Monday, October 26, 2020

THE SCIENCE OF COVID19

By Anne Zeiser,
Founder of  Azure Media 
Founder of Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media


All of us have a responsibility to understand the science behind COVID19 and in particular, the value of the available public health protocols: diagnostic testing, surveillance testing (contact tracing), mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, isolating if infected, and quarantining if exposed. Following these proven public health measures is a matter of life and death. Already, this virus has killed nearly a quarter of a million people in the US (I’ve lost two friends to this virus and had four family members sick with it). 


Here is some of the undeniable math and facts of COVID19: 

1) COVID19 is a deadly virus. 

COVID19 is highly contagious. The R0 (R naught) is the epidemiological value of a disease’s replication rate in an uninfected population. (If the R0 is greater than 1.0, the infection increases exponentially and becomes an epidemic. Less than 1.0, the outbreak is more likely to peter out). 

The R0 value of COVID19 is close to 3.0 (significantly higher than MERS, and on par with SARS, which caused a global epidemic in 2003). That means an infected individual will spread COVID19 to about three people, each will spread to three more, and so on. Within several generations of spread, the outbreak becomes uncontainable. Once public health officials had this alarming R0 data in January 2020, they issued the clarion call for a possible pandemic. COVID19's high E0 is due to the virus’s airborne and sleuthy asymptomatic spread. Part of the virus's lethal profile is that many people have no or limited symptoms, and those who develop symptoms, don't until an average of six days after they're infected. These asymptomatic people are super spreaders. 

People who “feel fine,” yet are positive make COVID19 more dangerous than Ebola. Although Ebola kills about half of the people who contract it (about 50% mortality rate), it only spreads through bodily fluids and those who get it have such pronounced symptoms they’re easier to identify and isolate. While frightening and gruesome, Ebola results in significantly fewer total deaths  11,300 worldwide since the first outbreak in 1976. A virus like COVID19 can kill a quarter million people in just over half a year because it can reach more people, even though it kills a smaller percentage of those infected (about 5% mortality rate). The mortality rate of the Spanish Flu of 1918 was 2.5% (half of COVID19’s), yet it killed almost 50 million people worldwide. A virus's low mortality rate per infection doesn't mean it's less deadly overall. Its exponential spread is a lethal weapon. 

Also, comparisons of COVID19 to the yearly flu are duplicitous and dangerous. Influenza has a much lower spreadability (R0 of about 1.3) and kills 35,000 people in the US yearly, while COVID19 already has killed 220,000 people in the US in just seven months. Coronavirus is 11+ times more deadly than the yearly flu. 

Epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, and public health experts say that COVID19 is the most dangerous disease they’ve seen in their lifetimes. It’s clearly the greatest public health scourge of the past century. A healthy dose of fear, combined with fully understood and implemented scientific information and guidelines, are the most valuable public health tools available. 


2) The US is not consistently following public health guidelines. 

Our country's response to and public health behavior around COVID19 has been woefully inadequate, especially when considering the resources and know-how we possess. The US represents just 4.25% of the world’s population, yet we account for a shockingly disproportionate 20+% of the world’s deaths. We have higher death rates than many developing nations because we're not aggressively testing, consistently wearing masks, and uniformly social distancing in the face of an incurable deadly virus. Some of these basic proven public health behaviors like face covering, social distancing, and isolation/quarantine were used effectively to slow the spread of the Bubonic Plague. We're not acting as wisely and responsibly now as people did in the 14th century. 

Wear a mask. Stay apart. COVID19 is harbored in the respiratory system. That's why the virus's diagnostic test swabs your nasal passage. It is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets or airborne aerosol particles carrying the virus, which easily spread when you breathe, speak, laugh, sneeze, or cough near someone else. It's aerosol transmission makes it more contagious than many other viruses. The further away you are from someone else, the more their respiratory droplets or particles are diffused in the air  social distancing. The better the circulation of your environment, the faster they're diffused ➔ outdoors is safer than indoors. The more the respiration from your mouth and nose are covered, the more everyone's droplets and particles are blocked  mask wearing. 

