The idea that environmental protection is inherently conservative makes intuitive sense, but it’s been a long time since that applied in reality.
It’s been well documented that plenty of lawmakers – primarily Republicans, traditionally the conservative party in the US – allowed themselves to be heavily lobbied by the fossil fuel industry from the 90s onwards. This drive, along with a profoundly disturbing campaign of misinformation, has peaked with the nomination and success of a Republican candidate that has often referred to climate change as a hoax.
Of course, the President-elect is not really a conservative in many ways, but a populist, and conserving the environment isn’t important to someone who claims to be the people’s voice. Ironically, most people – including Republican voters, these days – actually accept the science of climate change and want America to do something about it.
Still, Trump, more than anything, is an independent, from facts, science, and expert opinion for the most part. That’s probably why he’s appointed a climate change-denying attorney general to head the EPA, a man who has spent much of his career trying to sue the EPA.
“I don’t recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does,” Whitman told Grist back in December.
There is hope, however – the rest of the world is going to stick to the Paris agreement, and market forces are ensuring that coal will never make a comeback. And then there’s outgoing President Obama, who’s making it as difficult as possible for Trump to turn back time on his legacy of environmental conservation.
By protecting as much federal land and water as possible, Obama is building an environmental firewall that cannot be quickly dismantled once Trump takes office.
[H/T: BBC News]