The Daily Gamecock

Column: Trump has disastrous climate policy


I would like to say that you would have to be living under a rock not to have noticed how drastically our climate is changing. But I can’t, because even things that live under rocks are being affected. Each year we break a new record for World’s Hottest Year, American islands are disappearing, and we are living in a mass extinction event greater than the one that killed the dinosaurs. Our situation is bleak, my fellow humans. I also would like to say that that makes me sad, but honestly I’m rooting for whatever will kill us all the fastest, and climate change seems like a solid bet.

So in this time of global warming, heat crises and crop failure, how much should we prioritize renewable fuel and limiting carbon emissions? Donald Trump seems to think the answer to that question is not at all. As Obama left office, he left a decently strong environmental legacy behind him. Trump has already begun dismantling it, with the removal of the Clean Water rule several weeks ago, and now Trump is releasing an executive order that, among other things, releases all regulation on coal leasing, and mostly damningly, frees all federal officials from the burden of considering climate change when making decisions. Essentially, our government is putting blinders on, turning the air conditioner up and pretending everything is okay. Have you seen the meme of the cute dog sitting in a burning house, and he’s smiling even as his face melts? Yup. This is all fine.

This environmental platform of Trump’s is no surprise. Conservatives are still swearing up and down that climate change is a hoax, even while they’re sweating on their way to work in February. Florida representatives are allegedly not allowed to say the words “climate change,” so I suppose they’re blaming all the new cases of heat stroke and the disappearing beachlines on those raging liberals. The director of the EPA, who has sued the EPA "at least 14 times", seems to think his job is about creating jobs, instead of protecting the environment. This is what conservatives asked for: more jobs and no environmental protection regulations. The U.S. has to stay competitive in a world that is not slowing down, only speeding up in industry and consumption.

But let me present you with an extended metaphor. Say that you live in a house with your brother, your sister and a young child you’re all raising together. You all smoke cigarettes, and pretty soon the kid starts to cough. You take the kid to 100 doctors, and 97 of them say that if you keep smoking, your kid is going to choke to death in their own home. Now, your brother and sister don’t look like they’re quitting, but you still could. If you stopped smoking, there would be a third less smoke in your house, and maybe your kid would stop coughing so much.

The kid is the environment, we are not-so-slowly killing it, and if Trump is successful in rolling back all of Obama’s environmental protections, as well as some environmental laws set in place in the Nixon Green Politics era, our world is going to get a whole lot sicker. I hope you all enjoy sweating, coughing and starving. And if you voted for Trump, then you’re not allowed to complain. You asked for this.


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