Many peer-reviewed studies prove the efficacy of masks. Your wearing a mask protects both you and me. N95 masks and FDA-approved KN95s protect the wearer from 95% to 90% because they're tight-fitting and filter most of those particles upon inhalation. Hospitals need them for their staff because they do a good job of keeping workers safe even when they're exposed to ongoing, high viral loads. Surgical masks are second best in preventing the spread. Cloth masks are reasonably effective. Bandanas are only somewhat effective. Many infectious disease specialists say if they had to choose between a mask and a vaccine, they’d choose a mask (Dr. Christina Brennan. Dr. David Ho says they're on par with a vaccine). 

Check out the studies and guidelines about masks and social distancing at the CDC, NIH, WHO, Johns Hopkins, American Medical Association, Infectious Disease Society, JAMA, Lancet and other credible sites with peer-reviewed information. As you research COVID19, learn about the scientific method -- the empirical process (to question, research, hypothesize, experiment, analyze, conclude, report) that explores observations and answers questions. It has accounted for almost every scientific and technical advance in human history. Understand how peer review has replicated and validated scientific research and built scientific facts for 350 years. Armed with in-depth scientific understanding and research you’re less likely to fall prey to opinion and disinformation campaigns about COVID19 that are rampant on social media. Masks and social distancing are about science (and public health best-practices that apply that science); they’re not about opinion, belief, or politics. Those are entirely separate purviews.

While ill-informed and selfish, not wearing a mask is not breaking the law in most places. CVS and Walmart have more power of enforcement in denying you entrance to their premises without a mask. As we head into a winter with more indoor confinement and proximity, it's likely there will be more local enforcement of mask-wearing and revised CDC mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines. Whether mandated or not, use common sense and follow the science and public health guidelines: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, limit social gatherings, isolate if sick or exposed. Simple. Proven. Humane.

Test for the virus. The more reliable and immediate the COVID19 data from widespread diagnostic and surveillance testing, the better we can plan. With accurate testing and mitigating behaviors, we can lower the virus's R0 and manage the pandemic until herd immunity is achieved from a vaccine. 

The R0 is lower in countries and regions that strictly follow the science for preventing COVID19's spread. In lockdown and with careful adherence to public health best-practices, populations have been able to achieve an R0 of below 1.0 – the difference between exponential spread and containment. With an R0 above 1.0, the virus is winning the evolutionary arms race of its spread; below 1.0, science and human will are winning. 


Last April — after Germany’s swift and uniform implementation of ongoing testing, masking, and social distancing measures  the Robert Koch Institute determined that Germany’s R0 had dipped to 0.7 from a high of almost 3.0. With this data, Chancellor Angela Merkel carefully relaxed lockdowns and reopened small businesses. South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, and much of Europe regularly test their citizens and use their regional COVID19 R0 factor to inform policy decisions for managing fluctuating virus infections. With adequate testing infrastructure, molecular testing results are provided within 24 hours. Today, Australia, China, Denmark, and Israel are still maintaining an R0 below the critical 1.0 value.

 

But with the limited money, infrastructure, consistency, and emphasis on testing in the US, we are still behind the curve of understanding and managing the virus’s spread. A twisted form of political protest denies the science of COVID19 by flouting masks, ignoring social distancing, and quashing contact tracing (Donald Trump refused to let the CDC contact trace the October 2020 super spreader events at the White House and subsequent rallies). As a result, 40 of the 50 states have R0 values above 1.0 and deaths continue to rack up. Donald Trump's statements that COVID19 “is disappearing” or is "rounding the turn" simply are not true. With the average R0 value in the US at 1.3, we continue to be in an exponential growth pattern of a full-on pandemic as a second or third wave approaches. (Sacramento and San Bernardino, California are noteworthy areas of the US where the R0 is still below 1.0). 


To calculate the R0, researchers need regular and comprehensive data about infection rates. The metric that determines whether we're doing enough testing (a more important metric than the total number of positive cases) is the positivity rate – the percentage of total diagnostic tests conducted that are positive. The World Health Organization indicates that when positivity is above 5%, the level of testing is not keeping up with levels of disease transmission. Higher positivity rates suggest the likelihood of more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet. Generally, the higher the positivity rate, the higher the R0 value. 


The US’s positivity rate is above that 5% threshold, at 6.25%. No surprise our R0 is above 1.0. We're simply not testing enough. India, Chile, Uganda, Russia, Zimbabwe, Japan, Serbia, Finland, Canada, Turkey, Nigeria, Taiwan, and El Salvador, are just a sampling of the 44 nations with better positivity testing rates than the US. Super COVID19 tester countries with a positivity rate below 1% are South Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and Fiji. They are consistently and aggressively testing and contact tracing to stay ahead of the virus. 


