Roundup: Environmental Rollbacks and the Climate Movement

Roundup: Environmental and Climate Rollbacks

Photo by Joseph = / flickr CC 2.0)

UPDATE: November 3, 2020

The US became the first country to officially exit the Paris climate accord Wednesday, the landmark agreement aimed at protecting the planet from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.—CNN

UPDATE: October 30, 2020

The Trump administration announced plans to lift restrictions on logging and building roads in a pristine rainforest in Alaska that provides habitat for wolves, bears and salmon. Conservation groups vowed to fight the decision on the Tongass National Forest.

“While tropical rainforests are the lungs of the planet, the Tongass is the lungs of North America,” Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist with the Earth Island Institute’s Wild Heritage project told The Washington Post. “It’s America’s last climate sanctuary.”

In a notice released Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it has decided to exempt the Tongass National Forest, the country’s largest national forest, from the so-called roadless rule, protections that ban road construction and timber harvests with limited exceptions. It applies to nearly one-quarter of all U.S. Forest Service lands.—CBS

President Trump has consistently garnered low ratings from environmental and climate crisis groups. Preeminent organizations of scientists — both national and international — have decried his policies and his removal of the United States from environmental and health agreements. Career scientists and policy-makers in federal agencies have resigned over the administration’s new policies. Employees of federal agencies are no longer permitted to use the phrase “climate change.”  The rule changes affect air and water quality and environmental safety — not just our national lands. 

We have put together a brief look at the Trump administrations changes to environmental policies during his tenure.


What to Watch: The Paris Climate Accord and Overview of the Climate Crisis

The Guardian: “After decades of negotiations, all 197 nations in the world decided to voluntarily cut the heat-trapping pollution that is causing the climate crisis by signing the Paris climate agreement. Only a handful of countries have not ratified the deal.”


Enumerating Trump’s Regulatory Rollbacks:

100 Rule Reversals, the Trump Administration has Dismantled Major Climate Policies: “While other administrations have emphasized cutting regulations, calling them burdensome to industries like coal, oil and gas, the scope of actions under Mr. Trump is “fundamentally different,” said Hana V. Vizcarra” [NYT]

Tracking deregulation in the Trump era: “[…] a selection of delayed, repealed, and new rules, notable guidance and policy revocations, and important court battles across eight major categories, including environmental, health, labor, and more.” [Brookings Institution]

Stories Discussing the Environmental Impact of Deregulation:

The Trump Administration Races to Demolish Environmental Protections: “As soon as he entered office, Trump began the environmental reversals that will likely be the most enduring legacy of his administration.” [The Intercept]

Trump Weakens Major Conservation Law to Speed Construction Permits: “[…] in one of the most bitterly contested provisions, the rule would free federal agencies from having to consider the impacts of infrastructure projects on climate change.” [NYT]

Trump’s EPA rewrote the rules on air, water energy:  “As Americans cast their ballots in next Tuesday’s election, voters have a choice: continued deregulation that could lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions, worsening symptoms of climate change and mass species die-offs or a reversal of those policies and slate of new governmental restrictions. [USA Today]

We Must Protect Our Environmental Protections:  “The Trump administration is dismantling the coal ash rule sentence by sentence. Through a series of ostensibly unremarkable changes — an added exception here, an extended deadline there […]” [Harvard Political Review]

Four More Years of Trump Would Be an Environmental ‘Fiasco’: “While other countries are working to develop more green technologies or abandon fossil fuel energy all together, the United States is steadily moving in the opposite direction. Under the Trump administration, the incentives to invest in and cling to fossil fuels have only grown.” [The American Prospect]


Environmental Podcasts from the Brightest Climate Minds:

Degrees Pod: “This show is for the climate curious people who know climate change is a problem, but are trying to figure out how to tackle it.”

Inherited: “In this podcast by, for, and about the youth climate movement we explore what the next generation plans to do with their inheritance.”

Mother of Invention: “Climate change is a man-made problem — with a feminist solution!”

Hot and Bothered: “Hosted by senior fellow at Data for Progress, Daniel Aldana Cohen and Kate Aranoff, author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal”


Ways to Watch the Story Unfold:

Nowthis: “Trump has rolled back 100 environmental policies since taking office — former EPA Chief Gina McCarthy warns of what the lasting impact could be”


Roll Call: “With Democratic presidential candidates making climate change a top priority and the introduction of dueling Green New Deal and Green Real Deal resolutions in Congress, the debate around environmental policy is more at the forefront than ever in Washington.”


Old Dog Documentaries: “The Trump administration has met this crisis by systematically and efficiently enacting an alarming number of regulatory rollbacks, reversing past policy progress and putting our very existence at risk.”

Twitter Accounts to Follow for the Latest Climate News:

Follow Bill Moyers Environmental List on Twitter, which includes all of the following accounts, and many more journalists, academics, think tanks, and institutions concerned with climate change and environmental issues generally.

Bill McKibben: “Even among omnicidal oil companies, Exxon manages to stand out: leaked docs show the company plans massive emissions increase”

Sunrise Movement: “We are building a movement of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process”

Katharine Hayhoe: “Learned today that the global space economy totaled $355B in 2018 which works out to about $47 per person per year. That sounds like a lot …but it’s only about 55% of US fossil fuel subsidies and 60% of what the US spends on its defense budget each year.”

NYT Climate: “Un-farming? A new report suggests we can soak up nearly half of the CO2 built up since the Industrial Revolution and avert more than 70 percent of predicted extinctions on land by returning a strategic 30 percent of the world’s farmlands to nature.”

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication: “Climate change is driving water-level rise in the Great Lakes, which is threatening critical infrastructure. Over 50% of adults in the surrounding states think that climate change is already harming people in the U.S.”

Dr. Genevieve Guenther: “Climate silence is a form of climate denial. ”

Leah Stokes: “California has faced its worst wildfire season in modern history thanks to climate change. In our hour of need what has the Trump administration done? Flat our rejected California’s request for much needed aid.”