THE BLOG

Trump Will Trigger A Massive Wave Of Climate Action

11/18/2016 02:01 pm ET

What's the answer to Donald Trump? It's a critical problem -- and one that climate activists have already started to solve. Just one week after Trump's shocking victory, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

From Los Angeles to Berlin -- and in hundreds of other cities across America and around the world -- we gathered to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux in their battle against this dangerous and horribly unjust pipeline under construction in North Dakota.

This $3.7 billion conduit for fracked crude oil will threaten both the Sioux's water supply and our planet's climate. But for Trump, this dirty deal could yield huge profits: The president-elect is invested in a company with a substantial stake in the project.

Trump's financial ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline underscore his threat to the climate. And that threat will only grow, as he's made clear by filling his advisory team with a rogue's gallery of climate change deniers and oil lobbyists.

But something else is growing. As I marched with pipeline protesters in Los Angeles, I saw strength and anger and determination. Trump's deadly contempt for our planet is already unleashing grassroots climate action like nothing America has ever seen before.

That movement was already building before the election. The Standing Rock Sioux's pipeline fight is part of a growing grassroots effort to hold governments accountable for all the environmental damages of drilling, fracking and mining.

Communities have won fracking bans, persuaded schools and local governments to divest from fossil fuels, and blocked or delayed oil-train projects and coal-export terminals.

State governments are mounting bold efforts to encourage renewable energy. And cities are finding innovative ways to reduce fossil fuel use and production. San Francisco, for example, just approved a plan to convert an oilfield on city-owned land in Southern California to solar energy production.

At the national level, the climate movement does face tough challenges under a Trump administration. The incoming president wants to pull America out of the Paris climate agreement and abandon efforts to cut pollution from power plants and automobiles.

But reversing America's progress on climate will be much harder than the president-elect may imagine. We're a nation of laws, and Trump can't just wave away environmental regulations. Judges -- and even some Republican members of Congress -- will be skeptical of efforts to gut measures that protect the air we all breathe, as well as our climate.

Above all, there is the simple fact that global warming gets tougher to deny every single day as it threatens everything we hold dear.

Indeed, climate change is already affecting almost every living thing on Planet Earth, according to a massive new study published in the journal Science just after Trump's victory.

The study shows that, from individual genes to entire ecosystems, global warming is inflicting broad and irreversible damage. Migratory routes are changing, animals are shrinking, species are being pushed toward extinction. Humans are not exempt, since even critical food crops and fisheries face growing uncertainties and decreasing productivity.

That's why we fight -- because climate change and dirty fossil fuels threaten our planet's most precious things. It's all on the line, from clean drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux to our nation's food supplies to the animals and plants that make up our world's web of life.

Those growing dangers are why America will not walk away from action against global warming -- and why the global climate movement will burst through the roadblock that is Donald Trump on the road to climate justice and a clean energy future.

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