Burn Baby Burn: Trump Set To Eviscerate Obama’s Environmental Protection and Climate Change Reforms

With the health care reform defeat, the Trump Administration is moving aggressively toward new goals including tax cuts in Congress.  Today, however, he will keep another pledge and dismantle Obama orders protecting the environment and combating climate change and environmental protection. With the rescinding of the orders, Trump will place the United States in the most anti-climate change posture of any major nation, rivaling even China in the lack of hard commitments to move away from fossil fuels. Indeed, he is expected to open up new leases for coal and relax regulations to allow increased fossil fuel consumption.  As I have previously discussed, this move is not only running against the grain of other major nations but against the market itself. While other countries are moving aggressively toward clean energy and green markets, the United States will be moving aggressively backward.

Trump’s actions today reflect what I have long criticized about the Democratic strategy under Obama.  Democratic members supported Obama as he acted unilaterally and governed through executive orders.  Obama’s legacy therefore rests on clay feet — what one president creates through executive orders, another president may take away.  Despite my strong support for Obama’s views on the environment, I did have serious misgivings over his unilateral actions and circumvention of Congress. These are major decisions that should be made by the legislative branch.  However, Trump is using the same powers to rollback on protects, and more importantly to encourage the expansion of fossil fuel consumption.  The environment (and the public) will pay a hefty price if we break from the other Western nations and double down on coal and oil.

Trump has called climate change a “hoax” despite overwhelming evidence that the climate is changing rapidly and will produce disastrous consequences for this planet unless addressed. Trump aides are reportedly calling for our removal from the Paris Accord or refusal to meet any of the previous commitments under the agreement.  The Obama Administration had agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% by 2025 compared to 2005 levels.

The new orders are expected to move toward the elimination or significant reduction of the clean power plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. Also expected to be gutted is the climate action plan and he is expected to lift a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands.  Prior estimates on the social costs of carbon and greenhouse gases will be rescinded as will the guidelines published by the White House Council on Environmental Quality last August will be rescinded.

In other words, it is bonanza for industry and specifically the fossil fuel industry.

I obviously view the rollback on environmental and energy policies to be a terrible decision for the public. Indeed, any rational review of the market can see that green technology and alternative energy is the future for the world economy.  We are going big on yesterday’s industries like the investors who bet heavily on new canal projects despite the obvious advancement of railroads.  Tesla is now worth as much if not more than Ford.  Solar energy not employs more than all of the fossil fuel industries combined.  Major nations are now moving to be fossil free with huge strides in the use of alternative energy sources, including Germany.

I have always been caught in a philosophical dilemma. I believe that these issues need to be decided by Congress even though I have little faith that Congress will move toward greater environmental protection and alternative fuels.  That is burden of a representative democracy. I do not believe that these issues should be decided unilaterally by Obama or Trump.  The decisions come with great costs either way.  It needs to be a decision of the country as a whole.  However, I believe that Obama was right about the need to move strongly in favor of these measures to protect the future of this country and the whole at large.  I have no objections to Republicans who raise questions about the real benefits of some measures, particularly given their high costs. I also believe that there is a need to address the skyrocketing regulations imposed on businesses. However, we need to take action (in my view) to curtail these pollutants and have this debate . . . on the floor of Congress.


126 thoughts on “Burn Baby Burn: Trump Set To Eviscerate Obama’s Environmental Protection and Climate Change Reforms”

  1. “Despite my strong support for Obama’s views on the environment, I did have serious misgivings over his unilateral actions and circumvention of Congress. These are major decisions that should be made by the legislative branch.”

    Agreed, and thanks for your environmental conscience.

  2. ““As we get new science,” says Troy Downing, a dairy specialist at Oregon State University, “our industry is adopting it quicker than we would through regulation.” Dairy farms have voluntarily begun implementing their own emission programs by installing methane digesters to turn gasses into energy production. In typical backward fashion, big government advocates throw roadblocks in front of innovation, while industry advocates are busy turning the ghosts of poo into electricity.”


  3. “Despite my strong support for Obama’s views on the environment, I did have serious misgivings over his unilateral actions and circumvention of Congress. These are major decisions that should be made by the legislative branch.”

    So the President unwinds the power grab of the Executive branch; you got a problem with that? This process should go through the Legislative branch. This should be debated on the floor of both houses of Congress expressing the will of the People and the States. I understand it’s not the progressive way, you know, the American people are too stupid to understand the complexities and therefore need really smart people to simply tell them what is in their best interest. It may be instructive to examine why the American people rejected the opportunity to continue with the “uber” Presidency model. I’m betting on the electorate getting it right; not the political class and certainly not the administrative state they have burdened us with.

    1. You sound like a shill for the fossil fuel industry. Go sip some Perrier at Miralago.

      1. Thank you for making my point Frannie. You obviously don’t know me nor do I need you to instruct me on where or what I should consume.

  4. Speaking as an experienced scientist, I can say with 100% confidence that the filed of climate science is broken beyond any non-scientist’s imagination. You just don’t realize how bad the bias is and how dramatic an impact it has on data collection and interpretation. The way they are using models to predict the future is criminal in terms of the impact they are having on the world by wasting resources. The likelihood of an environmental crisis from CO2 release is very likely quite low.