3) We're in this time of risk and uncertainty for the long haul, so follow the science. 


COVID19 likes a cold dry climate and a contained environment for spreading. That's the definition of this upcoming winter in much of the world. Indoor mask-wearing may be in the offing. Unfortunately, beating COVID19 will take much longer than we hope or most people tell us. Epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists predict we're in for a super spreader winter and another year of COVID19-constricted life.

 

Here’s why it may take that long. There are many “what ifs” yet to be determined for a COVID19 vaccine. While researchers are moving faster on vaccine development than with any other vaccine and several vaccine candidates look promising, there are huge logistical and practical hurdles to the world’s population achieving herd immunity. Things like: 

  • If we’re lucky enough to identify some vaccines that are safe and work, what is their efficacy? 
  • Based on that percentage of efficacy, what percentage of the population needs to vaccinated to reach the herd immunity threshold? (The lower the efficacy of the vaccine, the higher the percentage of the population that needs inoculation. The most contagious of the widely known diseases is measles with an R0 of 15, so 95% of people need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity).  
  • Does the vaccine require one or two shots for efficacy? (If two, it may incur much more cost, effort, and time. Multiple shots require careful contact tracing of who's received the first vaccine to ensure the second dose is administered in the recommended time. Three of the current vaccine candidates require two doses). 
  • How long will immunity last? (The shorter that timeframe, the more likely new outbreaks will occur and the greater the need for more vaccinations). 
  • Does the vaccine need to be refrigerated? How many days after shipping does it need to be administered? (Cold temperature requirements limit the storage and shipping options for distribution, especially in rural areas, warm climates, and the developing world. This will require more money, personnel, and infrastructure. Pfizer's vaccine candidate needs to be stored at -94°F and Moderna's at -4°F). 
  • Who gets the limited supply of vaccines first and in what order? 
  • How long and what kind public-private partnerships will it take to manufacture enough vaccines and get everyone vaccinated?
  • Will enough people take the vaccine to achieve herd immunity? (According to a Harris-STAT survey, 42% of Americans would not take the vaccine right away based on safety fears).  
  • When is it safe to travel when only some populations have been vaccinated? 
  • How do you prove someone’s vaccinated in order to more safely open up schools, restaurants, courtrooms, movie theaters, airplanes, etc.? 
  • Who pays for all this, including in the poorest regions of the world? 

This list goes on. Altogether, this is Herculean. It will take time.

 

You might want to rail against this information. That’s understandable because you’re not hearing the truth much through the vitriol. But it's time to deal honestly with the facts of the most important issue at hand right now  an ongoing global pandemic. The truth is powerful. It can prepare us to hunker down for the slog ahead, as safely as possible. 


The good news, many of the best minds worldwide are working on developing an effective vaccine for COVID19. We have a better understanding of how the virus acts. Healthcare providers have more resources and are more knowledgeable about treatments for the very sick. But, it will be a long time before the world's population has been vaccinated and it's safe to go back to life as we knew it. We must exercise personal responsibility and do our part. Follow the science  wear masks, socially distance, wash hands, get tested, isolate if sick, quarantine if exposed  for as long as it takes. Don’t expect a jab in the arm for COVID19 in the next few months (but please get your flu shot to avoid the flu and minimize the confusion between the two illnesses). Do your best to keep each other safe and respect each other along the way.


By adhering to these public health best practices and aggressively conducting diagnostic and surveillance testing, we can limit and isolate pockets of infection. This can hold back transmission rates and save lives. Also we can boost the economy by avoiding national lockdowns and massive restrictive movements. More businesses and schools can stay open. It’s a win-win-win — improved physical, psychological, and financial health.

 

We’ve got to dig deep, pull together, and use the tools we have at hand. They are considerable: sound science and human will.


 




Monday, February 4, 2019

THE SUPER BOWL'S SOCIAL MESSAGES


By Anne Zeiser,
Founder of  Azure Media 
Founder of Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media

This year’s $5 million a pop Super Bowl spots delivered the requisite ads about cars, snacks, franchise movies, and beer en masse using the reliable devices of humor, celebrities, and CGI graphics. But a new mandate for Super Bowl ads has emerged in these tempestuous times –– ads with a social message.

