The climate debate and impeachment

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(L) U.S. President Donald Trump talks with U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as he departs after delivering his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (R) Alaskan Pipeline. Photo credit: "Supreme Court Justice Chief Justice John Roberts" by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters and "Alaskan Pipeline" by Ryan McFarland/ (CC BY 2.0)

Faced with the third impeachment trial in American history, President Trump says he’s no longer a climate denier. But he’s still rolling back environmental protections. In addition, LA Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik reports that Trump’s Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to prevent shareholder actions against companies that heat up the planet.  

In the meantime, Trump’s would-be Democratic challengers are debating climate change -- when reporters give them a chance. During the latest debate, candidates tried to bring up the issue, but moderators pushed them into yet another discussion of Medicare for All.  

That’s all too common, according to Mark Hertsgaard, head of Covering Climate Now, a journalists’ group pushing for more attention to what he calls “the defining issue of our time.” He claims prospective voters want an entire debate devoted to that one issue. Hertsgaard gives credit to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer for making the right kind of proposals. But he says Joe Biden, Amy Klobochar, and “especially” Pete Buttegieg are not keeping up with the science. 

But the impeachment trial is now front and center.  The House has made charges and the Senate will hold a trial -- with the Chief Justice John Roberts presiding. But the Constitution and Senate rules will prohibit America’s senior jurist from acting like a judge. Roberts’ biographer, Joan Buskipic, says he won’t let his conservative inclinations rule, but  “he’ll try to do nothing that would steer the ultimate resolution for Donald Trump toward a conviction or an acquittal.”




Warren Olney


Andrea Brody