The U.S. Election: The Winner and Possible Hope for the Environment

Deceit and its handmaiden mistrust are in the nature of man.  The US election last Tuesday is over; the counting took longer.  At first both candidates claimed to have  won Pennsylvania yet one has difficulty pronouncing it (and much else besides) and the other in spelling it . . . and much else besides.  Now one has declared victory supported by the media; the other has filed a lawsuit.  Guess who is who? 

Trump can feel the tightening of the noose and the loosening of his grip on power; he is not a graceful loser.  If it is not a clear-cut case, it will end up in the supreme court where there is now, after Trump’s recent appointment, a right wing majority.  The issue resides on what votes should be counted in Pennsylvania.

Some people contend that all votes mailed in before Tuesday November 3 should be counted; others believe only votes received by that date are valid.  Logic favors the latter because if anyone expressed an intention to vote in person before voting day but did not show up to do so, no one would accept his or her voting at a later date.  Think of November 3 as D-day when the votes are counted.  If some modern technological system was to be used and all votes cast in person or received by mail counted immediately, the election would be over on Tuesday. 

It took more than a month to sort out the election in 2000.  That was between George W. Bush and Al Gore.  The Supreme Court decided the issue and Dubya Bush became president. We went to war in Iraq and haven’t stopped since. 

There is other news in the world, most notably on climate change.  One figure stands out.  Were the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and glaciers to melt, the mean sea level in the world would rise by 215 feet.  Not to worry, those ice sheets are thick: 10,000 feet for Greenland 15,000 feet thick for Antarctica, so it will take a while for them to melt even though Greenland ice has been likened to a cube of ice floating in warm water with a blow dryer trained on it — the blow dryer representing the warming earth atmosphere, now 2C above pre-industrial levels. 

The fight against global warming has found an ally in Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.  In a letter to the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development summit at the end of September, he laid out a proposal to abate global warming.  First he called for an end to “perverse fossil fuel subsidies” urging business and political leaders to embrace carbon pricing.  He also called for scaling up carbon capture and storage technologies, sustainable urban development, a protection of the environment, and a focus immediately on solutions and their implementation. . . all of which long overdue. 

Donald Trump, a climate change sceptic, pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement, a withdrawal that became effective ironically on November 4, the day after the election.  Biden has promised to follow the recommendations of scientists.  

Dr. Arshad M. Khan
Dr. Arshad M. Khan
Dr. Arshad M. Khan is a former Professor based in the US. Educated at King's College London, OSU and The University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. Thus he headed the analysis of an innovation survey of Norway, and his work on SMEs published in major journals has been widely cited. He has for several decades also written for the press: These articles and occasional comments have appeared in print media such as The Dallas Morning News, Dawn (Pakistan), The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and others. On the internet, he has written for, Asia Times, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Eurasia Review and Modern Diplomacy among many. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in its Congressional Record.