While most spots played it safe, the brands and organizations that took the PR risk and dedicated the considerable funds to go socially conscious, went big and went high. Three of those social issue spots were clear standouts with strong narrative arcs, each underscoring relevant social themes.

Our Home-Our Planet

Budweiser’s “Wind Never Felt Better” combines three essential ingredients for this savory spot. First, Bob Dylan’s ‘60s protest classic, “Blowin’ In the Wind” proves emotionally gripping, ageless, and by the ad’s conclusion, a perfect fit for the overall message.  The anthem provides an entrĂ©e to the next key ingredient, Bud’s lovable animals.  The spot opens with a tight shot of the Budweiser Dalmatian traveling in a vehicle, languishing as the wind flaps his lips and ears.  It channels the trope of the funny dog-in-car ad, but as the camera zooms back we see the pup is atop an eight-in-hand Clydesdale-pulled beer wagon traversing a field (of barley). The viewer is already satisfied by seeing this display of equine power and beauty and the camera gives us what we want, training on the horses for a while. Finally, the camera pulls back again to reveal the third ingredient, unexpected wind turbines in the background of this heartfelt landscape.  At that moment, the music’s lyrics reach us at yet another level. The spot resolves to the messages, “Wind Never Felt Better” and “Now Brewed With Wind Power for a Better Tomorrow,” as the harmonica ends the song with a flourish. Simply brilliant. This one-minute film has the horsepower to remind us of our responsibility to Mother Earth and the need to combat climate change by using renewable energy. 
  
Those Who Look Different Are Able

The “We All Win” spot for Microsoft’s Xbox adaptable videogame controller starts with quick shots of kids introducing themselves. Just kids, it seems. Then it profiles nine-and-half-year-old Owen, whose father tells us he has a rare genetic disorder, Escobar Syndrome. Owen’s already undergone 33 surgeries and has visible physical limitations. In his own words Owen tells us who he is through common kid measures – how old he is, that he loves his friends and family, and that his passion is video gaming (repeats twice). Owen’s clearly not about his condition or any perceived disability; he’s about what he can do. And he brings his already introduced friends into the mix as we witness their animated video game session. Some of Owen’s friends are missing arms or hands, yet are able to play Xbox with the adaptive controller. Owen explains, “What I like about the Adaptable Controller, is now everyone can play.” Tears well up in Owen’s dad’s eyes, “He’s not different when he plays.” At a time when video gaming needs an image boost more than ever, Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller short story wins the game of placing gaming in a new light, demonstrating how accessible technology can make us all able-bodied. 

Facts Must Prevail 

Democracy Dies in Darkness” is the Washington Post’s Super Bowl installment of its ongoing multi-platform campaign (of the same name) about how facts beget enlightenment. The Jeff Bezos-owned stalwart of the Fourth Estate has taken the White House’s “fake news” assault on journalism, head on. Who more credible and honorable (among actors) to voice this spot than the inimitable, Tom Hanks? The simple, but powerful words and symbolic graphics of this one-minute social documentary show us how facts and the pursuit of truth underpin our grand American experiment:

When we go off to war. (Omaha Beach in WWII)
When we exercise our rights. (Selma Alabama Civil Rights protest)
When we soar to our greatest heights. (U.S. flag planted on the moon)
When we mourn and pray. (Casket lying in state in the Capitol rotunda)
When are neighbors are at risk. (Firefighters fighting wildfires)
When our nation is threatened. (Oklahoma City federal building bombing blast)
There’s someone to gather the facts. (Police in riot gear)
To bring you the story. (Various reporters in action from many media outlets)
No matter the cost. (Journalist profiles: Austin Tice, captured in 2012; Marie Colvin, killed 2012; Jamal Khashoggi, killed 2018)
Because…
Knowing empowers us. 
Knowing helps us decide. 
Knowing keeps us free. 
THE WASHINGTON POST- Democracy Dies in Darkness

This spot makes us tingle with pride about our democratic and journalistic legacy and feel steely resolve to use facts to stamp out the darkness of ignorance.

