“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”
Ancient American Indian Proverb
The Paris Climate Accord
This administration will make the final decision on the fate of the Paris agreement before a meeting of the Group of 7 leading economies at the end of May. President Trump had vowed to “cancel” the climate deal which would weaken it substantially. Some policy advisors, however, have recently urged Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris Accord. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and major corporations have stepped in to embrace this position. There would be both diplomatic and economics consequences to withdrawing from the accord. Other governments will be less likely to carry out their pledged emissions cuts without the U.S. In addition, most countries will place a carbon tariff on imports of American made goods. Regardless of the upcoming decision, the U.S. Paris pledge of reducing 2005 planet-warming carbon pollution 26% by 2026 was fractured by Trump’s decision to dismantle the Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan
The Trump Administration issued an executive order gutting the Clean Power Plan . The plan’s goals were to regulate emissions from power plants, and reduce harmful soot and smog. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that when implemented, the plan would prevent 3,600 premature deaths a year. In addition, the agency said, it would prevent 1,700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks and 300,000 missed days of work or school a year.
The other purpose of the Clean Power Plan was to ask states to set clean energy goals. Western states are already running homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy and many are on track to surpass what the Clean Power Plan outlines while keeping energy bills low. Most states have clean energy goals in place as a way to create jobs, reduce energy bills and cut damaging pollution. The fear is that without a Clean Power Plan, some states may not set clean energy goals. In the end, repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan will be a tricky, years-long process.
The EPA Pesticide Decision
Toxic chemicals will face less restrictive regulation by the Trump Administration. It is keeping chlorpyrifos on the market despite evidence that found harm to consumers or humans living in the areas where the pesticide was applied. Fruit and vegetable farmers use this chemical on citrus trees, strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower. EPA proposed a ban on chlorpyrifos in 2015, and the present EPA says it’s reversing course.
Fuel Efficiency Standards For Cars
This administration is considering rolling back fuel efficiency standards that required automakers to achieve an average 54 mpg across their fleets by 2025. Such rules are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An earlier EPA waiver has allowed California and a dozen other states to set stricter emissions standards than these. The administration has this waiver in its crosshairs as automakers will still be compelled to produce more fuel efficient cars as California is its largest car market.
Climate Progress With or Without Trump?
Michael R. Bloomberg, billionaire and former mayor of New York City, claims that there will be climate progress despite this administration’s rollback of environmental protections. “No matter what roadblocks the White House and Congress throw up, the United States can — and I’m confident, will — meet the commitment it made in Paris in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.” He believes people are ….. underestimating the role that cities, states, businesses and consumers are playing in driving down emissions on their own.” He goes on to say “The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which works to replace coal with cleaner forms of energy ……, projects that more plant closings will get us to nearly two-thirds of our goal. …In combination with existing federal policies that can’t be undone, like vehicle fuel efficiency standards through model year 2021, the last third can be achieved by cities and businesses that are taking action to cut pollution and improve their energy efficiency. ”
Respond & React
The Sierra Club , founded by legendary conservationist John Muir, is now the most influential grassroots environment organization accepting donations and offering many opportunities to take action under their Move Beyond Fossil Fuels programs.
The League of Conservation Voters is an American political advocacy organization that assists political candidates who it believes support a pro-environment agenda. It accepts donations and coordinates actions.
The Union of Concerned Scientists performs important research on climate changes and breaks down those results so non-scientists can understand. They also offer a toolkit for those looking to get involved with advocacy work, from tips on writing and calling policymakers, getting media to cover events, and raising issues at public meetings – so your actions can have the biggest impact.
The Environmental Defense Fund is a nonprofit environmental advocacy group with a staff of 550 scientists, economists and policy experts. It accepts donations and coordinates various actions.
Hold Your Representatives Accountable.
- Send a postcard
- Attend town hall meetings and ask questions
- Attend public events with your Member of Congress and ask questions.
- Talk to your Member of Congress in person, at the district or congressional office.
A sample script: I support the Paris Climate Accord. We must limit global temperature rise in order to avoid the most dangerous consequences of the climate crisis. Don’t roll back the Clean Power Plan. Obligate the EPA to protect the climate and reduce carbon emissions. I want my food to be toxin free. Ban the use of chlorpyrifos and protect the health of our families. In closing, I am in favor of strong fuel efficiency standards and do not expect to have them weakened. More efficient vehicles result in fuel economy, and leaves our air cleaner and our climate healthier.
- Participate in an organized march
Saturday, Earth Day, April 22, this country will have a nation-wide March For Science. Marches will take place in Washington, D.C., in addition to other locations. This was organized by “a diverse, non-partisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”
THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MOVEMENT
Saturday, April 29, 350.org, an international environmental organization, is organizing a march on Washington DC , and across the country to bring attention to the climate crisis.
Don’t let fear stop you. Don’t give up because you are paralyzed by insecurity or overwhelmed by the odds, because in giving up, you give up hope.
It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.