Friends of the Earth & As It Happens / CBC Radio – 2018-07-10 23:37:10
ACTION ALERT: Reject Trump’s Supreme Court Pick
Urge your Senators to reject Trump’s dangerous SCOTUS nominee!
Find an event near you this week — July 9-13
Liz Butler / Friends of the Earth
ACTION: Demand our Senators protect our environment and democracy from Trump’s extremist SCOTUS nominee! Click here to find an event near you!
(July 10, 2018) — Last night, Donald Trump named Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee.
If Trump successfully installs Kavanaugh to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat, he’ll have a rubber stamp on his radical right-wing agenda for a generation to come. Trump’s Court could gut our environmental protections, hand even more power to giant corporations, and strip individuals of their voting rights — all while undoing Roe v. Wade and repealing affordable health care.
But the Senate still has to confirm Kavanaugh. So we’re joining a huge coalition of progressive groups to show up at every Senatorâ€™s office around the country this week. Together, we’ll tell them to stop Trump’s extreme Supreme Court nominee. Will you join us?
Kavanaugh has a long history of ruling in favor of Big Polluters over clean air, clean water, and a safe climate. He has ruled to make it harder to prevent climate chaos, and has allowed more mercury and toxic pollutants in our air.
Now, imagine if Kavanaugh were to be the deciding vote in one of the many lawsuits former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt filed as a way to hamper the agency’s ability to protect our communities from pollution. Kavanaugh could even undo the landmark Mass v. EPA ruling, which gave the EPA authority to take action on greenhouse gas emissions.
In short, Trump is trying to install a Justice who will drastically curtail protections for our environment and our communities while continuing to prop up giant corporations.
Polluters have had their eyes on dismantling our environmental protections through the Courts ever since Trump was elected. Now, they could get everything they want.
What’s more, there is no doubt that Kavanaugh will also pose threats to health care, workers’ rights, immigrant and LGBTQ protections, and all Americans’ right to vote — not to mention a woman’s right to choose.
Kavanaugh even thinks presidents shouldn’t come under investigation while in office. If the Mueller investigation made its way to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh’s position could present a fundamental threat to our democracy.
This means that you and I can’t stand by and do nothing. We need to fight back.
Trump needs every Republican in the Senate, plus at least one Democrat, to confirm Kavanaugh. One Senator crossing party lines could tip the balance of power on the Supreme Court for years to come.
That means every single vote is up for grabs. So it’s time to tell our Senators — Democrats and Republicans alike — to hold the line and stand up for people and the planet.
ACTION: Click here to show up at Senate district office near you this week and demand our Senators stop Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court!
Liz Butler is VP of organizing and strategic alliances for Friends of the Earth.
Real-life Professor Snape Calls
Trump’s Supreme Court Pick ‘Lord Voldemort’
As It Happens / CBC Radio
(July 10, 2018) — As US President Donald Trump named Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee on Monday, he described the judge as “one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time.” But not everyone was happy with the decision. In fact, environmental law professor at American University Bill Snape likens Kavanaugh to the Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort.
Snape, who shares the name of Potions Professor Severus Snape in the famous wizard books, wasn’t just trying to make a Harry Potter joke. He tells As It Happens guest host Rosemary Barton why he believes Kavanaugh, if confirmed, could pose a real threat to the environment.
Are there actual real reasons why you think [Brett Kavanaugh] is the Dark Lord in terms of a pick?
Yes, certainly from an environmental and energy law perspective. I figured, as my name really is Professor Snape, it was appropriate to accurately needle him on one of his huge Achilles’ heels heading into the hearing process before the United States Senate.
Through the years he’s been an appellate judge before the DC Circuit, arguably the second most powerful court in our country. He has demonstrated a pretty consistent bias for big industry, big corporations, polluters and a hostility and hesitancy towards public interest plaintiffs, plaintiffs that use cutting edge science or climate change.
And as it relates to the future of our planet, while I was being tongue in cheek and having a good time, it was not meant to be a compliment.
There are other people that give a couple of examples where he ruled in favour of environmental things and sided with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Namely to an example in 2013, where he upheld an EPA decision to retroactively veto a mining project in West Virginia. There was another one in 2014.
Do you think that he’s really anti-environment?
I’m aware of those two cases that you mention. I’m not aware of many more beyond them. It’s tempting to say that even a broken clock is correct two times a day.
But on the two cases that you mention . . . those are pretty straightforward cases in my view.
When you look at his overall 12 years of decision-making, time and time again he has ruled against the public interest. Those two cases are certainly nice but they are far outweighed by the dozens, if not hundreds of cases that stand on the other side of the ledger, unfortunately.
We were hoping that it would be someone else. He really was the one of the final four that was giving us the most heartburn and now that has become realized.
