If there was any question as to President Trumps position on global warming or climate change, it was answered the day he was inaugurated when the official White House website removed any reference to it and replaced it with the call to become energy independent. That particular action might be considered more subtle than several of the overt moves he and his administration have taken since:
- The appointment of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, which he has sued on numerous occasions.
- Announcing his intention to remove the U.S. from any commitments made at the Paris Climate Summit.
- Introducing a budget that slashes funding for domestic and international programs focused on climate change.
- Cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget in areas of climate change research and programs.
- Ordering payments to the United Nations’ climate change programs to cease.
- Slashing NASA’s Earth science’s budget, reducing its capacity to fund research grants.
- Signing an executive order to discontinue the Clean Power Plan, reopening the doors for coal and other non-renewable energy production.
And that was just in the first 100 days of his presidency.
It’s the Economy, Stupid
Some view Trump’s assault on climate change policies to be less about any views he has on it and more on releasing the economy from the burden of government overreach. Like many in the Republican Party, he doesn’t argue the fact that the climate is changing; nor is he opposed to the notion that human activity contributes to the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. His contention, as is the opinion of many in his party and at least half of U.S. voters, is there is no way to accurately determine how much if any of the increase is related to human activity.
Therefore, the effort by the government to drastically reduce carbon emissions with burdensome regulations that cost the economy and the taxpayers trillions of dollars is excessive, if not completely wasteful. For example, by pulling in the reins of the EPA, he wants to refocus the agency on its essential mission of protecting our air and water. Fighting climate change is not proper role of the EPA. He wants to decentralize the power over climate change policies to the states, allowing them to continue burdensome emission limits if they choose.
What Does Trump Really Think?
One might describe Trump’s view on climate change as pragmatic, weighing the political consequences of unconventional thinking against his policy objectives of unleashing the economy and creating more jobs. But, no one can ever accuse Trump of basing his views on principles, because, as it relates to climate change, he has none. His views have morphed over the years – from that of a complete denier back in 2012…
“Global warming is a hoax invented by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturers less competitive.”
…to having an open mind as a presidential candidate:
I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.
For Trump and the so-called deniers, the science is not settled and the debate should continue. While it may be true that 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity contributes to climate change, what the climate activists won’t tell you is that more than 60% can’t say for certain it is a primary cause. That leaves a lot of room for doubt as to the wisdom of spending trillions on climate change when there is no certainty of its effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gases.
A Call for Corporations to Act
Trump would rather see the states as the primary champions of carbon emission reductions and corporations taking a leadership role in creating pro-environment businesses. He looks to companies like Coca-Cola, Google, Apple, and some startups like LendEDU who have committed to prioritizing environmental sustainability and pledging net-zero deforestation in their supply chains. Tech firms like Microsoft are finding opportunities to provide software to help affected regions of the world cope with climate change.