The Biggest Climate Fails of 2019

Updated: Jan 8

A look back at the biggest blunders in American climate policy over the last year

As we look back on the last year of climate change, it is important to note where the world succeeded, and where it fell short. Under the unfortunate leadership of President Donald Trump, the once-great nation of America not only fell short, but it also receded in many of its climate goals.

Last week, a panel of lead climate researchers voiced their opinions and concerns about the new Trump administration's proposed environmental regulations, the New York Times reported. Their concerns included worries about Trump's rollback of the Clean Power Plan, a weakening of the American Clean Air Act and the undoing Obama-era methane emission standards.

What's more, these researchers are part of EPA's Scientific Advisory Board, many of whom were appointed by Donald Trump himself, and yet still are voicing concerns about the potential environmental damage his new policies could cause.

These announcements come in the wake of the devastating Australian fires still ravaging the continent due to a record-breaking heatwave, with no end in sight.

The 3 largest climate fails in America

1. Removing Methane Standards from the Clean Air Act

When Donald Trump took office a few years ago, he made it clear about his intentions to "clean house" at the Environmental Protection Agency. Unfortunately for the world, his idea of clean-house meant to rid the agency of many of its best scientists and leading researchers. This past August, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would strip the Clean Air Act of methane regulations, to reduce the 'burden' on Oil and Gas companies.

For those not up to date on their environmental sciences, methane is a greenhouse gas, far worse than CO2 when it comes to trapping heat in our atmosphere. Many researchers have attributed methane pollution, combined with CO2 emissions, to the increased temperatures around the globe. If the current record-breaking heatwave rampaging across Australia is any indication of what is to come, then America should be doing everything it can to reverse this Trump Administration policy.

2. Prevented States from Enforcing Their own Air Quality Standards

Not only did the Trump Administration want to cut the legs out from federal environmental regulations, but it also sought to make sure that states could not enforce their own environmental policies if they so wished.

This Septemeber, the EPA stated it would prevent California from enforcing its own greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles. Many legal experts have said that this is a clear violation of the Clean Air Act, which was specifically created to allow states to create their own air quality standards.

The EPA even granted California the waiver to enforce its own environmental regulations several years ago and since then over 13 states have adopted similar forms of air quality standards.

When Trump's EPA tried to revoke the waiver and prevent California from enforcing its chosen air quality standards, it threw the matter of state-created environmental regulations into legal jeopardy. Since the EPA's announcement in September, over 20 states have brought legal suits to the Trump administration over the controversial decision.

3. Significantly Crippling the Clean Power Plan Created Under the Obama Administration

The Clean Power Plan was a signature policy created by President Obama, which reduced carbon emissions from power plants in America. In June, the Trump Adinistration suceeded in crippling this amazing program and replacing it with a policy far weaker. Trump's new policy was named "The Affordable Clean Energy Rule" and significantly lowered the carbon-reduction goals of the CPP. While Obama's CPP sought to decrease carbon emissions by 35% from 2005 to 2030, Trump's ACE seeks to only reduce emissions by 1.7% over the next few years. This announcement comes only months after the news that the United States' carbon emissions are once again on the rise after falling for several years straight.

What do you think about the Trump Administration's new climate policies? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

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Earthen Futures is a sustainability blog dedicated to keeping global citizens informed on ways to fight climate change and reduce their carbon footprint. We overview the latest environmental studies and research to provide you with the best available information on ways you can help the environment and make the world a better place.