Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

7 Ways Trump’s First Week in the White House Was a Complete Disaster

Popular
7 Ways Trump’s First Week in the White House Was a Complete Disaster

By Brian Palmer

1. A Mission Long Since Accomplished

One of Donald Trump's first acts as president will be to solve problems we don't have. His America First Energy Plan promises to free us from "burdensome regulations" and end our "dependence on foreign oil."

Dependence on foreign energy was a legitimate concern in the 1970s, a decade when oil imports increased fivefold. This is not an issue anymore. During the Obama administration, oil imports dropped 25 percent. Bemoaning our dependence on imported oil in 2016 is to pretend the past eight years never happened. Take a look.

Trump taking credit for American energy independence is the equivalent of storming into the middle of a touchdown celebration, ripping the ball out of the scorer's hands and spiking it.

2. Which America?

When President Trump promises to put "America First," he means the part of America that voted for him. (Not to belabor the point, but that's substantially less than half the U.S. voting population.) The other America, it seems, can take a hike.

For instance, Trump's America First Energy Plan contains no mention of renewable energy. Solar ("very, very expensive," claims Trump, wrongly) now employs more Americans than oil, gas, or coal. Wind (a "very, very poor form of energy," in Trump's estimation) now generates more than 20 percent of the electricity in three states. Nearly two million Americans work full- or part-time jobs in energy efficiency, an industry that Trump undermined on his first day in office.

Of course, those jobs are in states with foreign-sounding names like "California" and "Hawaii." Mr. President, are these places not the America you were talking about?

3. Welcome to America, Censorship!

Speaking of real things that Trump doesn't believe in, the White House website now has virtually zero mentions of climate change. According to reports, the Trump administration has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a similar information purge. Trump has also banned press releases and social media posts at most agencies with any relationship to science—the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, etc. Shut up, science!

Fortunately, universities around the world have been toiling to preserve existing U.S. government data by copying it onto websites beyond Trump's reach. Meanwhile, someone has set up an uncensored alternative Twitter account for the National Park Service and the EPA (among others), and media outlets are offering how-to pages for aspiring government whistleblowers and document leakers.

Enraged scientists are considering a march on Washington (working title: "the Nerd Pride Parade"). There are more than six million scientists in the United States. If just 10 percent of them attend the march, they will outdraw the Trump inauguration. Do it, nerds!

The whole incident is a classic example of censorship backfire. Trump's attempt to stop people from talking about climate change has only multiplied the chatter. Experts refer to this as "the Streisand Effect."

4. The Trump-ian Inquisition

To further its war on scientific integrity, the Trump administration has ordered the EPA to submit all studies and data to political review before public release.

Extremism has a certain internal logic that you have to respect. Myron Ebell, the professional climate change denier who's leading the EPA transition, believes that "science is having a corrupting influence on politics." That idea is obviously backward. It's the scientists who identify facts and the politicians who take those facts and do unspeakable things to them.

However, in the context of Ebell's bizarre worldview, subjecting scientific studies to political review makes perfect sense. Ebell is the sort of man who looks at the Galileo affair and thinks, "Life at the center of the universe was so much better. They were too easy on him."

5. Participation Trophies?

Moving from censorship to outright lies, a major newspaper finally fact-checked Donald Trump's repeated boast that he has "received many, many environmental awards." The results are in. I hope you're sitting down for this—there is no evidence that Trump has ever won an award for environmental stewardship. The Washington Post gave him four Pinocchios for the whopper.

"I've actually been called an environmentalist, if you can believe that," Trump once said.

I can believe that, because the person doing the calling was Trump himself, and the audience laughed so hard when he said it that the hearing room had to be called back to order.

6. Pipelines: They're Baaack

President Trump signed an order on Tuesday expediting the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was under environmental review by the Army Corps of Engineers. He also formally requested that TransCanada reapply to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, an abrupt about-face from the Obama administration's KXL position, which could be summarized in two letters.

Trump, being Trump, had to toss out a falsehood while signing the order, muttering "lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs" in a supervillain voice that almost made it sound like he intended to keep all the jobs for himself. In fact, the KXL project would create a maximum of 4,650 jobs for only two years. Over the long-term, the pipeline would create just a few dozen permanent jobs.

7. It's Getting Chilly

In one of his first acts, President Trump froze all regulations made under the Obama administration that have not yet been finalized. Caught up in the freeze were 30 EPA rules, including the Renewable Fuel Standard and a formaldehyde-emission limit for wood products. Imagine the damage to U.S. businesses if the EPA had been allowed to limit the amount of formaldehyde—a skin irritant and known carcinogen—in the wooden floorboards our babies crawl on. Oh, the humanity. Trump also ordered a hiring and contracts freeze at the EPA, lest the agency try to save us from other dangers.

Reposted with permission from our media associate onEarth.

A crowd of climate activists march behind a banner in NYC during Climate Week on September 20, 2020. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Breanna Draxler

After decades on the political periphery, the climate movement is entering the mainstream in 2020, with young leaders at the fore. The Sunrise Movement now includes more than 400 local groups educating and advocating for political action on climate change. Countless students around the world have clearly communicated what's at stake for their futures, notably Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who just finished her yearlong school strike for climate. Youth activists have been praised for their flexible, big-picture thinking and ability to harness social media to deliver political wins, as Sunrise recently did for U.S. Sen. Ed Markey's primary campaign. They necessarily challenge the status quo.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Presidential nominee Joe Biden has not taken a stance on gas exports, including liquefied natural gas. Ken Hodge / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Simon Montlake

For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.

All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less
A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less
A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch