President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday, March 28 that will undo most of former president Barack Obama’s climate change policies. He is hoping to fulfill his campaign promises of increasing America’s energy independence.
Trump’s campaign promises have been mostly unfulfilled since he took office. He has seen a great amount of push back from various groups and has been held up by the Supreme Court. If his bill goes through it will be a victory for him and his supporters but a serious blow to the environment.
Energy economists have expressed concerns over this bill. Not only is it dangerous for the future of the Earth’s climate but it will not be effective in helping out unemployed coal miners, and the coal industry is the one of the main focuses of the bill.
In an attempt to make America more energy independent, Trump wants to revive the coal industry. However, America doesn’t import coal. It is already self-sufficient when it comes to coal energy.
Though America has a long history with coal production, it is no longer our main source of energy because natural gas is cheaper to process and is a cleaner burning alternative to coal. This is one of the main reasons the coal industry is declining, not Obama’s restrictions.
“The problem with coal jobs has not been CO2 regulations, so this will probably not bring back coal jobs,” Robert W. Godby, an energy economist at the University of Wyoming, said. “The problem has been that there has not been market demand for coal.”
However, Trump has built a firm stance on helping out those in the coal industry.
The lack of demand isn’t the only reason miners are finding themselves out of work. This new bill will not do anything for the out-of-work coal miners, as the coal companies whose mines will remain open will be using machines for most of the work, not people.
This hasn’t stopped the coal industry from rejoicing, though.
The bill is not the only environmental topic being signed by Trump this week. On Thursday, March 30 Trump will be signing a directive that will eliminate some other executive orders issued by Obama.
“White House officials said they [Obama’s executive orders] included lifting a ban on new coal mining on federal lands, and recalculating a budgeting metric known as the social cost of carbon that, under the Obama administration, limited pollution by arguing that global warming outweighed economic benefits for industries,” writes Coral Davenport in the New York Times article “Planned Rollback of Climate Rules Unlikely to Achieve All Trump’s Goals”.
The bill does not include whether or not America will be upholding its part in the Paris agreement, which was to have reduced our emissions by about 25 percent by 2025. This agreement was made with the idea that if all countries involved reduced their emissions, the planet would cool enough to prevent serious climate change including constant severe floods, droughts, storms and agriculture loss.
At this point it does seem like Trump will not be honoring the agreement which has some worried that it will send a message to other countries that they no longer have to maintain their agreements either.