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Donald Trump – Enemy of Nature?

All over the world, movements to try and battle climate change are coming up. The planet has reached a point where isn’t facing climate change anymore, it is facing a climate crisis. World leaders all over are introducing policies to minimize carbon emissions, deforestation, and many more things. Whether or not these policies work is the subject of a whole another article. But one particular leader whose actions do not fall under the same trend is Donald Trump.

WHAT HAS TRUMP’S ATTITUDE BEEN TOWARDS CLIMATE CHANGE?

From the very beginning of his career, Trump has been up against environmentalists. He has called environmental regulations “job killers.”

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He has rolled back various policies introduced by the Trump administrations and deregulated various sectors of the US economy.

Here are some of the anti-environmental actions he has undertaken:

Changes to the National Environmental Policy Act

Donald Trump announced changes to NEPA that would allow major infrastructure projects to be built without considering the potential environmental impact. The 50-year-old Act is applied to projects like pipelines, highways, and mines. Under the previous version of the Act, projects were required to undergo in-depth environmental impact assessments. These assessments look out for greenhouse gas emissions or impact on climate change, including sea-level rise. The proposed changes have outraged many environmental groups, and are all but guaranteed to face legal challenges.

Weakening fuel economy standards

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has claimed that transportation emits more greenhouse gases than any other sector of the US economy. Hence, former President Obama set benchmarks for fuel efficiency and auto emissions. Donald Trump has been reported as seeking to relax those benchmarks. Various state, including California, have sued to block the change.

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Affordable Clean Energy Rule

Obama’s administration brought out the Clean Power Plan. It placed limits on CO2 emissions from power plants. These limits were flexible. This plan would have reduced carbon dioxide by 32% by 2030, compared to 2005. Trump has announced CPP’s replacement, the Clean Energy Rule. This comes in an effort to boost electrical utilities and the struggling coal industry. This allows states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants.

Ignoring Methane Emissions

The US is now the world’s biggest natural gas and oil producer. Donald Trump’s EPA announced, last year, that oil and gas companies do not have to install monitors to detect methane leaks. Methane leaks can occur from wells, tanks, and pipelines. Methane is a greenhouse gas and has high heat-trapping capabilities. Over a period of 20 years, methane global warming potential is 84 to 87 times higher than that of CO2.

Pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement

Almost all countries of the world are signatories of the Paris Climate Accord. The Accord seeks to combine the efforts of all countries in fighting climate change by trying to reduce their carbon emissions. Trump has decided to make the USA pull out of the accord. A report last year found that Trump’s decision has made it easier for other countries to renege on their climate commitments.

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Rhythm Bhatia

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