The Environment

11 Environmental Reasons To Oppose President Donald Trump’s UK State Visit

When it comes to the environment, Donald Trump's track record is genuinely dreadful

We’ve said a lot of things about Donald Trump over the last few years and, let’s be honest, unless you think being told you look like the backend of a horse is a compliment none of those things could be described as positive.

This sentient sofa-Wotsit, who also happens to be the President of the United States and commander of the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal (best not to think about it, pretend that isn’t true), is currently on a three-day state visit to the United Kingdom; a three-day state visit that’s costing British taxpayers an estimated £40million in security costs.

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”

Now, of course, there are plenty of reasons why this hosting of President Trump should be considered an embarrassment for our country. From his xenophobic rhetoric to his “Grab ’em by the pussy” misogyny, from his failure to condemn neo-nazis in Charlottesville to his dodgy dealings with Russia, the list is endless. Today though, we’re going to remind you of some of the ways in which he’s acted against the best interests of the environment and why he’s bad news for the outdoors.

Pull up a chair. It’s a long list (that we could have made longer).

1) Withdrawal From The Paris Climate Agreement

In June 2017, Donald Trump moved to withdraw the United States of America from the Paris Climate Agreement. The fact he once tweeted that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” means we should have seen it coming.

2) He Dropped Climate Change From List of national Security Threats

Again, this is a man who claims climate change, with all of its potentially apocalyptic consequences, is a hoax created by China. Still, his delisting of climate change from national security threats in December 2017 has meant less US Department of Defense research funding which in turn will lead to a reduced understanding of the causes and impact of wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. The guy’s taken America’s eye off the climate change ball at a time when it needs to be looked at more than ever.

3) He Wants To Feed You Chlorinated Chicken

With everything that’s been happening around Brexit, it’s hard to keep track of it all. But yes, it’s been no surprise to see Trump rooting for Britain’s exit from the European Union. One of the reasons is that our country’s departure from the Union would mean we no longer need to have a ban on imports of chlorine-washed chicken (standard practice in the States). Mmmm. Chlorine in the food. Delicious.

4) “Molecules of Freedom”

At the end of May 2019, the US Department of Energy department rebranded gas exports as “molecules of US freedom.” This term, as well “freedom gas,” appeared in a statement that followed the expansion of a Texan facility; one that’ll lead to an increase in America’s fossil fuel exports. While the terms themselves may be laughable in their stupidity, they do indicate that Trump’s administration will continue to roll back the vehicle-emissions climate change legislation introduced by Barack Obama. Remember him?

5) Donald Trump’s Dismantling Of Clean Power Plan

Lauded as one of Obama’s signature environmental policies, the Clean Power Plan required the energy sector to cut carbon emissions by 32% by 2030. However, in October 2017 it was rolled back by Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with Trump himself saying he wanted to end the “war on coal.”

In May 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced plans to change the way the agency calculates the health risks of air pollution in a way that will see fewer deaths reported (thus making it easier to do away with the Clean Power Plan). Wheeler, nominated by Trump, is against putting limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

6) Trump’s Dispute With Scottish Government Over Wind Farms

You know it. We know it. Trump loves golf. Man’s hooked on it. Can’t live without it. Shags his golf clubs when nobody’s looking. Shags them, then pays them to keep quiet and not go to the press with their story. Just a theory that. No evidence to support it.

Anyway, cast your mind back to his ridiculous dispute with the Scottish government over wind farms situated near his luxury golf course in Aberdeenshire. He’d argued, before becoming President, that the off-shore wind farms, which are an excellent way to produce clean energy btw, spoiled the view. He lost the battle in court, with judges ruling in February 2019 that Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd would have to pay the Scottish government’s legal bills.

He’s done worse things before and after becoming President but the whole sorry state of affairs re: his golf course in Scotland does sort of sum up what a petty, self-interested, clown this guy is.

7) His Response To Devastating Forest Fires In California

In November 2018, California was ravaged by devastating forest fires. The fires occurred in the midst of the state suffering a historic drought. Because of this, many big names, including Leonardo DiCaprio, pointed out that climate change was to blame for the forest fires and that the issue should go beyond partisan politics.

Not for Trump, massively unpopular in California, who tweeted “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

With the state at that time reeling from 25 deaths caused by the wildfires, as well as the loss of almost 200,000 acres of outdoor space, the President’s widely criticised response, one that threatened to cut federal aid, showcased his lack of humanity and his self-interested approach to the environment.

8) His Plans To Roll Back America’s Clean Water Act

In 2017, Trump ordered the EPA to formally review what waters fell under the jurisdiction of the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers according to the country’s Clean Water Act of 1972. The proposed rule changes, which are being hotly disputed, open the door for wetlands and tributaries, that were once protected by federal oversight, to be built on, fracked, farmed, and mined on free of government regulation around water pollution.

9) Trump’s Handling Of Endangered Species

Last year, the Trump administration announced its plans to change the way America’s 1973 Endangered Species Act is administered. In a nutshell, the changes put forward will see a greater emphasis put on economic factors when considering what counts as an endangered animal’s habitat.

Conservationists are rightly concerned. It’s reckoned that the Endangered Species Act has saved more than 200 species from extinction over the years.

10) The Wall

There’s so many things to say about the Mexican border wall but we’ll focus primarily on the awful environmental impact of it here (it’s obviously an awful idea on numerous other levels).

The border wall, if completed, will bisect the geographic space of over 1,500 native animals and plants (including 62 species that are currently listed as being critically endangered). It will increase soil erosion, alter natural water flows, disrupt wildlife refuges and parks, and could, according to an article published in National Geographic earlier this year, one that discusses the findings of an academic paper published in Bioscience, potentially disconnect a third of 346 native wildlife species from over 50% of their range. This dramatic limiting of the animals’ range risks their very survival by shrinking their ability to room for food, water, and mates.

11) The Dakota Access Pipeline

Donald Trump’s backing of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, within days of taking office in 2017, has put him in on a collision course with Native Americans and environmentalists ever since. The decision came after months of protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters. They had argued that the project would contaminate drinking water and damage sacred burial sites. Critics have also argued that the pipeline perpetuates fossil fuel production at a time when we should be moving away from it.

Protests continue to this day with the Trump administration now looking to significantly escalate federal penalties for pipeline protesters. The President is pushing for prison sentences of up to 20 years for anyone caught disrupting the construction of oil and gas infrastructure.

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