Donald Trump addressed a crowd of supporters in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this weekend, outlining his plans for the first 100 days in office. Apart from spending some of that time suing all those who’ve accused him of sexual assault, he also made a few declarations regarding the environment and the climate.
Before this point, Trump has mentioned little on either topic. He has previously vowed to veto the Paris agreement and ban “the Department of Environmental” – which doesn’t exist – should he ultimately occupy the Oval Office, but now he’s been a little more specific.
First, he will “cancel billions in payments to UN climate change programs,” instead using that money to “fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”
The billions he is referring to here is likely the $3 billion commitment the Obama administration made as part of the Paris agreement. Specifically, the payments will be used to help poorer nations lower their carbon footprint, an essential component of the pact.
The fact that Trump mentioned he would divert these funds to America’s “environmental infrastructure” is quite curious. This appears to reference the water supplies to various cities, although you cannot expect to have clean water if you are continually abusing the environment it comes from.
Trump essentially sees environmental protection as an inconvenience and a threat to American jobs. It goes without saying, of course, that without curbing climate change, the entire world will suffer, including the US.
Heat stress and unprecedentedly powerful natural disasters are already set to rob the US economy of $2 trillion by 2030, meaning that climate change is actually a rather effective jobs destroyer. Trump saying he’ll scrap climate change reform to protect American jobs is the equivalent of removing the smoke alarms from your house so you can sleep through a house fire.
Trump then adds that he will lift the restrictions on the use of “job-producing American energy reserves” including shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean coal”. Ignoring the fact that investing in renewables and nuclear energy both create jobs and reduces the nation’s carbon footprint, the most irritating part of this so-called plan is the last two words of it.