While President Trump has done some fantastic things for the United States, one issue that has always left me scratching my head is his view on climate change. In the face of an impending crisis, Trump has made almost every wrong decision possible on this issue, proving he is either willfully ignorant or just plain uneducated on the facts.
97% percent of all climate scientists believe in man-made climate change according to NASA - the highest that percentage has ever been. Research at the Mauna Loa Observatory shows carbon dioxide concentration is currently at 405 parts per million. This is 25% percent higher levels of carbon dioxide than ever recorded before 1900. Temperatures have increased on average by one and a half degrees Celsius since 1910 according to NASA. Ocean levels are also rising at an alarming rate, with cities like Miami and countries like Bangladesh already suffering the consequences.
All of these facts make a rather compelling scientific case: we are causing the Earth to warm up dramatically, and it will have severe consequences. Unfortunately, the US President and his administration have given little thought or care to the issue.
In perhaps one of his most famous tweets, President Trump claimed global warming is a hoax, saying “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Besides being humorously dumb, it was also a good indicator of how Trump would approach climate change when in office. According to an analysis by the New York Times, Trump had rolled back 67 environmental laws by July 2018. He has allowed mining to take place in the formerly protected National Monument of Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, as well as removed the ability of the EPA to regulate pollution from power plants and ensure that certain bodies of water remain protected from pollutants. Both of these regulations were Obama-era rules that helped to protect the environment from dirty companies.
Trump also famously pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a smart move due to economic impact it would've unfairly had on the US, but has since refused to look at creating a better alternative.
All of these actions under the Trump administration will set the world back years in fighting climate change. While he recently admitted in a 60 Minutes interview that he thinks climate change is real, he doesn’t believe it is man-made and hasn’t made any changes to his environmental policies to take action against climate change. He says it is to protect US manufacturing and mining jobs, yet taking steps to reduce climate change will provide plenty of jobs while saving the US trillions in future costs and making us self reliant for energy.
Solar and wind industries in the US employed over 360,000 people in 2016, while the entire coal industry employed only 160,000 people, according to the Department of Energy. Wind, hydroelectric power, and natural gas each already cost less per hour of electricity than coal when accounting for all costs, making it economically viable to build renewable resources over new coal plants. Investing in electric cars and biofuel will also help the US become self reliant on transportation, allowing us to cut oil imports dramatically from OPEC nations.
Becoming more efficient when it comes to heating, transportation, and electricity production will cut US emissions by 25% percent and save us over two trillion dollars with a 500 billion dollar investment, meaning that we hardly have any reason besides upfront costs to invest in ourselves.
Making these changes will help us economically, but will also help us avoid dangerous sea level rises, increased storms and droughts, famine, and climate refugees. These are the real reasons why climate change is so important and why it’s so disheartening to hear and see our President do nothing. Climate change is important.
So when President Trump talks about cutting environmental regulations to save jobs and money, or when he says that climate change isn’t man-made, we should ask ourselves: where on Earth did he get those facts from?