The Top Five Worst Things Trump Has Done on Climate Change–So Far
1. Nominating Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator
In March, Scott Pruitt infamously said about carbon dioxide that “I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see”, in contradiction to climate scientists, including those at his own agency. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief has deep ties to fossil fuel interestsand joined with them on numerous occasions to challenge EPA pollution rules while attorney general of Oklahoma. He has opined that the EPA has become distracted from its core mission by climate concerns and has begin the process of ripping up Obama-era emissions regulations.
2. All change at the EPA
Trump’s proposed budget would cut the EPA’s budget by nearly a third, a move that many Republicans have called draconian. Climate and clean energy programs are earmarked for the scrapheap, with even the data collection process for companies’ greenhouse gas emissions wound down. Climate considerations in federal permitting have been abolished, measures to reduce methane emissions have been halted and new standards to improve fuel efficiency of cars and trucks have been suspended.
3. Starting the demolition of the clean power plan
An executive order in March demanded a review of the clean power plan in order to remove “regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production”. Trump has repeatedly vowed to dismantle the plan, which aims to curb carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Several analyses have shown that without the plan, the US will fail to cut emissions to the level pledged at the Paris agreement.4. Open up federal land and waters to drilling
Trump has instructed the interior department to review dozens of national monuments to see if they could be scrapped or resized to allow better access for oil and gas drilling. A moratorium on coal mining on federal land has been lifted while a bar on offshore drilling off the Atlantic coast is being reviewed. Trump’s budget also calls for drilling in the Arctic national refuge in Alaska, a plan that has dismayed environmentalists.
5. Approve pipelines
In one of his first acts of presidential pen wielding, Trump called for the rapid approval of the controversial Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. The two oil-carrying projects are now pushing ahead, with the Dakota Access pipeline already registering its first leaks before it is even fully operational.