wooden sign that says 'please stay on track'

Trump signs executive order rolling back Obama era climate protections

President Trump signed an executive order this week which aims to undo crucially important climate protections which were put in place by the Obama administration.

The move is disguised as one promoting energy independence and economic growth, but the practical outcomes are clear: the Trump administration does not intend to take the steps needed to meet the US’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “This is a monumental and ill-considered mistake by Trump which will have a hugely detrimental impact on American citizens, on jobs and on the environment.

“The vast majority of Americans understand the need to protect the environment and tackle climate change. We must not allow progress to be turned back.”

The executive order will have a major impact on environmental and climate change policy in the US.

It follows a series of harmful decisions made by the president including the move to advance construction of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, as well as vowing to limit the strict fuel-economy standards placed on automakers.

It will remove a ban on coal mining on federal lands, withdraw all government policy that takes the social cost of carbon into account when making regulations and it will call for a review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

The good news is that U.S. law requires government agencies to justify their decisions to remove regulations.

Just because President Trump is ignoring climate change, does not mean that it no longer exists.

The science is settled and government agencies will have a difficult time providing evidence that rules should be repealed.

As well as the legal procedures in place, NGOs and states have vowed to challenge the Trump administration’s decisions on climate change every step of the way.

Trump is already facing a backlash from environment groups who have launched a series of legal challenges in the last month. The fight over coal and the Keystone XL oil pipeline is expected to be just the first of many.

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Patrick Slaven