For Trump, the most important thing is not fulfilling campaign promises. It is showing power and, in passing, legitimizing himself. That is why, on the 99th day of his presidency, Donald Trump signed a new executive order. This is much easier to fulfill, but dangerous for the planet's climate stability. Yes, the environmental nightmare continues.
The executive order reopens offshore drilling for the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in protected areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Of course, the order bears the hallmark of his indifference to the preservation of the environment and his obsession with tossing out measures implemented by his White House predecessor, hidden behind a shield of economic growth and job creation.
The populist Trump shone through when he signed the document, saying that the last government, upon closing the Arctic, deprived the country of thousands of potential jobs, and that the renewal of the offshore production of energy would reduce energy costs: "This executive order starts the process of opening offshore areas to job-creating energy exploration. It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban."
Anticipating precisely this moment, in December of last year, a few weeks before the end of his term in office, Barack Obama permanently banned drilling for oil and gas in U.S. waters to secure the Arctic ecosystem and protect the coast of Alaska, through a law that limits drilling and mineral exploitation in certain areas.
The new executive order and the one that dismantles Obama's clean energy policy are environmental attacks that go against the well-being and development of not only Americans but also the whole of humanity. And it is this point that must move us all.
There may be some who think that too much attention and importance is given to what Trump does or does not do, but they do not see that the actions and decisions he takes generate powerful expansive waves that reach all nations.
A few days ago, the website for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change published the Snow, Water, Ice, Permafrost in the Arctic report, also known as SWIPA, from the Arctic Assessment and Monitoring Program, which points to rapid and unexpected changes in that region due to global warming, such as the rapid thaw.
It emphasizes that if these transformations continue they will have serious impacts on human health and the safety of economies, industry and ecosystems around the world.
This scientific warning should raise awareness among the planet’s great diversity of societies because the melting of the Arctic will exacerbate the impact of the high temperatures.
In the report, scientists remind us that this region is a regulator – as if it were the world's air conditioning. Not only that, “The Arctic plays an important role in global climate and weather, sea level rise, and world commerce.”
Yes, climate change is real, and it is also causing the melting of the permafrost, the layer of frozen soil that has very high concentrations of methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases.
Not only that, it is damaging populations of polar bears, seals and walruses, whose survival depends on sea ice.
Researchers and scientists at Polar Bears International have pointed out that the day when not one polar bear remains in the Arctic due to the thaw, the conditions that have allowed humanity to prosper will be seriously threatened.
However, the SWIPA report leaves room for hope in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, even with the departure of the United States.
This is the context one should use to assess the gathering of the United States’ civil society to protest against the anti-environmental policy and trumpets of Trump, like the one last Saturday, called the People’s Climate March, within the framework of the first 100 days of the new government.
In Washington, D.C., personalities such as Al Gore, the former U.S. vice president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate; entrepreneur Richard Branson; Leonardo DiCaprio; representatives of organizations and foundations that fight for the conservation of the environment and species, such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club; the leaders of indigenous and native peoples; as well as hundreds of entire families, youth and adults, showed their nonconformity with Trump.
To preserve the world's diverse ecosystems, you need not be an activist or an American to protest Trump's ignorance and predatory mentality. It’s up to everyone to do it.