President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order dismantling Obama-era climate policies, keeping his campaign promise to support the coal industry and calling into question U.S. support for an international deal to fight global warming.
According to his advisers, the newly rolled out executive order is Trump’s attempt to put American jobs first.
“It is an issue that deserves attention. But I think the president has been very clear that he is not going to pursue climate change policies that put the U.S. economy at risk. It is very simple," an unnamed senior administration official said.
The order's main target is former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants. The bill further repeals at least six Obama-era executive orders aimed at addressing global warming.
However, it still remains unclear whether Trump will be able to do so as environmentalists believe most of these moves will certainly end in court.
According to Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Trump's executive order "will make things harder, not easier for Americans."
“The executive order does not make the Clean Power Plan go away. This is the first move of a long chess game that will take years to unfold and future moves will be far more challenging," said Richard Revesz, director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU School of Law.
Revesz further added that the executive order "has no legal significance at all" as it will be part of a process that has many significant hurdles built in.
Trump’s executive order also undoes rules to curb carbon-dioxide and methane — the two gases that scientists have blamed for extreme heating of the earth. Therefore, the order is likely to bring more heat waves. Scientists also believe that rising numbers of temperatures worldwide is a result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, CPP would have avoided 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children, up to 1,700 heart attacks and 1,700 hospital admissions.
It also remains unclear if the United States will be able to meet its commitments under a climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.
The country has a thorny path to tread when it comes to climate change. Trump administration could be urged to favor renewable, nuclear and hydropower energy sources as potential creators of American jobs but instead the Trump administration is taking the U.S. back nearly a decade, preventing it from meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement and unconscionably weakening the world’s progress in lowering emissions.