As the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet, the US needs to work with China – the more prolific contributor to global warming – to lead the way on climate change mitigation. The Paris agreement is a great framework to work from, but Trump wants to pull out of it. This would doom both the natural world and the global economy.
Trump likely doesn’t believe his own conspiracy theories on the subject – after all, he wants to build a wall around a golf course of his to stop rising sea levels eroding it away. However, he is a known fan of using “clean coal” – not actually a real thing, by the way – to produce energy, simply because it’s currently cheaper to do so in the short-term than to invest in revolutionary clean energy sources.
So really, his climate change denial is likely one motivated by immediate monetary savings, rather than far more significant long-term gains in terms of new jobs, better infrastructure, energy independence, and a better environment for the next generation. Mind you, his comments on climate change are often so incoherent that it’s almost impossible to know what he really thinks about the issue.
“I believe global warming is the single biggest problem in our country, but it’s made of the nuclear variety,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Indiana last May. “That’s the one we have to be careful of.”
Right. No wonder climate scientists are frantically backing up their data in time for the inauguration.
When asked which government departments he would eliminate to save money, he told Fox News: “Oh absolutely. The Department of Environmental, I mean the DEP is killing us… environmentally. It’s just killing our businesses.”
As pointed out by Stephen Colbert, the DEP doesn’t exist, and even if it did, the P in that acronym doesn’t actually stand for anything. Presumably, Trump was referring to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which aims to conserve the natural world, keep water and air quality high, and to protect human health – clearly, things that Trump doesn’t care about.
Trump would restart construction on the Keystone XL oil pipeline that President Obama effectively shut down, and he’s quite the fan of fracking, a controversial method of getting natural gas. Both are environmentally destructive, but to Trump, this is irrelevant.
Then you’ve got Ryan Zinke, the shiny new head of the Department of the Interior. Long refusing to accept that climate science is settled, he’s been put in charge of protecting federal lands. This is a shame, considering he has spent his career pushing back against any measures to protect the environment, while also being a huge proponent of fossil fuel use.