Student Opinion: Trump Administration v. Climate Change

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By Michelle Moreno Lira

The Trump Administration has been very vocal when it comes to policies regarding climate change. Recently, the Trump administration changed essential policies regarding the environment and removed Michael Kuperberg, the climate change program leader, by replacing him with President Donald Trump’s choice.

The reversal of certain policies will significantly increase global warming effects that will be harmful to future generations. This is important to discuss because newer generations will deal with the effects of air pollution, water pollution and a rise in global warming. This affects everyone, not just America because we’re contributing to climate change as we continue to be guided by officials who honestly don’t care. It’s wrong to believe that America’s reversal of climate policies are only harmful to us; it’s damaging to the environment, and everyone will feel the consequences. 

President Trump reversed over 100 climate change policies that accelerated global warming. As the 2020 presidential election ended, Trump’s presidency is coming to an end, which means his last actions against climate change are rolling out. This week, The New York Times detailed the various policies his administration reversed, stating, “the agency under Mr. Trump has often limited its own power to regulate environmental harm, especially when it comes to climate change.” President Trump has changed most of the policies implemented by past presidents and has significantly caused the effects of global warming to rise. 

I believe that although the Trump administration has stated that his decisions helped provide a cleaner environment for America, as indicated by The New York Times, they have done the opposite by causing climate change effects to intensify. This is extremely important because, as his presidency comes to an end, he will continue to grant more power to local governments and allow them to decide what environmental policies should be imposed. 

According to a spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency, most of President Trump’s claims include providing states, tribes and local governments with a cleaner environment. However, in recent years we have witnessed tribes protest against government plans to damage their environments and harm their way of life. 

Native American tribes have maintained their property and land environmentally safe for hundreds of years. Younger generations are beginning to protest against government policies that deteriorate the environment’s wellbeing. It’s wrong to sit back and allow the people in office to make changes that are harming the environment and generations after ours. We need to hold them accountable to maintain a clean environment for us and anyone after us. 

Firing Michael Kuperberg is one of Trump’s last attempts to hire his own team of scientists to lead a biased organization that holds the same beliefs as him. Trump chose David Legates to be the new executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This is problematic and biased because he doesn’t acknowledge global warming as an issue and refuses to believe humans are the leading cause of it.

According to an article by Science Magazine, they detail Legates’ personal views on climate change, stating, “he has said burning more fossil fuels would benefit humanity.” Everyone needs to hold these experts accountable for their beliefs; it’s wrong to accept changes and policies simply because programs and organizations have the power to implement them. It should be worrisome for everyone to know that one’s personal views can skew the program’s direction.

According to a New York Times article detailing these policy changes, “the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade and lead to thousands of extra deaths from poor air quality each year.” Most of Trump’s decisions are swayed by his personal beliefs and lack of knowledge in science. Instead of taking advice from scientists, he continues to dangerously depend on what he knows that can ultimately have a resounding impact on the health of future generations of this country.

Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has listened to only his judgment regarding science and advice from experts. Not to mention, his mishandling of COVID-19 is evidence of his ignorance towards the facts and scientists who have advised him to combat climate change. Although President-elect Joe Biden has decided to reverse these same policies and decisions, President Trump’s decisions might be irreversible––the damage can remain for decades. 

Legates has been very vocal about his thoughts regarding global warming and its “harmless” effects on the planet. In an article written by The Washington Post, they discuss his controversial beliefs, “a meteorologist who claims that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for plants and that global warming is harmless.”

If Legates believes that harmful chemicals are good for the planet, his views will definitely be influential towards implementing policies regarding global warming. It’s disappointing that our planet will continue to suffer for decades because of uneducated scientists’ decisions. 

The article continues to discuss the impact that this decision can have on the planet, saying, “they expect him to recruit authors who share his views and those of Trump, who has a history of downplaying and denying the government’s own findings on climate change.” Most experts believe Legates will use his personal beliefs to skew the program’s findings and strengthen his claims that humans don’t cause global warming. 

