March 29, 2017 2:25:37 pm
With the aim to increasing industrial investments, American president Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an order to undo the Obama era climate change program. The target of the order is the Clean Power Plan unveiled by former president Barack Obama on August 3, 2015 with the view of lowering carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 32 per cent within the next 25 years.
“My administration is putting an end on the war on coal. I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy to reverse government intrusions and to cancel job killing regulations,” declared Trump at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, where he signed the order. Surrounded by coal company executives and staff and miners who applauded Trump’s move, he is reported to lift restrictions on coal leasing and restrictions on methane releases at oil and gas drilling facilities.
Trump’s order has unleashed widescale criticism from environmentalists who consider the ruling to be “dangerous and going against the broader trend toward cleaner energy technologies.” On the other hand, however, a number of industrialists have praised the order as being a major boost to the coal industry.
The varying responses to Trump’s order is representative of the diametrically opposing view that the current president of America holds from that of his predecessor. While Obama had, since his first election campaign, repeatedly harped on the necessity to clamp down on coal as a source of energy, Donald Trump during his campaign criticised Obama’s policy as cutting down America’s global competitiveness. In view of Trump’s order on climate change, here is an examination of the opposing views on environment between him and Obama.
Obama’s climate change plan
CUT COAL: One of the main points Barack Obama raised during his election campaign in 2008 was the need to depend more on renewable energy and cut down on coal as an energy source. He had further declared that under his administration, America will work out an industrial and trading system that cuts down on global warming. A result of this declaration was the American Clean Energy and Security Act, that was passed by the House of Representatives in 2009, but not approved by the Senate.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: In 2010, the United States Federal Budget announced a plan to invest $15 billion per year for the next 10 years with a view to support renewable energy sources. In 2012, Obama’s administration passed another law limiting the emission of greenhouse gases from new power plant projects to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of energy produced.
CUT EMISSIONS: Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ announced in August 2015 aimed at reducing emissions from coal burning plants which is estimated to cut down pollutants by 25 per cent. The plan required individual states to cut down coal emission levels by various means and to submit a plan for the same to the federal government.
PARIS AGREEMENT: In April 2016, America took one of the most drastic steps in terms of climate change when it entered into the Paris agreement with 193 other countries. The Paris agreement aims at attacking climate change at a global level rather than restricting responsibility of checking environmental costs on developed countries alone. The plan that asked all member countries to regularly report on the progress of their plans aims at reducing global emissions with the goal of carbon neutrality by the end of the century. It also aims at limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees.
Trump’s policy towards climate change
LIFTING RESTRICTIONS: Soon after Donald Trump took oath to office the page on the White House website that gave information on climate change disappeared and was replaced by a different page titled, “An America first energy plan”. “For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years,” says the new page on the website.
REVIVE COAL: The Trump administration’s motive being far removed from Obama’s policy seeks to employ energy resources in a way that would increase jobs in America. Revival of the coal industry is also foremost in priority for the administration.
PULL OUT OF PARIS PACT: Trump’s skepticism towards Obama’s climate change plan was evident during his campaign days when he declared that global warming is a hoax and that climate change is not real. Rather, he stressed on the need for lifting environmental restrictions from companies in view of the fact that manufacturers in China and elsewhere are able to operate without such limitations. Trump had indicated his inclination to pull out of the Paris agreement as well. However, it is definitely a more difficult task considering that any country wanting to pull out of the deal has to wait for four years.
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