Trump on the Environment

The agency, then under the control of Scott Pruitt, removed information it had held since 1997, but stated it as a temporary measure. More than a year later, the section seems to have been taken down altogether. According to a Newsweek article from earlier this month, more than 80 URLs have been removed from the EPA’s website, including the main page on climate change. There is also no longer search access to a web archive of past information.
Pruitt, who recently resigned due to controversial behavior2, has notoriously claimed that climate change might be beneficial to humans, a blatant contradiction to widely known risks of rising temperature trends. In an interview with KSNV Las Vegas earlier this year, Pruitt said, “I mean, we know that humans have most flourished during times of what?
Warming trends. I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing.”3 Pruitt’s replacement, Andrew Wheeler, is not much of an improvement when it comes to environmental advocacy. Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist who has frequently pushed against environmental safeguards and regulations for the coal industry. According to NPR, Wheeler’s critics as well as his supporters agree that he was selected by Trump to push forward the administration’s anti-environmental regulation initiative.
The goal of which is to limit worldwide temperature increases to around 1.5 degrees Celsius.5,6 Trump has continued his criticism and skepticism of widely presented data which shows urgent need for reformation of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, including coal and fossil-fuel production, transportation, and mining. Trump has called efforts for reform as “bad for the economy” and has stated on several occasions he is not convinced global warming is human caused.
Trump’s attempt to discount scientific consensus for his own economic benefit may leave many Americans confused, but in truth the scientific community overwhelmingly agree that climate change is not only a real and immediate threat, but that the primary cause is human activity.
According to James Lawrence Powell of the National Physical Science Consortium, 4 out of about 70,000 authors of peer-reviewed global warming articles rejected anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, which means the consensus among scientists is above 99 percent.9 The outlook may not be completely bleak, however.
Now that the Democratic party has overturned the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, climate change discussions are being brought back to the forefront and more emphasis will be placed on peer-reviewed scientific data, than deflections and boasts from a president who claims to have “a natural instinct for science.” House Democrats have announced plans to bring back the House Climate Committee, which was disbanded by Republicans in 2011. If the committee is revived, climate concerns might be better addressed with the necessary urgency to finally make some progress.
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