Many hope that President-elect Joe Biden will attempt to reverse the damage done by President Trump and his administration. Biden has been very vocal about his plans to rejoin the Paris Agreement and listen to scientists and experts when it comes to decisions regarding climate change. Many activists hope that actions will be taken to battle the increasing effects of human-caused global warming and its impacts. 


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10 thoughts on “Student Opinion: Trump Administration v. Climate Change”

  1. Alan Miller

    in recent years we have witnessed tribes protest against government plans to damage their environments and harm their way of life.

    Please do not let your hatred of Donal Trump blind you from the truth – the Obama administration (Biden VP) was no great protector of the environment.  This is one of the main reasons I voted for Obama-Biden the first time, and not the second time.  Greenwash programs often appear politically and message-wise correct for the environment – but on the ground it’s a different story.

    Things have not been good for our fragile deserts under Trump, but they were terrible under Obama as well.  Wind is bad, but megasolar projects can be devastating – and often they are greenwashed into support by many environmental organizations, which end up split or we end up fighting – the perfect tool to fracture and weaken opposition – and the most radical and inexperienced environmentalists are the most vulnerable to supporting fed $ supported damaging projects.

    I cited the quote, because desert native tribes are often the ones out there fighting with small groups like our trying to save the desert from the mega “green” projects.  So don’t paint Trump as the only devil, or you may miss the devil you think you know, who we are going to have to fight to save our deserts over the next few years.  They are all in bed with big money, don’t forget it. And don’t forget the color of big money is green – it’s just been green-washed when the Dems spend it – thus it has better enviro-PR – like how a squirrel is vermin with a cute tail.

    ” Solar on rooftops – Not on the backs of desert tortoises! “

    1. Ron Oertel

       They are all in bed with big money, don’t forget it.

      Yeap.

      Some people apparently think it’s o.k. if it’s only the “good guys” (Democrats) gettin it on. I’m always amazed at how easily some people are fooled.

       

    2. Tia Will

      At least some of the tribes of the southwest, while fully recognizing the limitations of Obama policy, were willing to bet that a Biden presidency would be better for their efforts at land protection than would ongoing Trump policy. Notably, the Navajo, Hopi, and Tohono O’odham nations voted heavily for Biden/Harris, with some precincts of the latter voting up to 95% for the Dems.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Probably important to acknowledge that not all “native tribes” are on a mission from god, regarding the environment.

        Witness the rise of the native corporations (and the ongoing land giveaway, in Alaska).  Extending this corruption in the latest “conservation bill” celebrated by some environmental groups.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/02/13/big-alaskan-land-giveaway-tucked-into-sweeping-conservation-bill/

        50 years ago, the federal government owned something like 99% of Alaska.  Today, that number is around half that amount.

        And with climate change, Alaska is going to become even more important.

        Of course, Alaska itself is governed by corrupt influences.

      2. Ron Oertel

        From article, above:

        Slice open this giant haggis and peer inside, though: Something reeks. The act contains language that would hand over nearly a half-million acres of federal lands in Alaska — your land and mine — to private hands. That is an area roughly equal to half the size of Long Island, or 31 Manhattans.

        And again, most Democrats and major environmental groups are apparently “just fine” with this.

  2. Tia Will

    What I hope young people, well ok, all people will realize is that while Trump has been horrible on environmental issues, there are no universal “good guys” here. I warn against those who would consider anything less than the Green New Deal to be an abdication of good faith, just as I caution those who are climate change deniers. Each project and change should be judged on its own merits, not politicized. The goal should always be environmental protection, not the demonization of perceived opponents.

    1. Bill Marshall

      The “Green New Deal” is too ‘conservative’, to many… for them, that is the ‘lowest bar’, as you appear to confirm… many agree… I’m not one of them…

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