President-elect Donald Trump’s policies lack attention towards one of the most important issues: the environment
By Megan Sarns
In the words of Hillary Clinton, “…whoever wins this election, the outcome will be historic. We’ll either have the first female president or the first president who started a Twitter war with Cher.”
As of November 8, 2016, America voted to elect the latter.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know Trump has, to put it kindly, some pretty radical ideas for how he wants to run the country. Many of these are highlighted on the “issues” page on his website.
This page consists of a series of videos you can watch where Trump sits in front of a generic background and yells at you for about a minute, saying everything from “being politically correct just takes too much time” and “we have a border that’s like a piece of swiss cheese.”
I watched every single one of these videos as well every section under his website’s “policies” page and something struck me. It wasn’t necessarily what Trump said he plans to do. I’ve been appalled by that long before I sat down to write this article. It was rather what he plans not to do and what he fails to prioritize.
Nowhere on Donald Trump’s website does he talk about the environment.
Looking beyond his website, it turns out Trump has talked about his plans for the environment, albeit not in a good way.
Trump has spoken out against the Paris Agreement and says he plans to “cancel” it. The Paris Agreement, ratified in October 2016, requires countries to decrease greenhouse gas emissions with a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature as controlled as possible.
In addition, Trump also plans to cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency that devotes its resources to “[protecting Americans] from significant risk to human health and the environment.”
Some sources, such as ClimateWire, have said that he has reportedly chosen a leader for his EPA transition team: Myron Ebell. The first sentence on Ebell’s Wikipedia page is “Myron Ebell is an American global warming skeptic.”
To clarify, that means the person Trump’s wants to put in charge of environmental concerns doesn’t even believe they’re happening.
On October 31, Trump made clear his position on this issue when he spoke at a rally in Warren, Michigan.
“We’re going to put America first,” he said. “That includes canceling billions in climate change spending for the United Nations…and instead use that money to provide for American infrastructure including clean water, clean air, and safety.”
Sure, “clean water, clean air, and safety” sounds great, but the context behind these cuts is disturbing. At the end of the day, it won’t matter if America is first, second, or even last, if Earth becomes unlivable.
We have elected into presidential office a man who disregards all scientific evidence of climate change and instead claimed that it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” in a tweet he made in 2012.
The fact that our planet is at risk has become a controversial political statement is appalling. We cannot afford four years of a president who refuses to acknowledge the problem, let alone take steps toward solving it.