I reiterate that I don’t believe any voter was hoodwinked, that they knew exactly what they were getting with the Trump junta, and that it represents a significant portion of America becoming unhinged from reality. It’s possible to speculate why, but probably not really constructive, just consoling: The United States seems more and more an empire in decline*, and it is not that it isn’t a great country — of course, it is — it’s just that when you’ve been an empire, there’s a certain kind of self-imaging and set of expectations that comes with that, and when things seem powerless, not “on top of the hill” any longer, whether economically or internationally, based upon history, notably Great Britain, the public does not like that. I think people want the lifestyle and economy they came to expect, and it is not in hand. I say this has nothing to do with cultural changes or immigration or increased numbers of guaranteed social goods or government spending but, rather, that we, as a country, have used up our technological and creative capital which came with a generation of kids, now upper middle aged adults, who sought after and were trained in engineering and science, and gave us the best productivity ever seen. That time is past. And we are paying for it.
I entirely expect Science in the United States will suffer, and that’s all the more reason to support your favorite institution yourself (see the Donate) and support organizations which defend Science, like AAAS and UCS. It’s only logical that federal support for climate science will be hobbled, now that Smith and Imhofe have free reign. It might even be made illegal for a federal worker to utter “climate change” as it was in Florida. I expect a flight of scientists from the federal establishment to other places, and probably to other countries where they can.
I entirely expect the line that scientists are “climate alarmists” will get tremendous play, from leaders and in media, because, for the most part, the media are cowards.
And, unfortunately, the Trumpistas will assure that serious action on climate mitigation will be delayed yet another 8 years, even if Democrats regain in 2020, and that a bunch of fossil fuel infrastructure with half century lifetimes will get built. The United States already has a lot to answer for in creating the climate emergency. It will have a great deal more.
There are some things which won’t change.
While the solar energy stocks today are taking a hit (but, by the way, as is the entire energy sector, like Exxon-Mobil, although they aren’t taking as big a hit), and I’m sure the solar ETF TAN will sell off substantially, the facts are that unsubsidized solar PV and unsubsidized solar PV+storage are on track to dominate fossil fuels and conventional energy generation, based purely on cost. Adoption will slow, but the areas which have the wisdom to invest in these technologies, even in the absence of incentives, will come out ahead after these Dark Times.
And, especially in a world where people are encouraged to pursue the RCP 8.5 scenario, it’s entirely possibly we’ll hear “bigly” from Nature sooner rather than later. One thing that has changed with the ascendence of the Trumpistas is that this could, unfortunately, in the end be a very good thing, especially if the Midwest United States suffers from it. That’s cruel, but I don’t know how else to knock sense into people. Discussion and politics and other compassionate means obviously do not work. The Trumpistas will no doubt label such events as `unfortunate natural occurrences.’
Personal choice and action are more important than ever.
Welcome, by the way, to the zombie apocalypse.
* This is a new view on my part.