Environmental Impact: Trump Administration Takes Steps to Dismantle Climate Regulation


Photo by © Christian ≈slund / Greenpea

A semi submerged Statue of Liberty in the Arctic Ocean draws attention to the effects of climate change on rising sea levels, as world leaders are about to gather in New York for the Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The melting of Arctic glaciers and ice sheets contributes directly to global sea level rise. The photo was taken in the Arctic Ocean northwest of Svalbard the 7th of September 2014.

By Carmen Blum

By Carmen Blum- OPINION –

The logo of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The effects of climate change are undeniable to anyone who so much as galnces at the immense and peer reviewed science backing it. According to the Sierra Club article “Trump Attacks Climate Plan, But We Won’t Go Backwards” by Mary Anne Hitt, temperatures are steadily breaking record highs around the world. The last three years have been progressively hotter than the year before and the hottest ones in human history. Sea levels have risen twice as much in the last decade than in the entirety of the twentieth century. And the great barrier reef is now almost completely dead or dying because of over heated sea water. Ever since the Industrial Revolution the temperatures in our planet have been on the rise.  Despite this truth, we now have a President controlling our country who, according to the Politifact article titled, “Yes, Donald Trump really did call climate change a Chinese hoax,” by Louise Jacobson, has stated that humans impact on global warming has been “greatly exaggerated,” that it is “a hoax invented by the Chinese,” and who has sworn to destroy climate change regulation in America. But the question remains: with the new regulation what is America’s Climate Future?

The front of The Peoples Climate March in New York City. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

A major concern for most about the future of our planet is Donald Trump’s plans for the Paris Climate Summit Agreement. The Paris Agreement, which President Trump pledged to “rip up” during his campaign, is an international treaty 20 years in the making. It was signed in 2015 by 144 countries of the 197 parties that were present- this 144 contains all of the main culprits of global pollution. The goal is to combat global climate change by keeping the atmosphere below two degrees Celsius above pre industrial temperatures. Every country under the agreement has formally submitted a plan detailing how they will lower their pollution.

The Obama Administration pledged that the United States – as the second largest polluter on Planet Earth- would reduce its carbon emissions by 26% between 2005 and 2025. However, this promise depended on the action of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of coal fueled power plants – a regulation that President Trump has promised to destroy.

Despite his blaring campaign speeches, inside the White House the President’s advisors are split on the Paris Agreement. On one side of the argument is the President’s Senior Advisor Steve Bannon- the brains behind the attempted Muslim Ban- who according to the Economist article “Environmental Policy Under Donald Trump,” by M.S.L.J is putting on the pressure to pull out of the historic agreement.  However, this advice conflicts with the advice of The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and that of Ivanka Trump who have both argued on more than one occasion that removing the United States from the Agreement could have “broader and damaging diplomatic ramifications.” And would serve as a devastating blow to the credibility of the U.S. in the eyes of our most essential allies, seeing as according to The World Research Institute all but two countries on Earth have signed this agreement.

But regardless of President Trump’s decision on whether or not to secede from the Paris Agreement, according to Inhabitat he cannot technically remove the United States from it despite what he has so brazenly boasted. He can however set in motion the four-year process of removing the United States- the world’s largest economy and second largest polluter- from this historical treaty dedicated to fighting the self-inflicted plague of global warming.

Two protesters at the March for Science in Lincoln on April 22 pose with their signs. Photo courtesy of Nathalie. Smith.

Although this may come as a relief to many, the Paris Agreement is not the only Planet First initiative that the Trump Administration is targeting, or has already slashed down. On the campaign trail he vowed once again to “tear up”- which seems to be an old favorite phrase of our newest president- the global warming policies of former president Barack Obama. And once in office, President Trumps first step to carrying out this plan was appointing Scott Pruitt- a known skeptic of global warming with deep ties to the company and oil giant Exxon Mobil- as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He then proceed to institute deep cuts into the budget of the EPA with plans to further slash its budget by 25% and fire 20% of its staff according to the EPA website. There are also plans to kill off or defund almost two dozen programs of the EPA including climate partnership programs with local governments, The Clean Power Program- which according to the EPA website is a United States Program initiated by the Obama Administration with the aim to reduce carbon pollution from power plants- and Climate Change Research- which improves knowledge of the health and environmental effects of climate change.

The campaign promises that President Trump made, damning the United States’ environmental programs and initiatives, are now coming to pass. And many of us are now coming to the realization that our new President is a man of his threatening word. “These policy changes are actions that ignore our responsibility to future generations for there to be a diverse and healthy planet,” said Lincoln High science teacher Bryan Penas and sponsor of the Green Club. “If followed for very long, they will reduce the quality of life for those future generations.”