On the 1st June 2017, the current POTUS announced in the White House Rose Garden that the United States would pull out of the Paris Agreement; a deal that has pledged 195 nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to combat the fiend otherwise known as climate change. Although, the US cannot legally withdraw until November 4th 2019, the announcement marked a huge step back in environmental action.
However, this isn’t the first time Trump has placed conspiracy first and attention to the environment second. The Trump Administration have also revised Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Whilst Forbes claims that Obama’s plan was designed to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants by 32% by 2030, Trump’s revised version would reduce emissions from the same plants by 1-2% by 2035. Furthermore, on numerous occasions, Trump has tweeted the exact same phrase from his Twitter account: “where the hell is global warming”, advocating the idea that we are in some sort of hide and seek game with any evidence of the concept.
But the thing is global warming isn’t even hiding…
According to NASA, Antarctica lost around 119 billion tons of ice in 2016 alone. According to the Royal Society, the global average surface air temperature has risen by about 0.8 °C. According to National Geographic, sea levels are rising by 3.5mm every year. The evidence is out there and any denial is the equivalent to tying your own blindfold.
Although it is true that climate change cannot be amounted to human causes alone with other factors contributing to it including the earth’s natural climate cycle, neither can blame be shifted away from us simply because it’s not a nice thing to think about. And that is exactly what Donald Trump has done through his demonstrated ignorance. By disassociating the US with the Paris Agreement among other actions, it suggests climate change isn’t a real issue, thus energising the conspiracy theories that label it as a hoax. This in turn causes people to ignore the news reports and the scientific studies as it implies the information given from these is not fully factual or important. It also excuses people to become ignorant in their own everyday actions despite the negative consequences the environment faces from these, from driving to a destination a street away, to leaving light switches on. Trump’s reduced larger actions against climate change imply other people’s smaller actions don’t matter at all.
Several times, Trump has blasted the idea of fake news in the media, which in fairness is a real issue when it exists. But the denial in climate change, evident in factors such as pulling out of the Paris Agreement, is fake news at its worst. It is arguably miseducating a nation.
Trump labelled The Paris Agreement as “an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.” However, surely any steps to benefit our environment would benefit the United States. Trump’s electoral campaign premise was to “Make America Great Again” and even now people show off t-shirts, caps and banners that emblazon this slogan with utmost pride. But how is this possible if the Trump Administration are acting ignorant to a worldwide threat? The lack of action the Trump Administration have taken regarding prevention of climate change is a failure. It’s not good for America, let alone great.
It’s called global warming but perhaps the title global warning would be more fitting as the cautionary signs are already here with rising temperatures and melting ice caps. The evidence shown is almost as if the earth has triggered its emergency TV broadcast for us to do something. But Trump obviously must be watching a different channel.
The Trump Administration does not completely deny climate change exists, however its stance on the issue is blurred, with a lack of clear information about action against it. This almost suggests a sense of apathy regarding the whole issue in the White House. And that is not okay.
Climate change requires action against it from every individual, and that is including the POTUS. Now more than ever it is important that when it comes to the environment, the Trump Administration start paying attention and doing more.
Written by Jen Cartwright