Apocalypse Very Soon

Via Alexander C. Kaufman at HuffPo, we learn that the EPA has decided that we’ve all just got to sit back and fry — and like it too, dammit:

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday evening sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs.

Here a couple of samples of the new guidance:

“Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner,” one point reads. “The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.”

The other states: “While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.”

It’s clear enough what Scott Pruitt’s and Donald Trump’s EPA thinks we should do about the global test-to-destruction experiment on which we are now engaged.  F**k-all.  Hades here we come.
As Eric Levitz at New York magazine reminds us, this actually isn’t the limit of GOP and Trump climate sabotage:

It would be bleak enough if these talking points were an accurate reflection of our government’s position on climate change. “We will do nothing to stop this calamity from happening, but will help you prepare for its onset” isn’t the most uplifting sentiment. But the Trump administration’s actual position on the matter is even worse.

In truth, Scott Pruitt’s EPA is about as opposed to helping communities prepare for climate catastrophe as it is to regulating carbon emissions: Last year, the EPA shut down its climate-adaptation program, and proposed funding cuts* to another initiative dedicated to studying the effects of rising sea levels. [links in the original]

Again, as Levitz points out, unchecked climate change will (and almost certainly has already) kill a lot of people. Which is to say this isn’t garden valley Republican robbery of most of us to serve the interests of our former Secretary of State and his ilk.  Reckless doesn’t begin to describe what the GOP in general and the current administration in particular are doing to the planet, and to Americans’ well being, safety and security.

The climate change debacle is not only down to the United States, of course. But nowhere else has the power that we do to shift international action on this.  We’re doing the opposite, and the FSM knows how high the bill will go.

On that note: top of the evening to the jackals. Open thread, y’all

*Most of the cuts were undone in the omni-budget bill, but if we have a minor respite from environmental despoilation, it’s not thanks to Trump and Pruitt.

Image: D. Howard Hitchcock, Halemaumau, Lake of Fire, 1888

106 replies
  1. 1
    Citizen Alan says:

    The nightmare scenario for me is Shitgibbon appointing enough new SCOTUS justices to simply declare the EPA unconstitutional. I know Thomas would do that tomorrow if he had the votes and I assume Alito and Goresuch would join him (Roberts is iffy). Imagine the federal government legally barred from doing anything on climate or the environment for generations.

  2. 2
    cain says:

    Apparently we have a new VA Secretary, the old one got fired by a tweet. Trump hires his personal physician to the job. So what new doctor is Trump going to have now?

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Dammit, there’s that black background again! Tom, what in the world is going on? (Think it must be at your end.)

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Mobile site is borked too.

  5. 5

    Well, this format for comments is…different.

  6. 6
    cain says:

    It didn’t stop me! I’m still commenting!! :D

  7. 7
    Tom Levenson says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Don’t know.

    Let me mess around a bit…

  8. 8
    Tom Levenson says:

    Working for me now. Youse guyz?

  9. 9
    RSA says:


  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    @Tom Levenson: Che Bella! Grazie!

    As far as the OP, once again the world is going to get ahead of us here. But if China and India get their acts together, even with how far America could backslide, it could still counter just enough from the rest of the world until we have sane governance again.

    Not to mention the Left Coast isn’t playing Pruitt’s game and enacting our own protocols here.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    scav says:

    The black background is rather comfortingly (?) indicative of the topic — and black on black rather comforting (? round 2) as it’s nearly impossible to read any comments, all of which does rather demonstrate the EPAs and current govts policy on any and all major problems. Shut up, there’s nothing to see, no problem and we’re not listening to you anyhow. Stop whining and learn planetary CPR.

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    While it’s gloomy, I read somewhere that American greenhouse gasses are still falling. We just got to make it to 2021.

  14. 14
    Gretchen says:

    @cain: Maybe Bornstein will get a promotion? I’m not confident that he would be much help if Trump had a heart attack.
    Why would this guy want to head the VA, though? He has no executive experience at all? At all? Why does he think he will succeed running a large organization for someone who soils everyone he touches?

  15. 15
    Chyron HR says:

    Yes, but once the planet is covered in firestorms for decades it will finally bring an end to the neoliberal status quo.

  16. 16
    Gretchen says:

    @Yutsano: And China and India will make all the money on climate-mitigating technology while we’ll have to buy it at whatever price they name because we were too stupid to invest in development ourselves.