    Non-scientist have been hoodwinked into believing fear mongering. As you know, fear is one of the key motivations in life and this technique is being used by today’s propagandists as good or better than what Hitler managed. Non-scientists need to stop listening to the climate alarmists and just look around. The world is turning green. This release of CO2 may be the best thing that could have happened for us at this time and I guarantee that some warming is much much better than moving into another ice age.

    You can tell when a scientific field is broken when all the energy is directed on finding creative methods to instill additional fear of the future. Climate scientists have lost their objectivity and need to be mass fired and replaced.

    1. “This release of CO2 may be the best thing that could have happened for us at this time and I guarantee that some warming is much much better than moving into another ice age. “

      Wait 20 years and then tell that to the citizens of Bangladesh, Florida, The Maldives and the Netherlands,

  5. Well, it may not have been the way to get there, but as long as we got there.

  6. This is precisely the sort of decision that emerges when one is more concerned with next quarter’s P & L than with the long-term best interests of the country. And short attention spans lead to bad policy.

  7. The great George Carlin’s bit on you evangelical environmentalists comes to mind.

  8. And after the Obamacare repeal failed Trump sang that song about Lawyers guns and money and he cried out : Lord Get Me Out of This!

  9. This song is relevant to the Trump/Russian/Obama collusions and wire tapping:

    Lawyers, Guns and Money, by Warren Zevon

    Well, I went home with the waitress
    The way I always do
    How was I to know
    She was with the Russians, too

    I was gambling in Havana
    I took a little risk
    Send lawyers, guns and money
    Dad, get me out of this

    I’m the innocent bystander
    Somehow I got stuck
    Between the rock and the hard place
    And I’m down on my luck
    And I’m down on my luck
    And I’m down on my luck

    Now I’m hiding in Honduras
    I’m a desperate man
    Send lawyers, guns and money
    The shit has hit the fan

    Send lawyers, guns and money…

  10. Please don’t argue with idiots. Like feeding the bears at a national park.

  11. The future economically is solar and wind. Some energy companies will get wind of that and not just stick with coal. Ted trump is appealing to coal miners who are laid off and to coal miners daughters. He promised new jobs in different industries than coal and that those jobs be brought to W. Va. and other places. An ex coal miner can build a new road. The infrastructure legislative plan is supposed to be on the table soon.
    Climate is changing. Those in the upper East Coast will not need to migrate to Florida anymore because the New York area will not be so darn cold. Florida does not need those Yorkies. Turdy turd and a turd should remain in NYC. Hillary and Trump both hailed from New York. So did Monica.

  12. Local governments need to enact laws requiring new construction and new vehicles to use clean energy. Fossil fuel burning buildings, homes, and vehicles need to be phased out by local regulations. Fossil fuel money has less influence in most cities than it has on a national level. Political bribery is more visible and easier to control on a local level. Of course it will be more challenging in fossil-fuel dependent locations, but easy in places where people care more about humanity than about money.

  13. Obama’s dictatorial actions should be rolled back. If they have any validity then have those who support the rolled measures present a bill. Apparently they need something productive to do. Really what have they done that has been productive? I’m sick of watching my elective officials pearl clutch and whine.

    The narrative on human impact over the climate isn’t settled nor was it debated. It was stifled by the previous administration. If these facts are so settled and if they have a valid argument, then why did they discuss criminalizing climate deniers? I think that dictators do that, don’t they?

    Those of us that tend to be more agnostic about such things aren’t ignorant. We are aware that not all of the evidence has been presented and some of the evidence has been manipulated. We can’t rely on the media but fortunately this stuff is easy enough to research on one’s own.

    I’d love to see healthy debates with evidence presented by our elected officials. That’s what we pay these people to do.

    I don’t like these elective orders, memos or presidential fiats. I’m tired of politicians telling me what is good for me and then pickpocketing me to support unconstitutional actions.

    1. So we should be sickened so Trump’s fossil fuel oligarchs can reel in billions. It is all about the rich getting richer at the citizens expense..

      1. You assume that the citizens will not benefit from the cheap energy. America did not become who she is by a large over regulating govt.

  14. Here we are watching the American experiment slide backwards. We have specific people to thank for this, the dupes that voted in DDT. Given that DDT and Clinton are tied in all despicable categories regarding slime, sleaze, and weaseling, one might imagine our country not going from a health care insurance program that has its share of faults to something worse-something that benefits those not in need, not moving away from clean air, clean water, healthier food, etc, not giving 85% of the benefits of tax cuts to the top 5%, not allowing Russia to pull our strings through their investments in our condos, not waking up to this lying sack of sh*t every day, etc.

    Thank you dupes.

        1. There is a role for government but lovers of B I G Government Regulatory Bureacracies baffle me.

  15. Professor Turley, do you really think The President will remove the high tech filters off the factories? Tell business to start dumping in our rivers and lakes? What He is trying to prevent is Wall Street and governments trying to make the cap and trade scheme into a taxpayer theft scheme. Do you really want to be measured and taxed for the air you breath and your waste water?
    How is your Carbon footprint??
    B-I-G Government.

    1. The god king emperor Trump puts the profits of his oligarchs before the needs of the people.

Comments are closed.