The Liar and the Realist

Forests are burning as never before on the West Coast of the United States. Hurricanes are pounding the East Coast with unexpected intensity and frequency. Every year, about 200,000 Americans die prematurely due to pollution. What are the presidential candidates doing to save the environment?

Since his visit to Florida 10 days ago, Donald Trump has not hesitated to proclaim himself the “No. 1 president“when it comes to the environment. But in the past three years, he has dismantled almost 100 laws and regulations intended to protect the environment. On the other hand, Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden, has had a hard time getting his pro-environment message out to the American public. Yet, climate change is causing increasing devastation to the American economy.

1. What is Donald Trump’s Environmental Program?

Trump doesn’t have an environmental program. He boasts about having imposed a 10-year moratorium on gas and petroleum operations along part of the southeast coast of the U.S., but his environmental docket is tragic. Under the pretext of reducing excessive delays for environmental approval on various projects such as highway, factory and pipeline construction, he has significantly weakened or overturned numerous environmental laws. He has lifted many laws that prohibit or restrain the use of pesticides, weakened the laws on factory pollution, authorized or facilitated gas and petroleum exploration in coastal zones or natural parks, lowered the standards for greenhouse gas emissions, withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement and eliminated the consideration of climate change in the construction of new infrastructures. In fact, Trump is the anti-environmental president par excellence.

2. What Is Biden’s Environmental Program?

Biden wants the U.S. to become a world leader in environmental technology He believes the U.S. could be carbon neutral by 2050. His plan involves gigantic investment in research, creation of an oversight committee for carbon dioxide emissions, and the development of clean energy. Biden also wants the U.S. to rejoin the Paris climate agreement. Biden’s specific target is China, which he denounces for investing in dirty energy.

3. What Is the Reasoning behind Each Vision?

Trump’s reasoning is simple: global warming problems, if they exist, are not man-made, which is not true. For Trump, it is more important to make money quickly than it is to worry about problems that accompany climate change or pollution. Biden, on the other hand, believes that the American economy will gain much more from vigorous measures to protect the environment.

4. What Is the Impact of Climate Change on the US?

A group of 35 banking experts appointed by Trump produced a devastating report at the beginning of September. These experts conclude that it is absolutely necessary to include the cost of climate change in planning the U.S. budget so that the American economy might have a chance to survive.

5. Is Trump Alone in Acting This Way?

Many authoritarian countries like China have adopted a reasoning like Trump’s for their economic development even though new green technologies exist. This technology is often cheaper than old ones that cause pollution. The U.S. could set an example by forcing the market to evolve in a positive direction.

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