I have to admit, I’m deeply concerned about the recent developments in North America’s politics under the Trump administration. The fact that President Trump flat out denies the existence of climate change is worrying enough on its own, let alone the other changes he’s planning to make, or already has. As White House budget director Mick Mulvaney put it, “Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward – we’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.”
When asked to rank in order the greatest challenges facing the United States with the options of Russia, China and radical Islam, he answered: ‘I’ll tell you one thing I know isn’t, it’s Global Warming, that’s the one thing’
Only a few days ago President Donald Trump signed an executive order denying climate change altogether. His justification? To put an end the ‘war on coal’ and ‘job-killing regulations’.
So what exactly does this order include?
- The ‘Rescission of Certain Energy and Climate-Related Presidential and Regulatory Actions’ (meaning President Obamas ‘Clean Power Plan’ and other policies put in place during his Presidency)
- The ‘Immediate Review of All Agency Actions that Potentially Burden the Safe, Efficient Development of Domestic Energy Resources’
- The ‘Review of Estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon, Nitrous Oxide, and Methane for Regulatory Impact Analysis’
- Oders the Interior Department to end a moratorium on new coal mine leasing on federal land
- Directs agencies to reconsider rules limiting emissions from hydraulic fracturing
- Kills guidance requiring climate change to be considered in environmental reviews for infrastructure projects
The signing follows the State Department’s approval (which happened without any environmental assessment) for the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which had been denied by President Obama in November 2015, over concerns of climate change. “If we’re going to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming not just inhospitable, but uninhabitable…we must act not later, not someday, but right here, right now,” Obama said.
From an environmental standpoint, this is incredibly problematic since the carbon-heavy tar sands crude the pipeline would transport would contribute millions of tons of extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year.
Trump has consistently hired climate deniers, energy company employees, and advocates of environmental deregulation for key positions. For example Scott Pruitt, who is now in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency and Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, now in charge of the department of energy. Texas is rich in energy resources, and Perry is an enthusiastic supporter of extracting them. Trump also handed the US State department over to ExxonMobil’s (American multinational oil and gas corporation) former CEO Rex Tillerson, who previously stated that ‘Words like Climate Consensus don’t mean anything to us’.
Some of the fossil fuel projects that Trump’s actions will either help to build or revive are a strip mine in Utah, two oil pipelines in the Dakotas, coal plants across the U.S., and a liquid natural gas export facility in Oregon. Meanwhile, we have a 1-Degree Celcius increase of Planet temperature and melting glaciers in Alaska.