What will a Trump presidency mean for climate change reform?

16 November 2016   
What will a Trump presidency mean for climate change reform?

Quite famously, Donald Trump tweeted four years ago that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” The global scientific community knows, for a fact, that global warming is real, caused by anthropogenic causes, and NOT a hoax contrived by the Chinese government with a malicious financial intent. Despite this scientific consensus, however, President-elect Trump is still skeptical that climate change is real and caused by human activity. His egregiously false claims in the past resurfaced along the campaign trail.

As a presidential candidate, Trump pledged to undo most of the climate change reform undertaken by the Obama administration. Perhaps most important of these changes would be a Trump administration’s willingness to not enforce the Paris Climate Agreement, which became international law just four days before Trump was elected. Throughout the campaign, Trump promised to entirely do away with the plan or toss it from the books altogether. While he does not have the authority to do that, he can certainly circumvent many of the agreement’s provisions. As individual nations have the capacity to set their own standards in accordance with the agreement, Trump could very well remove the U.S. from the forefront of this movement in the name of preserving business interests. According to CNN, “U.S. reversal would likely also cause other major carbon emitting nations, like China or India, to at least slow their own efforts.” Trump pledged his support for industrial workers across the country when he was campaigning, and it is inevitable that he will ignore climate change reform in favor of those constituents’ economic interests.

In addition to the Paris Agreement, Trump could also undo Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The plan effectively upholds the U.S. commitment to the aforementioned Paris agreement. The plan, which will reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 32% by 2030, is viewed by Trump and his allies as an unnecessary job-killer. "This Obama-Clinton directive will shut down most, if not all, coal-powered electricity plants in America," Trump said. “They're shutting down all over the country."

Perhaps the scariest potential item rests in Trump’s latest appointment. He has installed Myron Ebell as the head of the EPA transition team. Ebell, not a scientist, is one of the most vocal climate change deniers. Activists, for context, refer to Ebell as a climate criminal for his claims that climate change is phony and a mere “pretext for expanding government.”

What do you think about these three items? How will climate change reform be affected under a Trump administration?