President Donald Trump signed an executive order today that seeks to destroy Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. The order represents a sweeping reversal of federal climate change policy, making good on Trump’s campaign promise to the fossil fuel industry to re-write dozens of major regulations in its favor—at the expense of billions of people and almost every species of life on Earth.
The Administration’s plans undermine numerous Obama-era initiatives. If the order is carried out as proposed, the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature environmental effort, would be gutted from every angle. Guidance from Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality (directing how agencies must incorporate climate goals into their actions) would be rescinded. Agencies would no longer have to account for the social costs of greenhouse gas pollution, which a Trump spokesperson dismissed as a “guesstimate.” Coal leasing would resume in force, and the current regulations on hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) for natural gas would be rolled back. The list goes on.
With the fate of our planet at stake, the environmental and conservation community is gearing up for an all-out defense.
While many of these steps can be undertaken immediately, many more will be challenged in court or are required to go through the process of public notice and comment.
IFAW will be asking our supporters to comment on individual rule changes as they come up and we look forward to your support and activism.
The new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, claimed in an ABC News interview that the moves would be “both pro-jobs and pro-environment.” There is no evidence to support the former—even coal company CEOs think that their industry is trending toward ever-increasing mechanization, while the now-surging renewable energy sector could be stifled under the new plan—and Pruitt’s “pro-environment” assertion is magical thinking at best.
During the 2016 election, Salena Zito of The Atlantic observed that Trump’s opponents and “the press take him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.” In his whirlwind three months in office, the president has proven both sides right—and wrong. The former long shot won the country’s highest office, and it is crystal clear now that Trump meant every word he said about his (deeply unpopular) climate policy goals.
The President has already scrapped planned taxes on coal mining and oil drilling, given mining companies the go-ahead to dump waste in waterways, approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access tar sands pipelines, and strongly hinted at rolling back vehicle fuel efficiency standards.
He has appointed climate deniers to lead (and dismantle) the EPA, the Department of Energy, and other powerful posts. Trump himself has stated that climate change is a hoax.
Today’s executive order is extraordinarily damaging to the planet, but there is one ray of hope—if only by omission: The Paris Agreement on climate change, the millennium’s most consequential environmental accord, was not addressed. Leaks from within the White House tell of internal battles over the agreement, pitting a moderate faction led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Ivanka Trump against hard-line climate deniers like Steven Bannon, the President’s chief strategist.
Last week, the International Fund for Animal Welfare sent a letter signed by more than 50,000 supporters urging President Trump to prioritize the planet, people, and wildlife over corporate profits. With the Paris Agreement still in the balance, we need to rally once more to drive home the message that Americans are horrified by these new executive actions—please join us by adding your name to the call for climate justice.
Article source: IFAW