Other spots in Super Bowl LIII hit socially conscious notes, but these three were the most powerful. They were noticed and felt, trending on many online platforms and spawning considerable commentary and debate.  In an immediate Twitter post about the Washington Post spot, Donald Trump, Jr. opined about the mainstream media, “how about report the news and not their leftist BS for a change.” Scorching across social media, this comment made the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” spot’s very point. 
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Anne Zeiser is a critically acclaimed transmedia and social impact producer and media strategist. She’s stewarded films and iconic series for PBS, produced news for CBS, managed national brands for marketing firms, and founded Azure Media, which develops transmedia projects on air, online, and on the go that fuel social impact in communities, in schools, and in capitals. She’s the author of Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Mediafrom Focal Press’ American Film Market® Presents book series.
Follow Anne Zeiser on Twitter at @AzureMedia

Saturday, January 27, 2018

TRUMP'S CLIMATE ARGUMENT SHIFTS FROM SCIENCE TO ECONOMICS

COURTESY PICKABAY










By Anne Zeiser
Founder of Azure Media 
Author of  Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media


The semantics of climate change have evolved from global warming to climate change over the last 25 years, but have focused on the science. This week, Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, in which 194 countries pledged to step up their commitment to cutting carbon emissions. In his announcement, Trump reframed the discussion away from the science of fossil fuel’s effect on the environment toward economics:
“The Paris climate accord disadvantages the United States, to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production.”
Trump’s always planned on pulling out of the Paris accord because he’s a self-proclaimed America Firster; he’s cozy with the petroleum industry; and he thinks whatever Obama did is inherently bad. He chose an economic argument because he thought his background as a businessman would bestow unquestioned credibility upon him. Plus, his fake science and conspiracy theories might no longer fly.
But Trump’s economic argument for why it’s OK to sully the Earth and jeopardize our future is just as specious as his climate science reasoning, fixing him as the “laughing stock” of the world. Once again, Trump’s hubris has backfired: the science and environmental reality of climate change won’t go away; his fact-free economic reasoning is easily shredded; and pulling out of the Paris Agreement is wildly unpopular. The accord is supported by almost 70 percent of Americans, every major global economy, and scores of major U.S. and multinational corporations.
Trump’s alienated himself and the U.S. from most of the world by making a morally bereft and financially short-sighted decision about climate. But he’s made a fool of himself by making assertions about climate change based on Bad Science and Bad Economics, which simply don’t add up to sound arguments.
Bad Science
Trump has a legacy of misunderstanding and spewing bad science about climate change. He ignores decades of peer-reviewed scientific studies on global warming that predicted the climate change that’s happened. And he dismisses the current science on the state of the planet and future effects. Like fossil fuel advocates who push out misinformation andpeople who don’t understand climate science (Trump is both), Trump confuses weather and climate to try to disprove climate science:


