The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Are You Ready to Resist Trump and Join the Clean Energy Revolution?
By Ryan Schleeter
President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued one of his most anti-environment executive orders yet. And coming from the same president that fast-tracked the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and wants to defund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that's saying something.
With this order, Trump has instructed the EPA to reverse or re-examine some of the most important climate actions of the Obama era—like limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, halting coal leasing on public land and critical protections for climate-impacted communities.
But for all his efforts to prop up the fossil fuel industry, the best Trump can do is delay our inevitable transition to clean energy—not stop it. And while he does that, it's up to all of us to to minimize the devastation his administration will inflict on our climate and communities. Here's what to watch for.
Handouts for Coal Companies
During his time in office, President Obama used executive power to make big steps toward phasing out fossil fuels in favor of clean, renewable energy. The Clean Power Plan and coal leasing moratorium were two of the hallmarks of his climate legacy—now Trump is undoing both of them.
The Clean Power Plan addressed carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, setting the goal to reduce carbon emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The coal leasing moratorium, meanwhile, halted the sale of federal lands to fossil fuels companies for coal mining until the U.S. coal program could be overhauled with a specific eye towards climate impacts.
By attempting to undo both in a single executive order, Trump is making it perfectly clear that his administration puts fossil fuel CEOs before the American people. But we're skeptical that he'll actually succeed and so are global energy markets.
The rapid growth of clean energy jobs—coupled with the economic decline of the coal industry, even despite subsidies that continued under the Obama administration—means that Trump is fighting both basic science and economics on this one. Renewable energy is already delivering more jobs than a fossil fuel economy while protecting our health and climate for future generations.
Costs for American Communities
Trump's executive order isn't just short-sighted for our economy—it will also have devastating impacts for communities on the frontlines of climate change and fossil fuel exploitation.
The White House's staunch climate denial is depriving millions of Americans of the aid they desperately need to protect themselves from the worst impacts of climate change. Our most vulnerable communities cannot afford another Katrina or Sandy (or Matthew or Ike or Andrew or Irene).
And by giving corporate handouts to coal companies, Trump is further delaying a just transition to a clean, sustainable economy for the workers hurt most by the failing coal industry—and it's not the CEOs. Reinstating coal leasing on public lands will not bring back coal jobs, guarantee a fair return to taxpayers or accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. It will only make progress more painful for coal country and fuel the climate crisis.
And to top it off, Trump is also attacking the very idea that climate change comes with costs associated (reminder: it does). He's instructing federal agencies not to account for the social cost of carbon in policymaking, which could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.
Here's How We Fight This
Like the rest of the half-brained policies that have come from the Trump White House so far, this executive order is very likely to be challenged in court. Given this administration's track record (ahem, Muslim ban), that gives us hope that this attack on climate and environmental protection won't stand.
But if that's going to happen, we still need to show up in force. And in just one month, we'll have a chance to do that in a big way.
On April 29—day 100 of the Trump administration—we're marching for jobs, justice and the climate in DC with the People's Climate March. Three years ago, more than 400,000 people took to the streets of New York City for the inaugural march, but with the stakes even higher and the climate movement even stronger, this year is shaping up to be even bigger.
Join us this April if you're ready to resist Trump's attacks on climate progress and fight for the clean energy future we deserve.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."