President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with climate change skeptics.
In some cases that’s obviously concerning — Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency reportedly said evolution is a “theory” and has challenged environmentalist concerns at every turn. In other cases it’s less clear why it would matter whether a department head didn’t believe in climate science — such as when Ben Carson challenged the veracity of climate science, or when the head of the Department of Agriculture hired a right-wing radio host who dismissed climate research as “junk science”.
Emily Holden is a reporter with POLITICO who says climate change is pertinent to all facets of government, and the people Trump has surrounded himself with can and have changed the environmental concerns of our government for years to come. She recently wrote an article titled “Climate Change Skeptics Run the Trump Administration”.
Most famously, the president and his team have scrubbed mentions of climate change from government websites, kicked scientists off advisory boards, repudiated the Obama administration’s greenhouse gas regulations and made the U.S. the only nation on Earth to reject the 2015 Paris agreement on global warming.
More quietly, Trump’s White House excluded rising temperatures from the list of threats in its December national security strategy, contradicting the approach of both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. Last year, just before Hurricane Harvey drowned Houston, the White House rescinded requirements that projects built with federal dollars take into account the way warming temperatures might intensify extreme weather.
People worried about the consequences of climate change say a government that denies the problem is courting danger.
“The analogy could be if somebody’s got a heart problem or high cholesterol, you take medicine that helps manage that so you can avoid a heart attack,” said Ana Unruh Cohen, the government affairs director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Trump taking that away, saying, ‘Forget it, I don’t believe I have high cholesterol,’ is setting up the country for a heart attack.”
Nick Schroeck is director of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic, and assistant clinical professor at Wayne State University Law School.
He tells Detroit Today that climate change can and will have a big impact here in the Great Lakes state, so what the federal government does to manage the effects of climate change matters right here at home.
Shroeck says there are fish species that can have trouble reproducing if the lakes warm or change, and there could be increased intensity of storms and runoff into the lakes.
“If you ask any of the scientists… who are working on the Great Lakes, climate change is always right there at the top of the list of threats to the Great Lakes,” says Schroeck.
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