Celebrating the G7 with CO2 Emissions? C’mon, Man!
Posted On 16 Jun 2021
Tone deafness, thy name is Biden.
The G7 Summit did little to address the climate crisis beyond reaffirming nations’ prior commitments.
U.S. President Joe Biden, for his part, celebrated the anemic gathering of world leaders, from the climate crisis perspective, by posting on Instagramabout a demonstration by the Red Arrows, the British “Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team,” calling it “an incredible sight.”
No doubt the Red Arrows were “an incredible sight.” The video supports that assessment.
But – C’mon, Man! – what the rest of us saw were unnecessary emissions of CO2 that will contribute to climate change.
Hundreds if not thousands of people commented on the post to say that a public display that contributed to global warming was less than appropriate. Offensive, even.
Don’t get me wrong. Biden is much, much better than Donald Trump, whose policies were a series of disastrous wrecking balls for animal species, ecosystems, the climate and the future viability of the human race.
But this is much more than a social blunder, a faux pas, by Biden and his communications team.
The President’s stance on climate crisis action needs to be clear, strong and unequivocal if humans have any chance of surviving the devastation that’s coming when global warming surpasses 2ºC. His leadership is crucial. It needs to be his top consideration at the front of every decision and public proclamation he makes. Before Biden utters a sentence, he should measure it against its implications for climate.
Every single policy. Every single position. Every. Single. Utterance.
This post blew it.
President Sets the Tone for Climate Change Thinking and Action. Or Inaction.
Like it or not, the U.S. president’s actions and statements set the tone for our nation’s citizens. As Thom Hartmann has so poignantly pointed out on his blog, The Hartmann Report, in his post, “How Trump Made Being a Psychopath Fashionable”:
“In the US the president is both head of government (like Prime Minister Johnson) and head of state (like Queen Elizabeth). The president thus sets the tone for the country and establishes the norm for how a person with privilege and power is expected to behave. And Americans have a history of emulating our presidents, from FDR’s enthusiasm to JFK’s haircut to Bush’s war fever.”
So when the President says, “A flyover of the G7 by the Red Arrows — an incredible sight,” without so much as acknowledging the negative impacts to the planet, he’s setting the tone, and thought processes, for all Americans.
It looked like it was, as he wrote on Instagram, “an incredible sight,” but the post was horrifyingly tone deaf. Essentially Biden said, “Well, you know, sometimes, on special occasions, it’s OK to emit more CO2 into the atmosphere.”
And that, to most progressives and climate activists, is heresy.
Whether it was his intention or not, Biden’s post endorsed emissions of CO2 that are worsening the human condition. Period.
The big deal? Oh, Just the Future of the Human Race.
Some readers are going to say, “It was just a flyover by the Royal Air Force. Big deal. What’s all the fuss about?”
Look. The fact is Biden never would have won the presidency without progressives and climate activists like the young people in the Sunrise Movement and middle-aged, middle-of-the-road Sierra Club members.
Many progressives and climate activists like me held our noses and voted for Biden because he was not Trump. But if he blows it with climate-change policies – which at the moment it looks like he’s doing in efforts to compromise with obstructionist Republicans on infrastructure legislation – he’s not likely to get anywhere near the same level of progressive and climate-focused grassroots support, not to mention votes, in 2024 as he did in 2020.