Trump Wants to Stop Giving Climate Change Much Consideration
You know what’s been getting in the way of making America great again? All that time wasted worrying about the looming effects of climate change! If the government could instead focus on other, more important issues, just think of what they could accomplish!
That first paragraph is dripping with sarcasm on my part. Alas, that’s not the case for Donald Trump. Bloomberg reports that Trump plans to soon reverse environmental procedure that requires government agencies to factor climate change into their decisions.
Perhaps this move should be expected from a president who once dismissed climate change as a Chinese hoax and an Environmental Protection Agency leader who last week disputed that carbon dioxide is a main contributor to climate change.
During his tenure, President Barack Obama instituted a policy that required agencies to consider how proposals could potentially impact climate change. That administration made sure that agencies took into account the “social cost of carbon” since the actions of today will have financial repercussions later. That figure is $36 per tonne of carbon, set to increase to $50 over the next 13 years.
By disregarding the long-term effects of carbon emissions, the administration will have a much easier time pushing through projects that immediately stimulate the economy, like transcontinental pipelines and drilling for oil. Agencies can also more easily repeal other environmental rules like regulations on coalmines when climate change isn’t being considered.
If this policy change is formally adopted as White House sources have indicated, the Trump administration might as well be declaring, “Climate change doesn’t exist.”
Wanting climate change not to exist doesn’t make it so, though. Essentially, this administration is trading away the health and security of future generations so that corporations can make profits now.
Fossil fuel advocates are preemptively applauding this policy change, contending that Obama’s requirements were too burdensome on the government to achieve anything. “Obama created such a labyrinth of rules and orders and regulations to cement his agenda across practically every agency,” said Tom Pyle of the American Energy Alliance.
Of course, the fossil fuel industry has the most to gain financially when the government declines to consider the consequence of climate change, so really any complaining about how burdensome the rules are could be chalked up as self-serving. Implementing regulations – even complex ones – to protect the health of the planet is good, not dastardly.
There’s not really a positive way to spin this story. With time running out, we need a leader of the free world to be an environmental ally. Somehow, however, we’ve wound up with a president who is not just indifferent to climate change, but seemingly antithetical to it.
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