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The Milton Measure

Climate Change is Not a Chinese Hoax, is Extremely Important

by on Friday, April 14th, 2017

Since April is Earth Month, one might expect people to make an extra effort to raise awareness about climate change; however, the Trump Administration seems to be taking the opposite approach. On March 28th, Trump signed an executive order that reverses much of the Obama administration’s policies that aimed to combat and prepare for the inevitable effects of climate change. In addition, Trump’s proposed budget plans to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by $2.5 billion, on top of laying off 25% of its employees.

In 2015, Obama established the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to have reduced carbon emissions from power plants by 32% from 2005 levels in 2030. In addition, the plan put responsibility on states to reduce their carbon footprints and incentivized the use of clean energy. Clean energy has become vitally important in combatting climate change. In reference to the highly detrimental effects that carbon emissions have on the environment, Dylan Paul (I) noted, “Sustainable energy really counteracts one of our biggest and hardest to fix problems.” Trump’s executive order effectively ends the Clean Power Plan. According to a CNN article from March 2017, the order also puts many other pieces of climate-saving regulations, such as the 2016 presidential memo that required that climate change be considered when making national security policies, in jeopardy.

Additionally, as noted by an InsideClimate news article from April 2017, the proposed budget would completely wipe out voluntary partnerships made within the automobile and appliance industries. These partnerships were made in an effort to curb methane emissions and the use of environment-harming chemicals. This change seems especially drastic, since the EPA reported that transportation and residential carbon emissions made up a combined 38% of the United States’ total carbon emissions in 2014. Moreover, 87% of government-funded research into air, climate, and energy will be cut.

The United States’ withdrawal from the international resistance against climate change also affects relations with international powers such as China and the European Union, since Trump’s policies actively go against the 2015 Paris Agreement, an agreement in which 195 countries made a legally binding deal to work together to limit global carbon emissions. Since the signing of this executive order, many countries have expressed their anger over the United States’ failure to adhere to the agreement, especially since the U.S. was originally the leader of the global initiative. Pierce Wilson (III) notes that “countries such as China and Denmark have often scrutinized the United States for not doing enough, and now we are doing even less.” The United States’ foreign relations have been strained ever since Trump became president, and this executive order just elevates the tension.

One of Trump’s main justifications for his executive order is his goal to “end the war on coal.” Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to end the government’s over-involvement in private businesses, more specifically, the coal industry. Much of Obama’s climate legislation pushed consumers and businesses to use cleaner sources of energy, which caused the environmentally harmful coal industry to decline. Although Trump’s new policies, which allow fracking on government land and encourage the use of coal, claim to revitalize the industry, there is actually not much of an industry to be revitalized. There are only 174,000 full-time positions in the coal industry, and when compared to the reported 124.6 million full-time workers in the United States, they make up a small portion of our nation’s economy. Those working in the coal industry should be able to find and hold a job, but the President’s over-prioritization of the coal industry is both radical and excessive.

Some sources say that our climate is already past the “point of no return,” while others claim that reaching that point is still a few years off. Regardless, irrevocable damage on our climate is clearly a rapidly approaching reality. As climate change becomes more severe, Trump’s policies pose a threat to our public health, economy, and environment. Although Trump’s policies have yet to be approved by federal courts, there is a strong possibility that they will be, and that is an inevitability that we all have to prepare for.

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Posted by on Apr 14 2017. Filed under More News, News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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