Global warming is one of the most important issues plaguing the world today. Whether or not people believe it to be a real phenomenon, there is no denying that our environment has been changing. This change has been a growing sign for many that mankind has been abusing Mother Nature so much so that she is now fighting back. In fact, several strange weather phenomena have occurred in the past 5 years alone. There’s been snow in Guadalajara, Mexico, record-high temperatures reaching 51 degrees Celsius in Southeast Asia, and a sea dust vortex over the Arabian Sea. If there’s anything Mother Nature has been telling us, it’s that the environment badly needs our help.
As the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world, former President Obama became an important proponent in the world’s fight against climate change. Apart from his contributions to the UN’s environmental platforms, Obama also pushed for the development of renewable energy and restoration of polluted areas. His administration spearheaded several policies that aimed to reduce the country’s carbon footprint, protect environmental sites, and promote responsibility for the environment. The former President’s positive influence for Mother Nature was indeed one of the most important legacies that his administration left behind. This is one of the reasons why many are on edge when it comes to President Trump’s policies on the environment and the energy industry.
Of the many contrasts between the Obama and Trump administration policies, it is safe to say that the environment is not an exception. With a President that says global warming is “an expensive hoax”, media coverage of Trump administration news is bound to be filled with controversy. In fact, many have already predicted that Trump’s refusal to accept climate change will help boost the energy sector, particularly the oil and gas industries.
Part of the Obama administration’s platforms was the Clean Power Plan which limited the carbon dioxide emissions of power plants in 47 states. This aimed to reduce the country’s emissions by 32% by 2030. However, President Trump has since slashed the platform to pave the way for fossil fuel companies. According to him, less environmental regulation means reduced company costs and more opportunities for coal industries to emerge.
Another Obama platform, The Stream Protection Rule, was also put to a stop by the Trump administration. This rule would have enforced coal mining companies to be more responsible in their activities as to not contaminate local streams. This would have imposed additional costs for mining companies to conduct studies of local streams and water supply and to restore the streams to their original states. Mining companies did not take a liking to this rule which is why Trump’s win was also a win for them.
Moreover, Trump’s go signal for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline made headlines as this controversial project was halted by former President Obama in 2016. Several protests have been made in order to block the construction of this pipeline due to its impact on the environment and a local tribal community near the area.
One policy that both Obama and Trump seem to have in common is their support for the Renewable Fuel Standard. This policy favors the development of ethanol and biofuels. Last February, Trump gave his reassurance that his administration would continue to support this industry.
It is clear that Trump’s plans for the energy industry will have a significant impact on the environment. For many, the growth of the energy industry in the country will eventually lead to our independence from foreign energy supply and a better economy. However, we must also think about how the destruction of our environment will affect future generations. At what cost are we willing to achieve economic growth?