On Tuesday, surrounded by mining company executives, business men and a few token miners, Donald Trump passed an executive order that unwound Obama’s coal mining policy. The USA is the second biggest polluter in the world. While Obama had stated that climate change is “real and cannot be ignored”, Trump has a different approach to the subject matter. He believes that climate change is a global conspiracy, created by the Chinese so that they can dominate the energy and oil markets. This is an actual thing the most powerful man in the world believes. Seriously…
To put things into perspective, the Paris Agreement was signed by 194 countries from around the world to help combat climate change. It was an urgent and necessary measure for the world to have any hope at stopping rising global temperatures. Even if all countries fulfilled their side of the deal and reduced their carbon footprint drastically it would still be an uphill battle. According to scientists the point of no return is a global temperature rise of 3.6 degrees, if we go over it we’re done. We’re in and around 1 degree at the moment but the rise in temperature is getting faster.
Here’s what would happen if the temperature rose by 1-2 Degrees:
- The Artic Sea Cap disappears by 2050
- Intense Droughts in Sub Tropic Areas including the South West of the USA
- The majority of Coral Reefs are virtually wiped out
It would be an ecological disaster. It’s called a tipping point for a reason. If we go past it a chain of events will increase the rate at which the temperature is rising dramatically. Basically, if the artic sea cap is gone we’re fucked.
So back to Trump…
The executive order has essentially scrapped Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’. This policy aimed to slow the process of coal mining, closing some of the mines, and stopping new ones being opened. This was followed by large investment into the renewable energy sector. Trump’s plan was to bring back jobs to the people that supported him. Blaming the red tape as the reason for the coal mining industry failing, Trump missed the bigger picture.
Coal is in an economic slump, so regardless of the jobs created today they won’t be around much longer. There’s significantly more jobs being created in the renewable energy sector. Most energy (and jobs) come from ‘cleaner’ sources anyway such as natural gas, so the days of coal may be over, in spite of Trump’s plans. On top of this the mining of coal is an incredibly dangerous job. A lot of the regulation was to protect the workers from the risks to their health.
So who is this executive order really helping?
Probably his mates who have businesses in the sector.
Another frightening aspect of this debacle is considering how other countries in the Paris Agreement react to Trump’s policy. The US hasn’t officially left the agreement. But the giant middle finger that this executive order is giving could be seen as a statement of intent from the Trump administration to leave the Paris Agreement. Countries such as China, Brazil and India could follow Trump’s lead and scrap the deal. This is a worst case scenario, however most countries have stated that they plan to keep up with the agreement.
There is still hope…
One of President Obama’s parting gifts to the world was to wrap up his policies with a shit load of legalities and red tape to stop Trump from reversing them. Trumps plan to dismantle Obama’s policy on climate change will meet road blocks at every turn. The administrator of the EPA stated that it will take years to actually happen. So hopefully by the time of the next election or if Trump gets impeached, none of his policy will ever see the light of day.