November 26, 2016 · 1:30 PM EST Writer Adam Wernick
President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to cancel the Clean Power Plan and the US role in the Paris Agreement. Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr
This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.
Based on the promises President-elect Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, “advocates of clean energy and strong environmental protection have almost nothing to cheer about,” says Peter Dykstra of DailyClimate.org and Environmental Health News.
“For the most part, Trump’s rhetoric has been very hostile toward environmental regulation,” he notes. “At one point, he vowed to abolish the [Environmental Protection Agency]. But in September, he said that he’ll ‘refocus the EPA on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water for all Americans.’”
In another September promise, Trump said he’d do away with the Clean Power Plan and cut back on controversial elements of the Clean Water Act, Dykstra says. “He’s vowed to reverse Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, open up more federal lands to fossil fuel production, and, in his words, ‘rip up’ the Paris climate agreement.”
“Flipping the US from climate leadership to climate denial will impact the entire world, both politically and physically,” Dykstra believes. “As David Roberts, who follows this issue very closely for the Vox website, wrote, ‘Any hope of avoiding serious impact from climate change pretty much disappeared on Election Day.’”
Trump’s campaign pledges to bring back coal-mining jobs pleased many voters, but even someone like Robert Murray, “the most zealous of the coal magnates,” says they are unrealistic, according to Dykstra. While some coal company stocks that had plummeted in recent years gained ground right after Election Day, Dykstra believes the new administration likely can’t stop the further decline of coal or the rapid growth of wind and solar industries, because both are market-driven phenomena and not the result of government policy.