 17-year-old Thunberg had lambasted the assembled keepers of the status quo in her address yesterday for largely ignoring — or, at best, paying lip service to — her admonition from the speech that she gave at last year’s Davos conference in which she told the crowd that she wanted them to panic over the climate emergency that the earth is already experiencing.
Declaring the time for half-measures and insincere efforts to reduce carbon-emissions has long-since passed, Thunberg called for an end to business as usual with a demand that:
“All companies, banks, institutions and governments:
Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction.
Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies.
And immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.”
The climate activist’s urgent plea is, of course, the polar opposite of the policies that Donald Trump has been ramming down the throats of the American people against their wishes.
Trump responded to the question about his reaction to Thunberg’s address by jealously pointing out that she beat him out as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and unconvincingly saying that he “would have loved to have seen her statement,” before admitting “I did not.”
What the president said next made that admission obvious.
“I think that some people are, they put it at a level that is, you know, unrealistic to a point where you can’t live your lives,” Trump declared, ignoring the fact that a climate-raaged, barren planet would make it literaly impossible for anyone to live their lives.
Trump went on to brag about America’s “environmental numbers” while entirely laying the blame on other countries, despite the fact that what the numbers really prove is that the United States is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide after China.
“We have to do something about other continents. We have to do something about other countries. We’re clean and beautiful and everything’s good, but you have another continant where the fumes are rising at levels that you can’t believe. I mean, Greta ought to focus on those places.”
Perhaps the best reply to Trump’s hypocritical comments is an excerpt from Thunberg’s Davos speech itself:
“I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing the climate chaos you knowingly brought upon them?”
A full transcript of Greta Thunberg’s speech at the Davos forum is available here.
You can watch a video clip of Donald trump’s environmental remarks in the excerpt of his press conference below.
President Trump: "You have another continent where the fumes are rising at levels that you can't believe. I mean, I think Greta ought to focus on those places." pic.twitter.com/4gp1B3oD7q
— The Hill (@thehill) January 22, 2020
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.