President Trump’s New Environmental Policies Seem at Odds with Recent Scientific Evidence

by Brenna Henderson ’21

 The Trump administration is continuing to dismiss or deny scientific findings that human-caused climate change is resulting in serious consequences for the planet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from President Trump’s own U.S. government is giving him this fact-based information, but Trump still chooses to ignore what these scientists are saying.

 On November 22, NOAA released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which stated that the environment is a serious problem and threat to humans and other animals. Katharine Hayhoe, who was the main writer, and more than 300 other contributors concluded in their report that rising temperatures, drought, wildfires on rangelands and heavy downpours will increasingly damage the quality and quantity of U.S. crop yields, livestock health, and livelihoods in rural areas. Climate change also threatens the health and well-being of the public by causing extreme weather, changes to air quality, the spread of new diseases through insects and pests, and changes to the availability of food and water. The assessment concludes not only that the world’s temperature is rising but also that the preponderance of evidence shows human actions play a role in it.

 Even so, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Trump told reporters, “I don’t believe it,” completely ignoring everything agencies in his own government told him. The Trump administration does not plan on implementing or even coming up with a plan to solve the environmental crisis, and many even speculate that the Trump administration intentionally released the report on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, because Americans were busy shopping and would not have time to follow news about the NOAA report.

 Scientists and environmental experts from around the world agree that fossil fuels are one of the main sources that are increasing the temperature of Earth and yet on December 10, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, Wells Griffith, told an audience, “the United States has an abundance of natural resources and is not going to keep them in the ground.” Griffith attempted to continue to say, “we strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability” but was interrupted by the audience booing and chanting “keep it in the ground!” Not only is the Trump administration dismissing the issue of climate change but attempting to discredit it, claiming that countries should continue to pollute the environment by burning fossil fuels.

 The Trump administration is looking to justify its position on climate change by pointing to recent events concerning Emmanuel Macron, the president of France. On December 4, the French government backed off of its plan of raising fuel taxes to help the environment because of violent riots and protests from the public. Trump continued his support of burning fossils fuels by commenting on Twitter, “I am glad that my friend Emmanuel Macron and the protesters in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago,” referring to himself pulling out of the Paris Accords in which nearly every country in the world vowed to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.