The role of the US in curbing global warming is set to be reduced after the White House confirmed that President Trump will sign an executive order that threatens to reverse all the gains made by the previous administration. Trump made it clear during his campaign that he will unravel the plans set forth by former President Barrack Obama on climate change. The executive order is expected to be signed on Tuesday. The order will suspend or rescind half a dozen measures that were already set in place to help regulate the production of energy domestically using fossil fuels. The order will also put other initiatives up for review in what many environmental activists feel is a major setback in the fight against global warming.
Trump’s rollback is expected to review the Clean Power Plant policy designed to restrict the production of greenhouse gasses at power plants that use coal to generate energy. It’s not a surprise though that the POTUS has targeted this legislation. The Clean Power Plant was a major policy of the former administration and its aim was to help curb carbon emissions by lowering the carbon footprint of coal power plants.
However, ever since its enactment, it has been a subject of running legal battles especially from Republican led states that depend on burning coal, oil, and gas for energy. During the campaign, Trump vehemently opposed the Power Plant rule saying it was an insult to the American workers and the coal industry in the US that have been struggling for quite some time now. Trump is also on record saying global warming was a “hoax” invented by the Chinese. Details of the executive order were outlined by a senior White House official in what appeared to be a very tense press briefing.
The White House official seemed unaware or intentionally ignorant of mainstream climate science as he denied the economic effects of climate change and the adverse impact it may have on people’s livelihoods. The order will also lift a 14-month moratorium on leases for coal mining in federal lands. The moratorium was designed to last at least three years.
It’s not also clear whether the US will still remain part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, but based on initial indications from this executive order, it will be almost impossible for the US to achieve its climate change management goals. The logic of deregulating coal as a source of energy in the US seems to be hinged on the creation of jobs. However, the rationale seems flawed. Even though Republicans have blamed Obama for the declining jobs in the coal sector, data has shown that this decline has been going on for many years. In addition to this, jobs arising from renewable energy programs have far outweighed those in the coal sector. Data released by the Energy Department showed that renewable energy created 650,000 jobs compared to just 70,000 in the coal sector. The executive order will definitely come under extreme criticism in the US and globally.