  17. 17
    Calouste says:

    @Gretchen: Didn’t stop Ben Carson. Self-awareness is not something that comes automatically with an MD.

  18. 18
    Jay says:


    “The climate change debacle is not only down to the United States, of course. But nowhere else has the power that we do to shift international action on this. We’re doing the opposite, and the FSM knows how high the bill will go.”

    China’s been taking point for quite a while, installing more Green Energy than the ROW combined, starting to clean up past messes, and transitioning away from Coal.

  19. 19
    Jay says:


    Now a days, panels are Chinese, small scale wind is Indian, controllers and chargers are Australian and Canadian, microhydro is Canadian, batteries are German, British or American.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Yup, thanks. Whatever you did to fix things, much thank.

  21. 21
    Yutsano says:

    @Jay: To be fair, China still has a ways to go yet. The smog conditions in most Chinese cities are still rather strong. Beijing still has regular pollution events that would be catastrophic anywhere else in the world. The Chinese are working on it but it will be a long time yet before they transition away.

    Honestly, the Middle East could be solar power paradise. But Prince Salman seems to be ignoring that aspect.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @cain: RADM (Upper Half) Jackson or Dr. Feelgood from Manhattan?

  23. 23
  24. 24
    trollhattan says:

    Pruitt and Zinke will wreck the most long-term damage, among the many horrid Trump cabinet members. And they both have longterm plans well beyond their current gigs.

  25. 25
  26. 26
  27. 27
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Neither is a great choice, Adam, let’s be frank

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Okay, that’s a little less frightening.

  29. 29
    trollhattan says:

    The crafty Danes are big on the large-scale wind scene.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: The problem is that as a serving general officer/flag officer he has less independence than if he was retired. This was a similar problem that LTG McMaster faced as the AP-NSA. In terms of actual experience running things, he’s got plenty. It is far, far, far better than Pete Hegseth, who is one of the rotating fill ins on Fox & Friends.

  31. 31
    Jay says:


    It took the US almost 2 decades from the Clean Air Act to actually get rid of “brown sunsets” in the US. Before the Act, the EPA sent professional photographers around the US to document the carnage.


    You can screw up the environment in just a few days, but it takes decades, or 100 years, or never to clean it up.

    It’s pretty clear we are not the smartest of animals.

  32. 32

    @Yutsano: India just launched a huge solar initiative with France and a bunch of other countries. That’s why Macron was there a few weeks ago.
    ETA: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-03126-3

  33. 33
    Baud says:


    You can screw up the environment in just a few days,

    Huh? Not so with respect to clean air policy.

  34. 34
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I mean, comparatively speaking yes. I still think that Jackson fudged the truth on Trump’s medical report. We know well by now that Trump has the ability to bring out the worst in people around him.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Are you saying that India has sent a second sun into orbit?//

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Look on the bright side, everyone under VA care just lost 70 lbs without having to do a thing. I call that a win-win for everyone!

  37. 37

    @Adam L Silverman: They wish! solar as in solar power..

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: ***severe side-eye***

  39. 39


    It’s pretty clear we are not the smartest of animals.

    Not the wisest, perhaps.

  40. 40
    tobie says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The agreement in question was signed in conjunction with the Paris Climate Accord at COP21. President Hollande actually negotiated the deal and it was part of a larger package involving the sale of Mirage fighter jets to India. I don’t remember the full details of the deal but among peace activists it did raise some hackles.

  41. 41
    E says:

    When the kids being born today come of age and realize that their parents and grandparents knew with what amounts to *total certainty* that they were wrecking the climate for their own god damn children, and couldn’t bring themselves to take even minor steps to avert this outcome, will they treat us the way the Parkland kids are treating the NRA, or will it be somewhat more strident? Will they be breaking down our doors and throwing us out into the punishing sun to expire, like we deserve?

  42. 42
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Perhaps, we’re too smart for our own good, even.

  43. 43
    magurakurin says:

    @Citizen Alan: the nightmare is upon us. And we did it all ourselves. The North Pacific Garbage patch is now three times the size of France/Texas. And it’s growing. Millions and millions of tons of plastic. The oceans are dying and it’s got nothing to do with Donald fucking Trump. He is the symptom. We humans are the motherfucking disease. And people ask me why I never had children…

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: I thought that was Huckabee-Sanders Secret Service code name.

