Finally, we are getting some FACTS out of the White House. Noted environmentalist and nepotistic grifter Ivanka Trump dropped some KNOWLEDGE on Twitter on Tuesday.
The daughter of the president let it be known that greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 9.2% this year, mentioning the Environmental Protection Agency to give it some extra authority. That, folks, is a truth bomb we could all learn from, straight from the bird app to our brains. The incoming Biden administration should take notes from the plucky adviser to the current president that [checks notes] failing to address a once-in-a-generation pandemic and killing more than 250,000 Americans is a surefire way to address climate change.
The Trump administration has spent the past four years dismantling climate rules, propping up the fossil fuel industry, and otherwise terrorizing the natural world. Over the past eight months, it’s also largely neglected addressing the pandemic, propping up conspiracy theorists rather than actual scientists. So while it’s particularly rich for Ivanka to suddenly tweet about some perceived climate gain, it’s definitely on-brand with how the administration has treated the pandemic.
It’s also on-brand to treat this as some smashing success, ignoring the huge toll of the virus on American life. Let’s talk about some more FACTS. More than a quarter million Americans have died due to a mismanaged pandemic that White House has treated as a PR problem and not a public health one, and it’s getting more dire by the day. For comparison, that’s the entire population of Reno, dead. The pandemic is projected to be a $16 trillion hit to the economy. A quarter of the people in Rhode Island can’t feed themselves right now, underscoring a national crisis; one in six Americans are facing hunger due to the pandemic. Yet talks to provide people with relief have evaporated due to Senate Republicans and no political will from Ivanka’s dad, who spent the weekend golfing rather than attend the G20 session focused specifically on the pandemic.
Of course, Ivanka is right that emissions dropped—because millions of people have no money and nowhere to go and most of those that do are afraid of getting sick with a disease that could cause long-term consequences despite the Trump administration pretending everything is fine. Transportation is the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and empty roads have meant cleaner air and lower carbon pollution levels. Energy use hit its lowest level since 1989 this spring. The oil industry—another massive source of pollution—has also been in free fall because there’s no demand for its product. So sure, emissions dropped.
But the Trump administration has funded a dirty recovery that could make the “gains” in emissions cuts temporary. Globally, the dip is likely to be a “blip” of a drop, according to researchers. Touting that drop as some kind of accomplishment hearkens back to the early pandemic days and the woefully misguided the “humans are the virus” meme. Why Ivanka is re-upping it now is beyond me. Maybe she just wasn’t online much back then, which, honestly, good for her.
Or maybe this is it, the great Ivanka climate awakening we’ve been waiting for. From the get-go of her father’s administration, anonymous sources that are totally not her have painted her as someone who really cares about climate despite her never appearing to have taken an interest publicly. A 2016 puff piece in Politico titled “Ivanka Trump, Climate Czar?” kicked it off, but the trail of nebulous, vague stories about Ivanka caring about the climate continued even into last year.
Sure, Tuesday’s tweet is the first time she has ever tweeted anything that could remotely be eschewed as her understanding the causes of climate change, let alone caring about them. And yes, it’s extremely terrible to pretend the drop in emissions due to a pandemic that has left the country in shambles while Republicans fail to put a relief package together is a good thing. But maybe she’s still working through how this caring about people and the environment thing works. Or maybe she’s just really invested in ecofascism, which seems like a logical endpoint for Republican climate policy. Luckily, she’ll have plenty of time to do just that after Jan. 20, 2021.