Mar 28, 2017 by


By undoing much of Obama’s climate change legacy, Trump is unleashing fossil fuels—and the dangers they bring.

Photo Credit: L: Evan El-Amin; R: Antonov Roman (Shutterstock)

President Trump reportedly will sign an executive order Tuesday directing his administration to rewrite the Clean Power Plan; roll back carbon standards for new power plants; stop the current court cases; throw out the government’s method for counting the benefits of cutting dangerous carbon pollution; abandon a moratorium on new coal leases on public lands; and rescind methane standards.

This is an all-out assault on the protections we need to avert climate catastrophe. It’s a senseless betrayal of our national interests. And it’s a short-sighted attempt to undermine American clean energy leadership.

Trump is sacrificing our future for fossil fuel profits—and leaving our kids to pay the price. This would do lasting damage to our environment and public lands, threaten our homes and health, hurt our pocketbooks and slow the clean energy progress that has already generated millions of good-paying jobs.

Here are five ways that Trump’s action today surrenders our children’s future to fossil fuel profits:

1. Gutting the Clean Power Plan.

Nobody voted to sound the retreat in the fight against rising seas, widening deserts, raging heat, drought and fires. The Clean Power Plan is the tool we need to cut our carbon footprint, give American workers a shot at the clean energy future, the economic play of our lifetime, and strike a blow against climate change. Those are stakes worth fighting for.

And the administration’s transparent bid to stop the D.C. circuit court from ruling on the merits of the Clean Power Plan reveals its well-placed fear that the plan is on rock-solid legal ground.

2. Eliminating the Social Cost of Carbon.

Ignoring the costs of climate change and the benefits of curbing carbon pollution won’t make them go away. It only ensures more damage from rising seas, widening deserts, withering heat and raging storms—and leaves our kids to pay the price.

Federal decisions should be based on sound science, not willful ignorance. That means putting a price on climate harm—and putting the brakes on the carbon pollution that drives it.

3. Abandoning the Moratorium on New Coal Leases on Public Lands.

This is nothing short of a full retreat from the promise of cleaner and smarter ways to power our future. Today’s actions only deepen our dependence on fossil fuels and all the danger and damage they bring. And they protect a deeply-flawed system that has bilked taxpayers for decades to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

4. Eliminating Fracking Safety Standards.

Abandoning common sense fracking safeguards puts our public lands and neighboring communities at the mercy of bad actors in oil and gas industry. This is just one more example of where President Trump’s loyalties lie—with polluters, not the people.

5. Repealing Protections Against Methane Pollution.

Repealing common sense standards for methane will only take us backwards in fighting climate change, protecting public health, safeguarding American communities and preserving our treasured lands. If Trump succeeds, the oil and gas industry will continue leaking hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of this potent climate change pollutant into the air every year.

Rhea Shu is president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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