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A Republican victory in 2024 is a “free market” death sentence for humanity

After the Super Tuesday results signalled Trump would become the Republican presidential candidate in November, a first promise was that “We’re going to drill baby drill.” One of the most important reasons to watch American politics this year is that a Trump victory will push the world faster towards catastrophic climate heating.

The global community is currently failing to meet this challenge. Petrostates have become the venue of choice for COP meetings, signalling governments accept that the forces of disruption will allow no interruption to their profits until the crunch. Whether that crunch is some technological breakthrough or the start of civilisational collapse remains to be determined.

We have, however, the global structures where the majority might choose to cooperate to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg.

If America finds itself governed by the Republican Party in 2025 the chances become very slim indeed. The GOP now consists of Tea Party disrupters and rank opportunists, all dedicated Trumpists. Fact-based policy is irrelevant. Antagonism towards climate concerns is intense, one aspect of the loathed “woke” threat they intend to destroy.

Project 2025 has been depicted, with caveats, as the game-plan that Trump’s government would follow as it did in 2017, when it enacted two-thirds of the earlier iteration. Trump himself has little interest in any project apart from his own revenge. A set of policies, structures and people that will effectively enact his vengeance will prove attractive if he wins.

Project 2025 is hosted by the Heritage Foundation, a preeminent Atlas Network thinktank. Heritage has consistently fought climate action adhering to the Network’s fossil-fuel donor’s goals. Its new Christian Nationalist president, Kevin Roberts, has made it more extreme. Heritage brought in key actors from Trump’s previous administration to run Project 2025 so that it would look duly MAGA, and not like an establishment body trying to hijack Trump’s victory. As a result, this is the most radical Roadmap in four decades of production. The 800 pages of the 2025 Mandate is the sum of work by 400 contributors with 50 thinktanks from the Atlas Network and the Christian Nationalist Council for National Policy cooperating. It represents the merged thinking of the Trump-complicit Right.

There will be no global action on climate, or any other goal: they are not so much isolationists as unilateralists who want to act unchecked by international bodies or allies. Robert’s introduction to the Mandate states that the Left’s “supranational organisations” seek a world “bound by global treaties they write, in which they exercise dictatorial powers over all nations without being subject to democratic accountability.” He demands that the next Republican administration will abandon “International organisations and agreements that erode our Constitution, rule of law, or popular sovereignty.”

This fossil fuel-funding is evident. Roberts enjoins that “The next conservative President should go beyond merely defending America’s energy interests but go on offence, asserting them around the world. America’s vast reserves of oil and natural gas are not an environmental problem; they are the lifeblood of economic growth. American dominance of the global energy market would be a good thing: for the world, and, more importantly, for ‘we the people.” Environmentalism is depicted as “anti-human.” The overwhelming scientific evidence is meaningless. Roberts preaches: “‘Cheap grace’ aptly describes the Left’s love affair with environmental extremism. Those who suffer most from the policies environmentalism would have us enact are the aged, poor, and vulnerable. It is not a political cause, but a pseudo-religion meant to baptise liberals’ ruthless pursuit of absolute power in the holy water of environmental virtue.”

Biden’s crucial Inflation Reduction Act which “unleashes at least hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies for renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, batteries, heat pumps, and more” is likely his most significant achievement. Repealing it has become a Republican obsession. Project 2025 aims to dismantle the American administrative state: all departmental action to constrain pollution would be under attack alongside laws.

Fossil fuel corporations have long shown that they cannot be trusted to act in our interests without government regulation. Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) goals which had pushed some companies to consider broader stakeholder wellbeing have fallen out of fashion. This is in part because they have been prone to cynical deployment, functioning as “greenwashing” rather than a driver of actual change.

More concerning, however, is that corporate interests have been directing campaigns to discredit ESG investing as “woke” and an intrusion on their corporate liberties. Sky News, like Fox News in the US, has campaigned against the attempt to introduce corporate morality. Rowan Dean, for example, railed against it as “just pure socialism being introduced through the back door.” The scope of plutocrat campaigns against morality in business was revealed in emails from an Atlas Network-interlinked junktank in America recently. It was not just the ability to act regardless of environmental considerations these corporations and plutocrat foundations were funding: it was also campaigns to free up child labour, even to strip healthcare and food support from America’s most desperate.

