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Editorial: 'Trump 'ridiculous' to decry climate 'prophets of doom''


Donald Trump (AP)

Donald Trump (AP)

Donald Trump (AP)

On the day impeachment proceedings began against US President Donald Trump, he took himself off to Davos to decry climate "prophets of doom" at the World Economic Forum.

Roundly rejecting "predictions of the apocalypse" he insisted America would defend its economy.

"These alarmists always demand the same thing - absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives."

They were, he said, "the heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers". One of those "foolish fortune tellers" was in the audience.

Teenager Greta Thunberg had hosted her own session on 'Averting a Climate Apocalypse'.

She asked: "I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing... climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? Our house is still on fire.

"Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour, and we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else."

Only a couple of months back, Mr Trump insulted the teen - after she was made 'Time' magazine's 'Person of the Year' - as "so ridiculous".

Having witnessed unprecedented temperature rises, fire-storms in Australia and a plethora of recent extreme weather events, the jury is out as to who it is that is ridiculous.

But Robert Habeck, leader of the German Greens, was in no doubt in delivering his verdict at Davos: "I hadn't expected much, but [Trump's] speech was a disaster for the conference, for the idea of the conference, for the idea of multilateralism."

Mr Trump's dismissive rhetoric stood in stark contrast to the 17-year-old's heartfelt call to "start listening to the science". Mr Trump seized the opportunity to divert attention from unfolding events in Washington.

He faces continued questions about his approach to foreign affairs and the decision to order the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. He pounced on the chance to trumpet "America's extraordinary prosperity" on his watch, taking credit for the "blue-collar boom".

Having to tell people how successful you are tends to ring hollow; especially on a world stage.

Achievement, after all, speaks for itself. As the great American novelist John Steinbeck observed: "Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag."

The Paris climate deal, which Mr Trump has withdrawn from, committed to keeping temperatures well below 2C above pre-industrial times.

We are well off that target, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change firmly believes the planet is on course for 3C. This will have "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society", it warns.

For the leader of the world's economic powerhouse to have the time to travel so far to taunt a teenager, with so much to attend to in his own troubled backyard, may seem a little odd. For him to continue to laugh off overwhelming evidence of climate change is deeply unsettling.

Irish Independent