  45. 45
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Tom Levenson: Do you have a new signature or something? Is something getting pasted in when you edit a post then publish the edits?
    Just trying to debug as I don’t think it’s the site.

  46. 46
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Nice for the patient’s maybe :)

  47. 47
    magurakurin says:


    Beijing still has regular pollution events that would be catastrophic anywhere else in the world.

    I live over 1,000 miles from Beijing and across the ocean, yet we get smog alerts and warnings from Beijing’s air pollution. That shit is bad, bad, bad.

  48. 48
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:


    We humans are the motherfucking disease. And people ask me why I never had children…

    In certain circles, this would earn you the brand of misanthropy.

  49. 49
    Duane says:

    In the lead-up to the Iraq debacle, we were told a 5% chance of Saddam having WMDs meant we needed to act. The same logic should apply to climate change, a far greater threat. If it turns out climate change wasn’t real the worst result would be a better world.

  50. 50
    magurakurin says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: shit, I hold the copyrights on that brand. I bought them from Paul McCartney…

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    Doesn’t he need Senate approval?

  52. 52

    @tobie: Which peace activists and why? I don’t know much beyond what I saw in newspaper headlines.

  53. 53
    trollhattan says:

    California, with our ninth of the US population, continues leading the way with renewables. Here are yesterday’s data. At some point the…smarter “conservatives” will find themselves admitting a power grid sourced primarily from renewable energy sources is fvcking great for bidnez and the economy. The rest of us will also relish literally breathing easier.

  54. 54
  55. 55

    @E: I’ve been told that they’ll be much more upset about the debt because we didn’t get rid of entitlements.

  56. 56

    I am doing my bit. We got solar panels sometime last year and I drive a hybrid.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: Yes. But there’s no way the Senate isn’t going to confirm a just promoted 2 star who has, among other things, served as the personal physician to two presidents.

  58. 58
    magurakurin says:

    @schrodingers_cat: every bit helps. Imagine if everyone did the same. big change.

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    And people ask me why I never had children.

    I got married in 1964. My husband and I knew from jump that we didn’t want children. I’m sure they’re a great joy, and I don’t for a minute fault those who have made a different choice, but I’ve never once regretted going childless.

  60. 60
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Pete Peterson died last week. So that’s no longer operable.

  61. 61
    Jay says:


    Yeah, you can. A case in point, the pre-atomic age vs. Now, is a form of radionuclied dating, or perchclorate, or the Porter Ranch methane leaks, or the Archema plant explosion in Huston.

    Don’t worry, Pruitt’s EPA has the problem of persistent ground and water contamination from spills and flooding in Huston covered. They’re just not testing for it, because that might require remediation and drinking water treatment, and that costs money.

  62. 62
    magurakurin says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: same.

  63. 63
    tobie says:

    @schrodingers_cat: My French colleagues felt the arms sale was part of a new-found militarism in India and France. France of course has a big weapons industry and sells arms far and wide, so I don’t know what about this deal was particularly troubling. I’d need to look into that.

  64. 64
    Jay says:


    They will be pushing us out to sea on plastic garbage islands.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:


    My car is a regular gasoline Subaru, but my commute is so short that the service guy at the dealership asked me at my last oil change, “So do you ever take it out of the garage?”

    If I ever end up with a longer commute, I would seriously consider a hybrid.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    JWR says:

    Just in… Trump replaces VA secretary Shulkin with Admiral Ronny “the president is in excellent health” Jackson.

    ETA. Or is this old news already? (Just catching up.)

  68. 68

    @Mnemosyne: My only problem with my Prius is that I only get around 42mpg.

  69. 69

    @tobie: What is the evidence of India’s new found militarism? India is in a hostile neighborhood. Not a Modi fan and his domestic initiatives are hokey at best and he has unsavory and questionable political allies but I haven’t observed a huge change in India’s foreign policy.

  70. 70
    chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The admiral won’t be an admiral if he gets to the confirmation stage according to this UTexas law prof:

    Just to be clear, under the 1870 dual-officeholding ban, Rear Admiral Jackson will have to resign from the Navy before he can be sworn in as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. https://t.co/tzfDVqraUe— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) 28 March 2018

    I wonder if he’s willing to do that to serve at the whim of the shitgibbon.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:


    You probably don’t drive it far enough in stop-and-go traffic — apparently you get the best mileage over drives of 30+ miles.