These “conservative” actors demand adherence to Milton Friedman’s “shareholder theory that insisted a corporation’s sole concern must be to maximise returns to shareholders. Putin’s war on Ukraine has enabled huge profits for fossil fuel companies and they are being driven by “insistence from shareholders that companies keep record profits flowing and stick to their core business.” Thus Shell has become the latest company to announce that it has resiled from its zero carbon commitments, extending timelines and lifting limits.

Even the 2.5% of the global oil and gas industry’s capital spending currently investing in renewable energy is resented by shareholders. BP was threatened by a hedge fund for depressing its share price by this “irrational” spending.

Lacking any moral framework, this shareholder model demands government regulation to behave responsibly.

It is likely that a Trump victory at the end of this year will leave one of the world’s largest economies expanding its fossil fuel sector, cutting back every limit on carbon energy and stripping incentives promoting clean energy. Any regulation mitigating the immorality of shareholder capitalism will be stripped away. It is possible that China or India might step into a gap left on the global stage by America, but the damage to international cooperation will be extensive.

The world’s fate might rest on this election.

 

This essay was first published at Pearls and Irritations as A Republican victory in 2024 will be a climate disaster

 

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16 comments

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  1. uncletimrob

    I sometimes wonder if, at some time in the future, people will be able to sue current government parties for the effects of policies that they enact now.
    This is especially with regard to climate change, which may be significantly affected by stated policies of the GOP which will come into effect if/when Trump wins.

  2. Cool Pete

    Some idiot on twitter farted that if trump became President, Australia should ask for statehood! Another antagonist farted that it would mean two terms of potty boy here! Both are evil! And the election of both will mean the end of a liberal society as we know it!

  3. wam

    Wow, Lucy, such faith in Biden???
    There is no climate winner in America nor anywhere I would live but 1.
    I bought my block in Tassie to escape the bombs of the 60s and it will double as a greenhouse refuge for my grandkids.

  4. Lucy Hamilton

    Wam: don’t misunderstand me. This is not pro-Biden. It’s a warning about Trump. He is much, much worse. He has said Bibi should “finish the problem” of Gaza (or Palestinians) which sounds at least as bad. Many millions in the Global South will die sooner if Trump wins: We’ll shoot past 2.5 or whatever dreadful ceiling we set for ourselves to deadly wet bulb heat waves causing tens of millions of fatalities across the equator. I am not a liberal protecting the system. I know it needs breaking: just not by Trump.

  5. Lucy Hamilton

    UncleTimRob – important to sue the corporations now as various groups have been, since we need them to release their politicians.

  6. Terence Mills

    If we had an enquiring, probing, impartial and accountable media the situation would be very different, in my view.

    In my regional area we have SKY NEWS beamed in on free to air TV and they have a very clear set of objectives at the present time :

    On the local scene they see it as their vocation to destroy the Qld state government’s chances in the October state election and to promote a very lacklustre LNP as a viable alternative. Together with the Minerals Council the LNP appear to be committed to winding back state royalties particularly on coal and to promote the development of new coalmines ; all avidly supported by the SKY spruikers.

    For an Australian TV station, SKY have an unhealthy and unnatural obsession with seeing the return of Donald Trump and seem to relish the prospect of a breakdown of the world order and the rules based system of global commerce and cooperation.

    SKY/Murdoch have an unwavering support for Israel’s activities in Gaza and, annoyingly, they still insist that Israel is engaged in self defence and that any criticism is antisemitic.

    If we could demand that ‘news’ organisations be more accountable and more transparent it would greatly alleviate the dangerous spread of misinformation and conspiracies.

  7. Lucy Hamilton

    What a grim portrait, TM. It’s a terrifying state of affairs to have that propaganda funnelled free to air as “news.” Your details fit with trend from this international gangster collective. I guess if one already knows one is driving the machine beyond breaking point, one might as well get as much out of it as possible before the end.

    Their NZ mates are fast tracking potential to eg mine national parks.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Speculators, hedge funds, big investment groups, banks and financialists, even honest corporations and whole governments are still interlocked and chained to a financial situation saturated, poxed, maggoted, tumoured by oil, coal and gas interests and capital. It will be a slow agonising death of a planet, our only one, but it creeps on. No way is to be found to convince, sway, change world opinion, outlook, wisdom, decisionmaking. And faecalityskulled types, the Trump, Morrison, Johnson types, pop up ego-yabbering.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Wam, you’re heading the wrong way.

