President Trump has ordered a review of U.S. vehicle fuel-efficiency standards as part of an ongoing attack on everything his predecessor did to reduce emissions and address climate change including, according to Bloomberg, removing climate change from environmental reviews. However, the task of undoing regulations is not as simple as signing an Executive Order – the proposition will still have to go through extensive rulemaking proceedings and survive lawsuits, such as that filed by California to protect fuel standards. This pushback continues on many fronts, with Republicans in Congress vowing to stop the President’s budget cuts to Environmental Protection Agency programs (expected this week), and a group of Republicans calling for action to stop climate change. States, cities and businesses continue to prioritize climate action as a Gallup poll shows US concern on climate change is at a three decade high, and a new consortium representing half a million U.S. doctors issues a report and campaign warning that climate change is making people sick.
— Climate Nexus (@ClimateNexus) March 15, 2017
- As President Trump announced a review of Obama’s fuel efficiency standards for US automobiles the State of California – whose rules cover around 40 percent of vehicles sold in the US – has already filed a motion to defend those standards. Trump’s announcement comes after heavy lobbying by the auto and oil industries, and an investigation into cronyism in Trump’s administration points to five key players who are pulling the anti-environmental strings.
- The U.S. President’s budget is expected to land this week, with massive cuts to Environmental Protection Agency programs, but one leading Republican has already announced it’s “dead on arrival.” The axe hanging over the Clean Power Plan has yet to fall but already many are pointing out legal and procedural roadblocks – as with Trump’s promise on vehicle fuel standards. Another challenge to Trump’s attack on climate is the revelation that his new Defense Secretary James Mattis told Congress that he will push ahead with action on climate change he recognises as a threat to American interests at home and abroad.
- In the face of EPA head Scott Pruitt’s denial of the basic facts of climate science, concern at the impacts of climate change continues to mount, with a new coalition representing nearly half a million US doctors launching a campaign to warn Americans that climate change makes you sick. More than 1000 businesses have now signed onto the Low Carbon USA letter, and mayors pledged to do their part to deliver on Paris Agreement pledges, and a group of 17 Republicans have passed a resolution calling for action on climate to protect the economy.
- Trump to shelve fuel mileage rules, inviting a fight with California (LA Times)
- Big win for automakers as Trump orders fuel economy standards review (Reuters)
- Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles (NY Times)
- States Ramp up Attacks on Incentives for Electric Vehicles (DeSmog)
- Trump to Drop Climate Change From Environmental Reviews, Source Says (Bloomberg)
- Donald Trump Budget Slashes Funds for E.P.A. and State Department (NY Times)
- Trump is poised to issue a sweeping order dismantling Obama’s climate plan this week (Washington Post)
- New Doctors’ Group Highlights Climate Change’s Urgent Threat to Health Nationwide (Inside Climate News)
- Trump’s Defense Secretary Cites Climate Change as National Security Challenge (ProPublica)
- There are reasons to be sceptical about US climate sceptics (Financial Times $$)
- Scott Pruitt denies basic climate science. But most of the outrage is missing the point. (Vox – Dave Roberts)
- Scott Pruitt’s office deluged with angry callers after he questions the science of global warming (Washington Post)
TOOLS AND RESOURCES
- Sign: Help fight President Trump’s Dangerous Environmental Assault (NRDC)
- Resolution: Signed by 17 House republicans (Elise Stefanik R-NY)
- Read: Letter to Scott Pruitt (AmetSoc)
- Filed: Legal Motion defending fuel standards (State of California)
- Poll: Global warming concern at three decade high in US (Gallup)
- Report: Climate Change Is Harming Our Health (Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health)
- Analysis: Who’s Pulling the Strings on President Trump’s Anti-Environmental Agenda? (CAP)
- “If you look at the Republican position on climate change and Donald Trump’s statements on climate change, they come closest to the national policies of Nicaragua, Syria and North Korea. The Republican Party is the only major political party in the world that does not seem to accept the basic science that the world is warming and that we are causing it. That’s the central starting point of his energy and climate instincts and we’ll see how real that belief really is.” Bloomberg sustainability editor, Eric Roston.
- “I agree that the effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation. I will ensure that the department continues to be prepared to conduct operations today and in the future, and that we are prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on our threat assessments, resources, and readiness.” – Defense Secretary James Mattis.
- “In reality, the world’s seven billion people are causing climate to change and our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the primary cause. This is a conclusion based on the comprehensive assessment of scientific evidence. It is based on multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world. We are not familiar with any scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached a different conclusion.” American Meteorological Society Executive Director Keith L. Seitter.
- “As medical professionals, many of our members know firsthand the harmful health effects of climate change on patients. We know that addressing climate change through reduction in fossil fuel use will lead to cleaner air and water, to immediate health benefits for Americans, and will help to limit global climate change.” Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health Mission Statement.