Energy & Environment

Trump’s anti-clean energy policies bring us to a moment of no return


In August, 2015, based on solid scientific research and facts, President Obama announced a historic step toward reducing carbon emissions which was lauded by the scientific and environmental community and as well as the majority of Americans.  The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), along with the historic Paris climate agreement, were important steps in slowing down the detrimental effects of man-made climate change on our planet.

Fast forward a year and a half.  Donald Trump and his head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, believe we no longer need the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

{mosads}Last Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order nullifying Obama administration-climate change efforts, and directed the EPA to begin the process of withdrawing from the CPP. During the ceremony, Pruitt stood by Trump’s side with a smile on his face.


The administration and Pruitt’s logic appears to be this: carbon emissions are down, so why continue regulating pollution? This logic is both nonsensical and short sighted.  

Here are the facts: by 2030, the CPP is projected to reduce coal- and gas-plant pollution by 32 percent, compared to 2005 levels. This is a landmark initiative, and a key step in transitioning towards the clean-energy future essential to our health and survival. Eliminating the CPP only reverses our efforts to combat climate change, an urgent problem threatening our planet, and perhaps the central issue of our time.

Americans do not want our climate regulations rolled back. Doing so would be bad for our health and our pocketbooks in myriad ways. This year, a Gallup poll found that close to a majority of Americans worry “a great deal” about climate change and 62 percent say the effects of climate change have already begun.

This concern is at a record high and is shared by Americans in all communities, with concern growing especially among communities of color, many of whom have seen their children grow up with more incidences of asthma and other health issues due to poor air quality in their neighborhoods.  

The fact is, scientific consensus has long loomed over the litany of politicians peddling science-denial rhetoric, yet they still shamelessly deny facts.

They want to line the pockets of the fossil fuel industry, plain and simple. But this is in direct conflict with the interest of most Americans, who want a healthy environment, and a planet protected indefinitely from climate catastrophe. Nonetheless, anti-science politicians have successfully convinced some folks that environmental regulations are job-killers and an unnecessary burden on our American economy.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

But alas, this is the world seen through a fact-free lens.

In the real world, clean energy progress has already created millions of good-paying jobs. Rolling back the CPP is merely a political stunt, a wolf in sheep’s clothing; a short-term gain for a small number of American workers, a big bonus for Big Coal and Big Oil and a long-term assault on our planet.

It seems as though the entire Trump administration is anti-science, without a sound mind on the subject to be seen.

Even Ryan Zinke, Trump’s Secretary of the Interior and champion of Public Lands, is too cozy with the coal industry to temper the administration’s outright hostility towards climate action.

It is baffling for public servants at the highest tiers of government to ignore the concerns of not only the majority of citizens, but most of our institutions.

Health officials warn of worsening cases of asthma and other respiratory diseases, longer allergy seasons, increased cases of heat-stroke, and insect- and water-borne diseases; the U.S. military is worried that possible food and water shortages will affect troops and lead to more war on a global scale; the financial sector warns that property losses from rising sea-levels will damage the U.S. economy.

Sea-levels are rising; species are becoming extinct; sea-ice and glaciers are vanishing. We all see it happening: drought, wildfires, storms, and floods. Remember, environmental protections are not altogether preventative — they’re largely meant to address what is happening now.

But Trump wants to turn climate change-denial into national policy. We are being led by an administration that ignores facts, and makes false promises to American workers.

During the ceremony last Tuesday, a group of coal miners stood behind Trump and Pruitt. Trump signed the order, turned to the miners, and said, “C’mon fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says? You’re going back to work.” This is a ruse.

Clean energy-progress is the real job-creator — regressive policies bringing us back to fossil fuels of the past are nostalgic and misleading, and betray our national interests. We have to step up our efforts to preserve the future of this planet, our children, and our species.

There can be a moment of no return.  Many scientists believe we have already reached it which is why they are clamoring so loudly at what President Trump is trying to do that will set us back years.  

If our current administration doesn’t take this seriously, we’ll have a tougher road ahead of us than we’d thought. We need to hold this administration accountable, and demand action on climate despite their negligence on the facts and the science.  

Our planet deserves better. And our children deserve nothing less.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags Clean Power Plan Climate change mitigation Climate change policy in the United States Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump Environmental policy in the United States Natural environment United States Environmental Protection Agency

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