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Sunday, July 24, 2016

A few thoughts on Cleveland

By Peter Dykstra, Environmental Health News

Image result for donald trump & climate changeI was very surprised to see so little climate denial and EPA- and regulation-bashing from the Republican National Convention podium this past week.

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and The Donald Jr. got a few licks in, but not much else. In his acceptance speech, Trump Sr. repeated a campaign promise to bring jobs back to coal miners.

Note that Bob Murray, the hyper-zealous coal baron, says he advised Trump to stop saying that.

It seems Republicans moved off of the usual items, including hot anti-environment rhetoric, to focus on opportunistic things like the police shootings, Benghazi, fear, emails, Benghazi, fear, and Benghazi.

I wonder if the EPA and Al Gore just aren't scary enough to feature.


Conversely, the platform adopted by the RNC has a solid six pages about the Environmental Protection Agency, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Power Plan, nukes, and the Democrats' cabal with "radical environmentalists."

My favorite thing in the platform is the recommendation that EPA be downsized to an "independent bipartisan commission."

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is offered up as a role model for how well this works. Two of NRC's five commission posts are vacant, one of them for a year and a half, because the White House and Senate are so bipartisan with each other that the poor nominee can't get a hearing.

But the platform stops short of the outright climate denial now practiced by so many in the party leadership; it simply says that climate change is not a national security priority.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Tennessee Congresswoman who went on a tear against energy-efficient light bulbs a few years ago, jumped into the deep end of the denial pool at a side event, and I've seen several interesting stories and videos based on asking convention delegates about climate.

I wonder if this is a move-to-the-middle thing, or if the EPA and Al Gore just aren't scary enough to feature.

A final bit of unwelcome punditry: Trump's kids were actually very good speakers. And his wife displayed a clever reuse-recycle talent for other people's speeches. Trump was far from his reckless self in his speech Thursday night.

A Trump presidency in 2017 is a much greater possibility if someone out there has the ability to control the candidate's self-destructive habits. And with the conclusion of the War On Ailes, someone who fits that description is available.

Peter Dykstra is the weekend editor of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate, independent news sites that cover environmental health, climate change, and energy policy.
For questions or feedback about this piece, contact Brian Bienkowski at bbienkowski@ehn.org.