Trump's Proposed Budget Is a Blow to Fighting Climate Change - March, 2017

Trump's Proposed Budget Is a Blow to Fighting Climate Change
March 2017

If we had any doubts about the Trump Administration's support for taking action on Climate Change, those doubts have evaporated! The 2018 budget proposal just released includes cuts to the funding for all of the programs that would enable the US to take meaningful action and fulfill our commitments to the global community as agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Environmental Protection Agency would take a 31% cut from its current budget, resulting in the loss of over 3 thousand jobs. Dozens of programs that address Climate Change plus others that enable pollution cleanups and promote energy efficiency would be wiped out of the Trump administration budget proposal. This stripped down budget also removes funding for the Clean Power Plan, that is reducing power plant emissions, and scraps Climate Change research and measurement programs.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, confirmed that the Trump administration wants a smaller EPA and the budget reflects that. He confirmed that the new administration had no interest in funding to combat Climate Change. "We consider that to be a waste of money", Mulvaney told reporters. Additional reductions at the Energy, State, and Treasury Departments would also damage the ability of the federal government to combat climate change.

Trump and his cabinet don't consider Climate Change an urgent threat and they (conveniently) believe the question of human responsibility is still debatable even though the question is more than settled in the scientific community and largely acknowledged by the general public.

Therefore, it is up to us to make our voices heard if we want to prevent the administration from ignoring science and allowing our planet to burn!

Trump's Election Creates Climate Uncertainty! - November 25, 2016

On November 4, 2016, we celebrated as the Paris Climate Change Agreement came into force! We were feeling pretty good about the determination of the world to address climate change. Then on November 8, the US election was held and to our amazement and shock, Donald Trump was elected to be the next president!

Meanwhile, in Marrakech, Morocco, world leaders were meeting for the first UN Climate Change Conference, following the Climate Agreement coming into force. This Conference emphasized the strong support for the Agreement throughout the world and made it clear that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway Most all the Countries of the world have supported the Agreement because they realize their national interest is best secured by pursuing the common good. Now the difficult work begins as each country must develop and implement a long term strategy to meet its targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and development of climate resilience. Four countries have already submitted such a long term strategy: Mexico, United States, Germany, and Canada.

And yet, President-elect Trump has made statements indicating he will withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. While it is too soon to know what actions he will actually take, it seems clear that he will likely do all that he can to weaken or eliminate US participation in the Paris Agreement.

And yet, the announcements made at the Marrakech Conference give us hope that there are limits to the damage President-elect Trump can do to the worldwide efforts. For example, China's chief climate negotiator, Minister Xie Zhenhua, said that no matter what the US does, China will remain committed to taking action.

Also, the Science Based Targets Initiative announced that 200 companies have committed to set emissions reduction targets consistent with the global effort to keep temperatures well below the 2-degree threshold. More companies are joining this initiative every week! Clearly climate action has gained tremendous momentum in the private sector.

Meanwhile, in an Op-ed in Bloomberg News, Michael Bloomberg writes, "I am confident that no matter what happens in Washington, no matter what regulations the next administration adopts or rescinds, no matter what laws the next Congress may pass, we will meet the pledges that the US made in Paris. The reason is simple: Cities, businesses and citizens will continue reducing emissions, because they have concluded -- just as China has -- that doing so is in their own self-interest."

So, we are left feeling uncertain but also feeling hopeful. Truly 2017 will bring high drama as these countervailing forces unfold. We'll attempt to follow events and share our thoughts right here!

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