Paris agreement is longer than 4 years

President Trump told us he didn’t believe in climate change, yet he was elected.

The Paris agreement is the most profound global effort to combat climate change and now only three countries are not involved in that agreement; Syria, Nicuagra and USA.

President Obama made healthcare and climate change the focus of his presidency and President Trump has undone these years of work in just over 100 days in office.

Obamacare was controversial at least among some Americans but climate change is science. Science is not controversial, it is fact. This time there are no alternative facts. The earth is getting warmer, the sea levels are rising and more extreme weather events are occurring, fact.

Climate change is bigger than President Trump and the challenge will last longer than four or even eight years of a Trump Presidency but the pertinent question is how far will America be behind by then?

Advances in renewable energy, sustainable travel and reducing greenhouse gasses will be made around the world. America will no doubt catch up. America will pay billions of dollars to catch up with technologies and industry but it will be their taxpayers that must pay for the decision made yesterday.

America, once a world leader is now regressive in comparison to their allies in Europe and Asia. China is now propelling the Paris Agreement. Europe and Canada continue to take in refugees and integrate them in to society while America attempt to build walls and ban travel from Muslim-majority countries.

Donald Trump essentially undermines the work of NASA and their scientists. #

NASA report on climate change

Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

The withdrawal of America from the Paris Agreement is just the latest example of the polarization of America from the rest of the western world. This polarization can continue or the next President will spent their first 100 days returning America to where it was in 2015 and hope the rest of the world hasn’t moved on too far.

Student travel is crucial. Now more than ever!

The terrorist attack in Manchester was the most horrific of attacks on the youngest members of society.

Chat shows in the UK have run interviews with mothers and children asking if they are too scared to go to concerts, sporting events or Disneyland for fear of terrorists.

If we read the news and the news only we become locked in this cycle of bad news and stereotypes. That is not the fault of the news, it is not their responsibility to tell us every detail, good or bad, in every country around the world.

If students, and indeed and other groups in society, travel and meet people of different views and beliefs we can begin to break down these barriers in our society.

It is up to people to show the terrorists that fear will not stop travel and understanding and it is also up to people to show their fellow citizens that resorting to hatred brand-all rhetoric is not helpful either.

We are in a position to travel, we are in a position to vote, we are in a position to learn new languages and try new foods. It seems irresponsible to base our opinions of world affairs on what is written in any newspaper when we have all of this at our disposal.

These two issues may seem separate but they are not. For simplicity, a narrative of ‘The West’ vs ‘Terrorists’ has evolved. Nobody wants terrorism and those responsible should be brought to justice.

We must not be deterred from expanding our knowledge of other peoples, cultures and beliefs. We must make an effort to enjoy the good in life without fear.

I have heard people say they would never travel to France as “It’s too dangerous” “There isn’t enough police on the streets” etc from people who have never been to France.

I have heard people shocked that the Army are on the streets of Britain but when I tell them it is the same in Paris and Rome they don’t already know that because the news never said so.

The world is far bigger than what can be shown on any television station or indeed all television stations. The world is far larger than what can be covered on the internet but it is no longer too large to visit.

Do it for selfish reasons, break down the barriers you have inherited by osmosis from your news station and boast about what you know about Italian food or Judaism from your trips to Italy or Israel. If each person who can do this does and we all talk about it we will begin to get a far more realistic version of reality than the news can show.

 

Bravery 

Bravery is a strange concept which will mean different things to different people. 

Yesterday’s events in London will again highlight bravery. PC Keith Palmer stood at the gates of Westminster when he was attacked by Khalid Masood. 

PC  Palmer stood in the way of danger and paid the ultimate price for his act of bravery. 

Many people rightly acknowledged the bravery of politicians and pedestrians who stopped and offered assistance where possible. These acts are once off acts neccessary because of the extraordinary evil attacks. The bravery of PC Palmer was a part of his daily life as it is for every member of the emergency services. 

Tuesday 14th March saw an equally heroic display of bravery. Rescue 116 helicopter crashed while providing support in a rescue mission off the west coast of Ireland. Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was killed and the rest of her crew are still missing presumed dead. 

Captain Fitzpatrick and her crew risked their lives every time they responded to an emergency call. Just like PC Palmer, Captain Fitzpatrick paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety of others. 

Irish naval teams now stand ready to dive and hopefully recover the wreckage of the helicopter and the bodies of its crew members, Mark Duffy, Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby. Even this naval team must risk their lives to find answers for the families of rescue 116 but they are doing so willingly. 

Bravery comes in many forms and sadly we are seeing need for more and more bravery from our emergency services round the world. From doctors in Syrian hospitals and Afghan police to PC Palmer and Captain Fitzpatrick the world needs bravery to protect us from harm even if that means risking harm to themselves. 

World leaders will talk and praise the actions of their heroes and rightfully so but tomorrow or in six weeks, months or years a police officer will still stand in the way of harm or raise their gun in defence, a rescue team will still fly through rain and darkness to help those in need. 

It is not economics or budgets or accents or race which make people decent or a country what it is, it is the response of it’s citizens and the bravery of its heroes. 

The reaction to Trump’s congress speech is unwise

Trump doesn’t like the media.

That’s hardly breaking news. I have read multiple opinion pieces about how the way to prove him wrong is to stick to good quality journalism.

Fact-checking, using multiple sources, ethics and all the other attributes associated with journalism are going to prove him wrong. I agree.

So it is the day after Trump’s first speech to the joint congress. Trump toned down his stance on some issues and didn’t on others but it was undoubtedly one of his better speeches.

So today he got credit from the ethical press he hates so much right? No. It would be immensely difficult to praise a man who has been so horrible to the media but that is what must be done.