When we think about Supreme Court nominees in your country, the contentious issues tend to be things like abortion, the death penalty, those kinds of hot button issues. Do you think that he is riskier for the environment than he is for those social issues that drive so much of the decisions around who should be a Supreme Court nominee?
I certainly think there will be a lot of questions to him about women’s rights, about workers rights, about fair housing, about the issues you just reeled off.
But I think that on all these issues . . . he does seemingly already have his mind made up.
I do predict for those who have never seen a United States confirmation hearing that he will be very adept at not answering questions. There’ll be a lot of Kabuki theatre.
Do you think that this is ultimately about the Trump administration wanting to roll back many of the environmental regulations that were put in place by Obama?
I do think that particularly this second nomination by President Trump is a lot about President Trump.
This one, with elections coming up in a few months, huge dissatisfaction with the administration, I think there is a meta-political question . . . . Why is he ramming through a far-right judicial nominee to replace one of the most centrist justices we’ve ever had, particularly at this point in time with this president?
Do you think he believes in climate science and climate change?
I have no idea whether he believes in climate science. He’s obviously a very intelligent man.
I would imagine that he understands the argument for climate science and why climate science ought to be taken seriously.
How he would translate that into law on the Supreme Court can only be informed by the fact that he ruled against every single Obama climate initiative there was. So to me, that’s not a good starting point.
This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. Written by Samantha Lui. Produced by Jeanne Armstrong.
Scientist Says It’s a ‘Miracle’
Trump Administration Let
Climate Change Report Go Public
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald Trump, November 6, 2012
(November 6, 2017) — In a new US federal government report, hundreds of scientists reach a conclusion President Donald Trump has already dismissed — humans are causing climate change, and it’s getting worse.
The report was released Friday ahead of the 23rd conference of the parties, or COP23, in Bonn, Germany, where world leaders gathered on Monday to begin implementing the Paris agreement to fight climate change.
It is the first major conference on climate change since Trump said that the US will pull out of the Paris accord unless his administration can secure a better deal.
The report is released every four years and is considered the US government’s most definitive statement on climate science.
But this year’s report goes against Trump’s definitive statements on the issue. In the past, he has described climate change as a hoax.
As It Happens host Carol Off spoke with Canadian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who is one of the lead authors of the report. Here is part of their conversation.
What is the overarching conclusion of this report?
The 600 pages that make up this report can be summarized in pretty much one sentence: climate is changing, humans are responsible, the risks are serious and the window of time to fix this thing is narrowing fast.
We have been covering so many stories in the past year or two years of all the different weather-borne catastrophes. From heat waves, to fires, floods, heavy rains. There’s all kinds of extreme weather events. And are you concluding that most, if not all, of them relate back to climate change?
The reason that we care about a changing climate is because it exacerbates the naturally occurring risks that we already faced in the past. Climate change doesn’t create a hurricane, but it makes it stronger and exacerbates the risks and the impacts associated with it.
Climate change is amping up our heat waves, our heavy rain falls, our droughts. That’s why we care as humans because our infrastructure, our society, our economy, our agriculture, our water resources — they are all built on the assumption that long-term climate is stable. We are not prepared for this type of rate of change.
This is a United States government report. Does it have the stamp of approval from the White House?
This report has undergone public comment, a National Academy of Sciences review and multiple agency reviews by every federal agency that has any relevant expertise.
Now, the first agency review happened during the Obama administration, but the final review, which was completed just this past August, did, in fact, occur under the Trump administration.
It was approved for release by those agencies according to law because this report is mandated under the global change research act. The government has to produce one of these reports every four years or else it is actually opens itself up to legal action.
You know that the administration and the president has articulated that he is a climate change skeptic and he has appointed people to key positions who are also climate change skeptics. Was there any effort to try and suppress this report?
I would quibble a little bit with the word skeptic. A skeptic implies that more evidence would convince them. I would actually call people dismissive. Dismissives are people who will dismiss any evidence that confronts them. I have no doubt, whatsoever, that this report will be dismissed by some of the very people in the government that released it.
We live in a very strange time — a time where somehow the number that a thermometer gives you is perceived to be different depending on whether you vote conservative or liberal. But the reality is that gravity doesn’t care if you believe in it or not. If you step off the cliff, you are going down.
And so the fact that this report even came out, which is certainly a minor miracle under this administration, the fact that this report came out as a solid science report that clearly communicates the risks that we are facing and the urgency of swift action to address them — what people do with it, you know, that is politics.
But the report is out there and it lays out the truth of what is happening to our planet and, as you pointed out, in this current political climate that really is a miracle.
This interview transcript has been edited for length and clarity. For more on this story listen to our full interview with Katharine Hayhoe.