This post is part of WRI’s blog series, The Trump Administration. The series analyzes policies and actions by the administration and their implications for climate change, energy, economics and more.
In the 100 days since President Donald Trump took office, his administration has embarked on an all-out assault on the environment, rolling back existing climate programs, endangering public health and undermining international climate commitments.
The list of programs under attack is long: vehicle fuel efficiency standards, limits on methane leaks, groundwater protections, the Clean Power Plan and much more. The Trump administration is also proposing unprecedented budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency that would eliminate 3,200 jobs and end climate change research and international programs.
These proposals are deeply unpopular with the American public, which overwhelmingly supports reducing carbon pollution, and many run counter to the desires of Trump’s own voter base. Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, found 75 percent of Trump’s voters want action to accelerate deployment of clean energy.
WRI created the table below to capture the efforts the Trump administration has taken thus far to stymie progress on climate and clean energy and further increase the country’s dependence on fossil fuels:
If the administration can see these actions through, the country’s ability to prevent dangerous and costly impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and other air and water pollution will be hamstrung.
However, proposing roll backs and budget cuts is not the same as accomplishing them.
Congress holds the purse strings, and legislators will need to decide—against pressure from constituents—whether to defund programs as severely as President Trump has suggested. Enacting these cuts would imperil Americans’ access to clean water to drink and clean air to breathe. It would also undermine American credibility on the international stage just as the world is gearing up to deliver on the promises made in the Paris Agreement.
The Trump administration is also bound by science and the law. Several of these rollbacks are already being challenged in court, with more likely to come. And encouragingly, states, cities and some of the nation’s biggest businesses have shown strong resolve to do right by their residents and customers by continuing to pursue a low-carbon economy.
Will the attacks on environmental progress continue, or will Congress and other actors put a stop to dangerous rollbacks? Only time will tell.