    I read an article many years ago where a retired U.S. army colonel was talking about the global atmospheric effects of nuclear war. The said colonel was part of a task force that, after taking into account where the nuclear bombs were likely to be detonated and the globe’s weather patterns (ie, where the wind would blow the radioactive fallout) determined the safest spot in the world after the America and the USSR (as it was known as at the time) had finished bombing the crap out of each other.

    The colonel was migrating to the country where the task force had calculated that safest spot was.

    I’m sad to inform you that it was nowhere near Tasmania.

    Head north, would be my suggestion. The safest place in the world was a small picturesque town in northern NSW called Uki.

  10. Canguro

    MT, I’m guessing your revealing of the safest place on the planet cum the holocaust will inevitably drive a massive spike in self-identified nuclear refugees along with a surge in property prices in Uki… currently sitting on around ~685 residents per the 2021 census data.

    Being one of those northern villages that is guaranteed inundation whenever there are severe wet events, just like its proximate neighbours Lismore, Murwillumbah, Nimbin and Kyogle, I’d reckon the retired colonel wasn’t taking rainfall patterns into account when he pinned the tail on the donkey.

  11. Harry Lime

    You’d be in more danger of fallout from dope smoke in them there hills.At least you’d die not giving a fuck.

  12. Phil Pryor

    The old joke suggested that Uki had a constant population, as every time a woman had a child, a bloke left town.., actually it is a lovely quiet district.

  13. Clakka

    Uncletimrob,

    Now that I’ve finished chuckling over the characterizations of UKI, back to the matter of suing Governments.

    Under many International Trade Treaties / Agreements, governments (incl Oz govt) may indeed be sued for changes in their law that disadvantages / bring loss to the ‘others’, under provisions known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

    Amazing that our govt will allow others to sue and drain our treasury, but not Oz corporations or citizens. Albeit, now the ALP govt doesn’t allow / won’t agree to such provisions.

    Just ask Clive Palmer’s Singaporean Corporate Genes, seeking $40+ billion from the Oz treasury.

    Lucy,

    Thanks, good article,

    The FRWNJs, fossil-fuelers and evangelists – the old money graspers, have been so enfranchised by the sensation-seeking mainstream / social media, all duping the lazy, complacent, bling addicted, status quo voters, that the democratic project is severely crumpled. It makes it a very difficult tightrope for the likes of more reasoned attempts at reform by the likes of Biden’s Democrats and Albanese’s ALP. Seems like mother nature’s going to have her way, revenge on stupidity first.

  14. B Sullivan

    Lucy,

    Do you really think US voters have been given a choice? The US is a two party state controlled by two practically identical branches of a defacto Capitalist Party. They spend years vetting their presidential candidates to ensure that they do not pose a threat to Capitalist power and control over the people. The people of the USA should vote for neither of these candidates and leave the office of President empty until such time as they are provided with candidates that are worthy of consideration and support.

    What sort of disgusting political system forces people to endorse a treacherous, genocidal, warmongering terrorist like Biden by threatening them with the alternative of a bigoted, insane, meglomaniac of a sleasebag like Trump?

  15. wam

    Lucy anti-trump is by any means in, a two way contest, a pro-biden??? wow, Michael, such tongue in cheek faith in an American colonel? Who is talking about sensible people? The chances of the bomb lie with the religious nutters like iran, pakistan/afghanistan or meglomaniacs like trump, kim jong un, netanyahu Hopefully, the trump is unlikely to have the keys to the septic bombs. “What countries would survive a nuclear fallout? Researchers found Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu most capable of continuing to produce food despite the reduced sunlight and fall in temperatures -” but in reality, there is a beautiful spot on the way to the Daly that has a little spring that will be my place at the beginning of a war.

  16. Terence Mills

    A “spokesperson” for the Israeli govt. said on the ABC this morning that there was more food in Gaza now than before the war : evidently according to him,Hamas are squirrelling away the food supplies in their tunnel complex – how precisely they are doing this in the occupied zone was not explained. He also said that the UN were fudging the information.
    Asked about an independent enquiry into the killing of the aid workers he considered that was out of the question as “it was a war zone”. So is he saying that independent investigators from the UN may be targeted by IDF forces ?

    Beware of “spokespersons” !!!

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