Op-ed

Trump and the Environment


November 27, 2016

In 2012, Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Perhaps because he is a businessman, Trump seems more focused on international trade than the environment. Trump complained, “the cost of combatting climate change was too high … and other countries were ‘laughing’ at America's hobbling itself in this regard.” He argues that companies are burdened by environmental policies since they limit manufacturing potential. Trump prioritizes economic growth and disregards climate change, instead of addressing both.

In 2014, Trump tweeted, “Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!” Trump argues that unprecedented snowfall in the South proves the Earth is not warming, which discredits climate change. However, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that “2014 was the hottest year in recorded history, and 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the first 15 years of this century.” In fact, Southern snowstorms support climate change, since warming causes more extreme and more frequent storms.

 Trump endeavours to “withdraw from the Paris accord limiting global carbon emissions [and] remove carbon emissions limits on U.S. power plants.” However, the EPA found that “unchecked carbon pollution leads to long-lasting changes in our climate, such as: rising global temperatures, rising sea level, changes in weather and precipitation patterns, [and] changes in ecosystems, habitats and species diversity.” By lifting restrictions on carbon emissions, Trump would significantly expedite the extreme climate changes that would affect both the earth and its inhabitant.

During his presidential campaign, Trump announced he “will scrap … the Clean Power Plan.” The plan aims to cut “significant amounts of power plant carbon pollution and the pollutants that cause the soot and smog that harm health, while advancing clean energy innovation, development and deployment, and laying the foundation for the long-term strategy needed to tackle the threat of climate change.” One of Trump’s foremost goals is to increase jobs. The EPA argues that the CPP would have that very effect by promoting clean energy innovation, thereby creating jobs.

Recently, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said that Trump doesn’t truly believe global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. However, he still believes climate change is not caused by human activity, despite the EPA concluding that “overwhelmingly, the best scientists in the world, relying on troves of data and millions of measurements collected over the course of decades on land, in air and water, at sea and from space, are telling us that our activities are causing climate change.” Trump maintains his denialist perspective, and moreover seeks to eradicate environmentally friendly policies and increase greenhouse gas emissions.

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Bump, Philip. "In 2009, Donald Trump Endorsed Action on Climate Change. Three Months Later, He Disparaged It." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

"Compare the Candidates." Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

"Fact Sheet: Overview of the Clean Power Plan." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

"Learn About Carbon Pollution From Power Plants." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Trump, Donald. "Trump Outlines Plan for American Energy Renaissance."Donald J Trump. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.