Every one of the decisions that President Donald Trump has made regarding environmental matters, with the support and bad advice of the men – yes, men – in his cabinet, make clear not only his profound ignorance, but also his absolute indifference to the present and future well-being and health of not just Americans, but all children, grandchildren, and future descendants. This makes it clear that he does not care about clean air and water, much less about humanity or the planet. The dangerous instability of the climate is obviously worth peanuts to him.
Finally, in his high-profile way and surrounded by coal miners, Donald Trump signed an executive order on March 28 which aims to dismantle the environmental policy of his predecessor in the White House, and give way to what he called “the beginning of a new era of freedom in energy production and the creation of jobs.”*
It deals with one of his obsessions concerning Barack Obama and his legacy.
The issue is that the new “Executive Order to Create Energy Independence” commands that – paradoxically – the Environmental Protection Agency, led by the skeptic Scott Pruitt, replace Obama’s Clean Energy Plan. That is to say, on federal lands, the black reign of the coal industry will resurface, all facilities will be given over to the dangerous fracking process and regulations to reduce carbon dioxide and methane from power plants and coal plants will be discarded. Carbon dioxide and methane are both gases that contribute to climate change.
To top it off, a few days ago Russian President Vladimir Putin echoed Trump's words and endorsed the idea that climate change is not caused by humans. The most dangerous and despicable thing is that Putin asserted that the Arctic thaw could be used for “Russian economic purposes.”
But despite this, there are intelligent and sensible voices supported by the irrefutable truth of science and the successful results of clean energies, voices such as former American Vice President Al Gore, former New York mayor and founder of Bloomberg L. P., Michael Bloomberg, as well as certain technological giants, among others.
The same day that Trump signed the anti-climate-change executive order, Gore, founder of The Climate Reality Project, uploaded his own position to his various digital platforms, stressing that reversing environmental protection policies as well as bringing down the Clean Energy Plan is “a wrong step away from a sustainable, carbon-free future for ourselves and generations to come,” adding that “no one man or group can stop the encouraging and escalating momentum in the fight to protect our planet.”
Michael Bloomberg's article published last Friday on The New York Times editorial pages under the title “Climate Progress, With or Without Trump” emphasizes the same viewpoint.
It underscores the fact that Trump’s unfortunate and destructive order has led to the widespread and dispiriting belief that the U.S. will not meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
But despite the obstacles presented by the White House and Congress, “Washington has a great ability to influence energy markets,” and shouldn’t underestimate cities, companies and consumers in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Bloomberg said. He also questioned the generation of jobs and economic windfall with regard to unclean energy.
Something that Bloomberg knows very well is the role that cities play in lowering emissions, for by improving air quality, cities become more attractive places to live, work and invest in.
Perhaps for this reason, the technology giants Apple, Google and Microsoft, as well as other companies like Amazon, have already said that they will continue with their commitment to invest and utilize clean energies to fight against climate change.
Moreover, optimistically, various nations have resolved to increase their efforts in this war against unclean energy. Among those that stand out are India, the European Union countries and China, which is not only one of these nations, but has also become their leader.
However, The Washington Post posted a negative aspect to this a few days ago. The Post reported the dismissal of 25 percent of employees from environmental agencies, a further budget cut, and the elimination of more than 50 programs, such as pesticide control and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Yes, the scene looks dark, with rising sea levels, droughts, more deadly hurricanes, and the extinction of species. It only remains to ask whether the rest of the world is not contemplating this, seeing as our present and future are in the hands of ignoramuses and facing potential ecocides.
*Editor’s note: Trump’s actual words were that his order would be “the start of a new era in American energy and production and job creation … [that] will eliminate federal overreach [and] restore economic freedom.”