    One of my coworkers used to commute from Irvine to Glendale in his Prius, and then he moved to Burbank. Shorter commute by far, but much lower MPG.

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Has anyone actually tried to confirm that he’s actually a real human and not a simulacrum or a replicant or something?

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @chris: Okay. I can’t imagine he’s pleased about just getting his second star and then having to resign his commission.

  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Depends on if he’s a true believer Trumpist or not. So far, all indications are “yes,” unfortunately.

    Either that, or Trump is spouting off at random again and Jackson is desperately trying to figure out what the hell is going on and how to turn down the “honor.”

  75. 75
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Wasn’t he just “nominated” on the 23rd? Doesn’t it take a while until the star is actually awarded? (Congress has to approve it, doesn’t it?)


  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think the larger issue is going to be whether anyone has explained to the President and/or to RADM Jackson that in order to accept the nomination he has to retire. And retirement isn’t a fast process. There’s at least going to be a 90 day off ramp. He’s got to burn off any unused leave, which is going to add significant time as well. He may not be able to be sworn in for months even if they expedite his nomination through the Senate.

  77. 77
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @E: Why do you assume that the kids born today will all believe in climate change? Rightwingers have kids too who they can indoctrinate to disbelieve the scientific concensus on climate change as much as they do.

  78. 78
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Either that, or Trump is spouting off at random again and Jackson is desperately trying to figure out what the hell is going on and how to turn down the “honor.”

    Yeah, honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Trump just makes these decisions and tweets them out, and the people involved are all “Wait, WHUT? The fuck just happened there?” and then the shit’s in the fire without a paddle and there’s no way out.

    ETA an even more strained metaphor.

  79. 79
    chris says:

    “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a Trump flunkie!”

  80. 80
    E says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Twenty years from now it will be very difficult not to “believe” in climate change. Even the right-wingers will believe in it — in order to get funding for their massive geoengineering projects to “fix” the problem. Which really will kill all of us.

  81. 81

    @SiubhanDuinne: At least Johnson can probably be given whatever security clearance he needs.

  82. 82
    Mike J says:


    My only problem with my Prius is that I only get around 42mpg.

    You could do better with a diesel.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: I was being facetious.

  85. 85

    @Mike J: I’d also pay more for diesel.

    ETA: Costco doesn’t have diesel around these parts.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: I hope ALL the D’s go into high dudgeon mode and cram that BBA bullshit right up the asses of the R’s.

  87. 87
    chris says:


    One longtime Republican lobbyist offered a two-word prediction for Dr. Jackson’s chances of Senate confirmation: “Harriet Miers.”— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) 28 March 2018

  88. 88
    Steeplejack says:


    Yeah, my doughty Kia (’09 Rondo) gets mediocre mileage (low 20s) because most of my driving is typically less than 10 miles a day, often less than 5. But when a bit of sustained highway driving gets added to the mix (pickup at Dulles, trip to Rehoboth Beach, etc.) the mileage goes up to about 30 mpg.

  89. 89
    NotMax says:


    Diesel treading a shaky tightrope.

    …significant moves to ban diesels in Germany will inevitably lead to similar moves across Europe, with environmentalists and green politicians likely to crank up the pressure, already at a high pitch with Paris, Madrid and Athens all having committed to diesel bans by 2025. Source

  90. 90
    Steeplejack says:

    I will defend Admiral Ronny Jackson a bit. First, if you get to be a flag officer (admiral or general) in any branch of the military you are de facto a good manager. Movie clichés notwithstanding, “the brass” are the C-level executives of large, high-tech organizations, and the vetting process to get there is fairly stringent (although not devoid of politics). Based on his career arc (Wikipedia), Jackson looks to be the equivalent of a regional vice president who got called back to headquarters to head up some special projects.

    Second, and I could be wrong here, it feels like (some) people have the idea that “personal physician to the president” is a sinecure where you sit around in a frock coat sipping sherry until the president needs to be bled with leeches for some reason or treated for an imbalance of the humors. (Okay, that could possibly be a full-time job with Trump.)