If the media is critical of President Trump for the “wrong” things he says but is also critical of him when he says the “right” thing, then he will have proof or at least evidence that the media don’t like him and therefore can’t be trusted to report on him.

Irish journalist Fintan O’Toole used the phrase “Feel Bad Feeling” (FBF) when talking about Donald Trump. O’Toole says Trump loves bad news because he can then present himself as having the answer or solution to the bad news.

It’s clever but he is hardly the first politician to do it. The media continue to feed him bad news.  The President is turning the bad news into ammunition and taking aim straight back at the media.

Starving him of his ammunition may be the only way to stop the onslaught on the media.

Alternative Facts and Fake News

We are so used to seeing “FAKE NEWS” at the end of one of Donald Trump’s erratic tweets that we may not realize how many others are using fake news and alternative facts.

During Brexit, the remain and the leave campaigns had entirely different figures on immigration. The public were given two figures for one subject. One was right and one was an alternative fact. It’s hard to spot the difference.

In Ireland, the Government released a waiting list for patients waiting on hospital care. An investigation by RTÉ, the state broadcaster, found the actual number to be higher if you considered those with an appointment date but still waiting. Again we have two lists, two different figures. Depending on your political or personal beliefs, one is a fact and the other is an alternative fact.

We could continue with a list of examples of alternative facts but the point is that alternative facts stem from dishonesty from the political elite. If the remain and leave campaigners have different numbers on immigration they should state clearly how they came to those figures.

  • Do they include British citizens returning home from emigration?
  • Do they include people who arrive in Britain just for a connecting flight?
  • Do they exclude Irish people because of the Common travel agreement?

All these questions can lead to different answers and skewer the final figure and ultimately skewer public opinion. That of course is the aim of the politicians and their spin-doctors.

Fake news is different. Fake news is a lie. The infamous “Bowling Green Massacre” was a lie. Fake news is an attempt to smear the opponent and it appears if you are caught spreading fake news the punishment is minimal. So why not give it a go?

Fake news also keeps journalists and reputable news outlets chasing and investigating stories which do not exist and, as a result, take resources away from the stories that matter.

Following the inauguration of President Trump, the main broadsheet newspapers were discussing the “Fake News” of the crowd size on the Hill. Meanwhile, President Trump was signing executive orders under the radar.

It is up to reputable news organizations not to chase fake news and alternative media down the rabbit hole. Solid reporting will win out. But! In a war of opinion, alternative facts and fake news there will only be one winner.

How Trump created his own media

President Trump has made an enemy of the media, something previous presidents would have done at their peril but not President Trump.

Trump has used Twitter to announce the signing of executive orders and basically had a diplomatic argument with Mexico over social media. The use of Twitter has allowed President Trump to say whatever he wants and the media are constantly reacting. Twitter is allowing Trump to set the agenda.

I probably should point out that this is not a pro or anti-Trump post. I am interested in how he has manipulated the media to get himself in the oval office and how he is continuing to do so.

In a world of brevity and 24 hour news cycle, the media has often been sensational on Trump and at times been incorrect or unfair. In a week of executive orders on the environment, abortion, Mexico, voter fraud and more the media was sidelined by the size of crowds at the inauguration.

“Fake News” and “Alternative Facts” were two phrases which threw the global media into a frenzy while Trump continued to sign executive orders. If the media use facts and logic to challenge Trump instead of getting caught in sound bites and crowd size arguments then his presidency will be truly challenged.

The media should also recognize that the orders Trump are signing were ones he promised on the campaign trail so we should not be surprised and we should probably stop acting like every American is disgusted with his actions. A lot are, the majority are but he won the election on those promises. If the system is flawed you can’t blame Trump for that.

The rest of the world needs to realize America is important but we need to focus on ourselves and voting for people we want to run our country. President Trump will almost certainly only last 4 years so the media needs to hold on to their values and not be caught in the social media war with Trump.

 

Ice resistant economics

In the billions of years our planet has existed, it has seen some bad times, the extinction of whole species, the ice ages Etc. This week will not rank among the greatest for our planet.

Firstly, Donald Trump was elected president and he does not believe in global warming. Part of me hopes he doesn’t believe in it because if he believes it and just doesn’t care that is worse.

President-elect Trump has pledged to cut funding to prevent global warming and pledged to dismantle the EPA. Trump referred to the human effects on global warming as a “hoax”.

 

This is concerning! That was an understatement.

Barrack Obama cared about global warming. It was a signature issue for him and yet during his presidency, very little was agreed. Imagine what will happen when there is a President who doesn’t even believe there is a problem.

As much as some people may want to blame Trump for global warming as well as everything else, this one is not on Donald. We made a mess of this before he was ever even born and it looks like we will be making a mess of it long after he leaves the Oval office.

Today EPA announced Ireland would exceed their greenhouse gas emission limits for 2020. Minister Denis Naughton was not worried and said the right legislation is in place to solve the emission crisis by 2050.

The problem here is that the issues are getting pushed down the line when we don’t have time. If Trump dismantles the EPA and cuts funding, he will set us back years. It will be 4 possibly 8 years before there will be an attitude change in the White House.

By the time 2050 comes around and we eventually see if Minister Naughton is correct about global warming, he won’t be in office and nobody will remember what he said today.

Global warming are two words I have been hearing my whole life but the issue seems to take a permanent back seat when other issues come up. Who cares about global warming when a budget is being announced or a new president is being elected?

The irony is, we are focusing on things that will not exist if we do not address global warming. The dinosaurs could have had the most advanced banking system and stock market ever! It wouldn’t function quite as well covered in ice. What do I know maybe Donald Trump will create ice resistant economics?