The Fight For Mankind’s Survival

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created to protect the American people from the harmful air, water, and ground pollutants. Some of its first mandates were to oversee the implementation of the Clean Air Act (1970), the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act (1972), and the Clean Water Act (1972). From 1970 to 1990, the EPA was directly responsible for a one-third decrease in air pollution; since the start of the 21st century, it has increased its focus on alleviating the effects of climate change. Responses to climate change were prioritized by the EPA under the Obama administration. However, the Trump administration has, at every turn, worked to dismantle and disable the EPA. Such behavior is reckless and immoral, a betrayal of everything good government stands for, and it must end if this Nation is to continue.

Trump first nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA – a man who has sued the EPA 14 times. Under his leadership, the EPA rejected its former mission and instead began working to benefit industries like coal and fracking by rolling back EPA efforts. He fired more than 100 scientist advisors and worked with the administration to slash the EPA’s budget from $8.4 billion in 2016 to $6.1 billion this fiscal year. 

Every administrator of the EPA should be a champion of facts and science; instead, Scott Pruitt became the greatest champion of the very industries he was supposed to be regulating, while harming the very people he was supposed to protect! After less than two years on the job and fourteen ethics investigations, Scott Pruitt finally resigned. Unfortunately, his successor, EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal industry lobbyist who worked to overturn the Obama administration’s regulations on power plant emissions. Wheeler’s past experience should disqualify him leading the EPA, yet that is exactly why the Trump administration chose him. President Trump has declared himself a champion of coal, saying, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” This country is supposed to work for its citizens, but this administration has shown that it is only interested in working for large multinationals at the people’s expense.  The fact that that this behavior continues unimpeded is revolting.

In 2017, the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, arguing that its provisions targeted U.S. industries and “effectively decapitate[d its] coal industry.” President Trump seems either oblivious or indifferent to the fact that the United States has produced 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions since the Industrial Revolution and remains a top contributor to current increases in the planet’s temperature. As such, it is just and imperative that the United States bears the largest burden of responding to climate change. The richest one billion people in this planet have polluted the most, and it is going to be the poorest three billion who pay for it.

You might have noticed that the administration’s argument for its environmental policies is that regulations threaten economic growth. By placing strict regulations on companies, it claims, we reduce economic efficiency. However, climate change and pollution are threats to the economy. As sea levels rise, hundreds of millions of people around the world will be displaced, including citizens in huge swaths of the United States: New York, Boston, San Francisco, Charleston, all of Florida, and many other metropolitan areas up and down the coasts. As global temperatures increase, crop yields will decrease. Rising sea levels and global temperatures mean more extreme weather. Climate change may not be the direct cause of natural disasters, but the scientific data is irrefutable that it has exacerbated existing ones, particularly hurricanes and wildfires. All of these effects coalesce into hundreds of billions of dollars in damage, and it will only get worse.

On October 8, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN-backed scientific body, released an ultimatum: triple the energy production of renewables, remove fossil-fuel-powered cars from the road, and limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C, all by 2050. Any greater increase and the Arctic ends as we know it, the world’s coral reefs will be eradicated, and our crop yields will be slashed. We can’t just let the free market decide our future for us – the government needs to step in, and it needs to do it now. 

And yet the Trump administration doesn’t just seek to maintain the status quo. It is shifting the country into reverse and going full throttle. Climate change is the issue of our time and of our generation. The Trump administration’s malicious ineptitude needs to end. The world cannot respond effectively without the United States, and if we don’t take drastic measures in the next ten years, this country won’t survive to see its tricentennial.