    And, speaking of which, I think Jackson perhaps took a tiny bit of unfair flak after Trump’s physical. All doctors have some dickish, “noncompliant” patients, and I’m sure Trump is an 11 on that scale. I could see Trump refusing to have his height or weight measured—“I’m 6'3"! I’m 239 pounds! Write it down!”—and Jackson just having to suck it. And he’s not in a position where he can fire the patient from his “practice.” I do wonder why he agreed to submit to that horrible press conference, though. I would have strained mightily—to the point of having myself bled with leeches—to avoid that.

    To close on a happy note: I have never been able to find out who it was, but I still cherish the memory of the unknown female reporter who asked Jackson at that press conference if he had examined Trump’s bone spurs and what was their current condition. He had a real “Ow! My balls!” moment with that. Good times.

  91. 91
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: any chance he can just decline the “honor”? Particularly since the history of this Administration would seem to indicate he’ll just be fired by tweet in six months, anyway. I sure as hell would be saying, “thanks but no thanks” under the circumstances.

  92. 92
    Miss Bianca says:

    @chris: Harriet Miers is being nominated instead?//

  93. 93
    Mary G says:

    Coming to a confirmation hearing near you:Dem Senator: Dr. Jackson, are you aware that you are under oath?Jackson: Yes.Dem Senator: Good. Now, how did Trump really do on his mental health evaluation?— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) March 29, 2018

  94. 94
    TenguPhule says:


    “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a Trump flunkie!”

    239 reasons why that’s not true.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: This is a huge fail.

  96. 96
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’m not implying he would be a good appointment to the V.A. I just think some of the criticism has been a little over the top.

    Although Rachel Maddow just played a clip (for me—9:05 p.m. EDT) from that press conference where Jackson was a little more gung ho than I remember. Oh, well.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: Dude said Trump’s ballsweat would be as Ambrosia. And that if he cut back on the cheeseburgers a little he could well live forever. Blessed genetics, dontcha know?
    Beyond the hyperbole. He does not work for the president. He works for us.

  98. 98
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: I’m not sure given he’s a serving officer. If he was ordered to take the job, then as long as he wears the uniform and the order is lawful, then he has to take it. Again, I’m not sure if he knows, let alone the President knows, that he would have to retire in order to take this position. And as a retiree, the President cannot order him to do anything. Or, rather, the President could, but RADM Jackson would not be obligated to oblige.

  99. 99
    SectionH says:

    @magurakurin: I’m always a pessimist in my gut reactions, but try to keep it under control re politics and similar. But tbh, I’m possibly more worried about stuff going on with the oceans than the climate changes on land. I do have a son, and he has a daughter. But I think I’d be just about as angry and upset if I didn’t have kids. It’s such an amazing planet. Well, no – it’s such an amazing biosphere. The rock below is also damn interesting, but not in much danger. Unless our collective “bring on the meteor” cries bring on a Really Big One.

    By the way, can someone tell me who was the guest front pager who wrote about oceans and climate? His first one was good, but I knew a fair amount of what he covered there. I’d love to catch up with any more posts of his.

  100. 100
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: I think this answers part of the question:

  101. 101
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Okay, that makes me think Jackson is either very naïve or a Trump true believer—possibly both.

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Another victim for the Dignity Wraith.

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: @Corner Stone: Given what GOP staffers in Congress are already leaking about this nomination being the equivalent of Harriet Miers, if he resigns before he’s confirmed he’s a moron. A number of veteran’s organization are already indicating significant concern about the nomination and once again indicating they were not, as the stakeholders’ (veterans) representatives, consulted about it. On the other hand, for all we know he wanted to stop being the President’s physician, but the President won’t allow him to be reassigned, so this is his way to retire without it looking like he was bailing on the President.

  104. 104

    On that note: top of the evening to the jackals. Open thread, y’all

    First, gotta do to the NRA what happened to ACORN.
    Next, gotta get everyone to the polls in November.
    Pruitt’s been a problem since forever. Added to the list, but that one’s gonna take a little longer.

    … the good stuff takes longer, gotta keep telling myself, the good stuff takes longer ….

  105. 105
    momus says:

    The Beer-Lambert law of molecular absorption of energy has its origins in the 1720s, but I guess it remains suspect to the Trumpistas because the original papers were in French.

  106. 106
    Another Scott says:

    @SectionH: You’re looking for the posts by Boussinesque (via Alain).


    Ocean Acidification

    Thanks for the reminder.



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