“[…] number one since Teddy Roosevelt. Who would have thought, Trump is the great environmentalist?” …I am, I am. I believe strongly in it.”
President Donald Trump said these words at a speech in Jupiter, Florida, on Sept.8, 2020. Like he did then, Trump routinely claims that he is an environmentalist par excellence. But with the presidential election just 15 days away and a climate crisis more pressing than ever before, we’re going to examine the President’s environmental track record in two separate articles.
On June 1, 2017, President Trump promised to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an agreement among 195 nations to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. It should be noted that the US cannot officially withdraw until the day after the 2020 election in November.
Rolled back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards; and replaced the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan with regulations.
The Clean Power Plan was one of the Obama’s signature environmental policies. It required the energy sector to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, but in October 2017 it was rolled back by Trump’s EPA. Among the reasons cited were unfair burdens on the power sector and a “war on coal.”
In 2015, the Obama administration proposed to revoke all uses of chlorpyrifos, exposure to which studies had shown led to lower birth weight and reduced IQ, among a host of harmful effects. States like California and New York have taken steps to ban the pesticide outright.
Both changes were part of President Trump’s effort to fulfill his campaign promise to revive the U.S. coal industry.
In addition, Trump dropped a 1995 rule that forced companies to indefinitely match the lowest level of pollution set by their peers in the industry. With this “once in, always in” or OIAI rule eliminated, companies no longer have to continuously match the lower pollution targets.
The White House also reduced Obama-era fuel economy targets far below the emission caps of states like California. Trump has moved to sue these states in order to force them to lower their emission standards.
How do you think Trump has hurt the environment? Let us know in the comments below!
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