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Photo: Flickr/Stiller Beobachter via National Wildlife Federation
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Contributing Writer
Over the course of the Trump presidency, the Trump administration has unraveled nearly all of Obama’s environmental policies. A new report from the Rhodium Group suggests that this could pump 1.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the next fifteen years. “The Trump administration is the first in the history of the agency to devote itself so relentlessly to a rollback agenda without even a pretense of meaningfully reducing environmental pollution,” John Walke, an attorney and senior adviser to the NRDC Action Fund, told The Intercept.
Why this Matters: Trump’s swift reversal of environmental policies is unprecedented in the time since the major environmental laws were enacted, and these actions are likely to have dire impacts if courts uphold them. The cumulative impacts of the rollback of just a few of the most important environmental rules could have a drastic effect on the planet since U.S. emissions impact temperatures across the globe. And taken together the 1.8 billion tons of greenhouse gasses emitted are more than the combined energy emissions of Germany, Great Britain, and Canada in one year, according to The New York Times.
At Least 100 Policies Revoked or Weakened
The Trump administration revoked or impaired at least 100 policies, but here are a few of the most dramatic rollbacks:
Fuel Emission Standards: The Trump administration changed Obama-era rules that required new passenger cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks sold in the United States to become less polluting over time — automakers will now have to improve just 1.5% per year rather than 5% every year.
Revoking California’s rights to set its own emissions standards: The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions for the United States, and much of that comes from California. Because of this, California set more strict limits on emissions than the rest of the US, which the Trump administration has since revoked. According to the Rhodium report, “If California and its coalition states lose their ongoing lawsuit against the EPA and the waiver is revoked, this would increase emissions by 573 million metric ton, cumulatively, through 2035.”
If states continue to implement policies to combat climate change, they could undermine the Trump administration’s rollbacks, and potentially provide the federal government models of climate policies with demonstrated success should Biden win in November.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer An Indonesian district court ruled yesterday that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has neglected Jakarta’s residents right to clean air. In a unanimous ruling in favor of the 32 residents who brought the case, the Central Jakarta District Court ordered Widodo, and six other top officials deemed negligent, to improve […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Decreasing air pollution increases people’s life expectancy by an average of 2.2 years, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that by bringing pollution across the globe down to the World Health Organization’s guidelines, a collective 17 billion years could be added to the planet’s population’s […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer As the Caldor Fire burns through the El Dorado National Forest, the area around Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada, has developed the worst air quality in the county. On Monday, the Air Quality Index hit 694 in Tahoe City. An AQI above 300 is considered hazardous and can cause serious health issues. The […]
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