Of course, weather is the short-term natural variations in temperature, clouds, precipitation, humidity and wind in a region and climate is the long-term average of those characteristics in a region. Meteorologists summarize it as, “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.” So, a snowstorm in the southern U.S. is a normal weather fluctuation and doesn’t disprove the growing trend of climate change. 
Trump regularly misstates the scientific facts, here suggesting the ice isn’t melting in the Arctic and Antarctic:
Ironically, the vast oil reserves beneath the Arctic are now drillable because global warming has melted the Arctic ice enough to reach them. In the many decades Big Oil was denying global warming, it was secretly preparing Arctic operations to reap huge profits from it. In 2012, Exxon Mobil’s former CEO, and current Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson forged a symbiotic relationship with Vladimir Putin to commence those operations. Trump’s stance on climate is reflected by his cabinet picks of four fossil fuel supporters from Texas and Oklahoma. It also may explain his bromance with Putin. Perhaps Trump’s shift in his anti-climate change argument from science to economics hints at his true agenda – personal economics.
In his Paris Agreement speech, Trump misstates the science again to suggest the global pledges wouldn’t have a significant effect:
“Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount.” 
The MIT scientists who published the April 2016 study Trump cited, actually reported that global warming would slow by between 0.6 degree and 1.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. That’s huge when the overall goal is two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 
When in doubt, Trump throws out inexplicable conspiracy theories, which appeal to the irrational. Here he blames the hoax of climate change on China:
All this adds up to Trump’s penchant for science fiction ― fueled by his lack of understanding of the scientific process and his unfettered pursuit of political and personal gain.
Bad Economics
Trump’s financial and jobs arguments aren’t any better. In his Rose Garden climate accord speech he relies on hyperbole, saying the Paris climate accord imposes “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the U.S.
If that were so, why would the U.S.’s economic leaders – from tech, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Intel, Hewlett Packard, and Adobe; manufacturing and infrastructure, GE, Johnson Controls, Ingersoll Rand; consumer products, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Tiffany, Levi Strauss, Mars, The Gap; financial services, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, The Hartford; automobile, Tesla, General Motors; and even fossil fuels, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and BP – all support the Paris Climate Agreement? None of these companies wants to be “hamstrung” or penalized.
In fact, 25 big companies placed full-page ads in major U.S. media outlets to urge Trump to stay in the pact. In their plea to stay in, they cite key economic reasons that obliterate Trump’s claims:
  • Strengthening Competitiveness: By requiring action by developed and developing countries alike, the agreement ensures a more balanced global effort, reducing the risk of competitive imbalances for U.S. companies.
  • Creating Jobs, Markets and Growth: By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth. U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets. Withdrawing from the agreement will limit our access to them and could expose us to retaliatory measures.
  • Reducing Business Risks: By strengthening global action over time, the agreement will reduce future climate impacts, including damage to business facilities and operations, declining agricultural productivity and water supplies, and disruption of global supply chains.
To make his assertions, Trump cherrypicks proof points without presenting the full picture. He says, “Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord ... could cost Americans as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025.” Referring to fossil fuel-associated industries, he further calls out his poster child, the obsolete coal industry, yet ignores the economics of the burgeoning renewables energy industry.
His math is simply inaccurate. According to a new report by the U. S. Department of Energy, solar power alone currently employs almost twice as many in the U.S. as coal, natural gas, and oil and petroleum combined. Adding wind and nuclear, clean energy outpaces traditional fossil energy jobs by almost three-fold. Advanced energy – seven business sectors committed to clean energy – employs 3.3 million in the U.S., while coal mining employs about 86,000.


Advanced energy is one of the most vibrant global industries, generating $1.4 trillion in global revenue last year, “nearly twice the size of the airline industry, equal to apparel, and close to global spending on media, from newspapers to movies to video games,” according to Navigant research. And it’s growing twice as fast as the overall economy (7 percent vs. 3.1 percent). An International Renewable Energy Agency report predicts that global renewable energy will nearly triple employment by 2030 to 24 million jobs. If unfounded dire economic predictions aren’t enough, Trump heightens fear or anger towards perceived enemies. He suggests that China and India aren’t being held to the same standards as we are:
“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants but they can. According to this agreement, India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours.”
Context matters. China and India are behind the rest of the developed world in having access to cleaner technologies, but are working at lowering their emissions at breakneck speed. To catch up, China’s now building a new green power infrastructure as big as the U.S.’s entire electric grid. China’s also pledged $3.1 billion in aid to the U.N. Green Climate Fund to help climate-vulnerable countries (now, the U.S. won’t honor most of its $3 billion pledge). China’s already shown exceptional climate and clean energy global leadership and is poised to fill the big void that Trump created by pulling the U.S. out of the accord. India plans to source 40 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030, passing Japan as the third largest solar market behind China and the U.S. 
Finally, Trump resorts to blatant scare tactics. He says the U.S. “will be at grave risk of brownouts and blackouts.” Two of the country’s biggest providers of electricity to industries and consumers, National Grid and Schneider Electric, support the Paris Climate Agreement. They understand that using combined energy sources during the transition will prevent against blackouts. 
All this adds up to fuzzy math and “Trumped up” economics fueled by Trump’s fear of innovation and his patent disregard of the future. It’s as if he’s advocating for the long-term future of the manual typewriter while the personal computer is flourishing and demonstrating its promise. 
During his Paris climate accord announcement, Trump asks, “At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?” If not at previous inflection points, surely it was the moment Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. France’s President, Emmanuel Macron captured the world’s sentiment with his slogan, “Make The Planet Great Again!”

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Anne Zeiser is a critically acclaimed transmedia and social impact producer and media strategist. She’s stewarded films and iconic series for PBS, produced news for CBS, managed national brands for marketing firms, and founded Azure Media, which develops transmedia projects on air, online, and on the go that fuel social impact in communities, in schools, and in capitals. She’s the author of Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Mediafrom Focal Press’ American Film Market® Presents book series.
Follow Anne Zeiser on Twitter at @AzureMedia

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post