Obama vs. Trump Climate Policy

Where do we go from here? It is up to each of us.


by Aaron M.

We have a new president. His name is Donald J. Trump, and he is a major departure from the previous leader.

Barack Obama, the previous president, did his job quite well. He rescued the economy, ended the Iraq war, and revolutionized healthcare.

One area where I wish Obama had done more was on the front of climate change. During his first term, he had the opportunity to change the economy. The government had partial control of some banks and automakers, and with that power, Obama could have made many changes to the companies, changes that could have been good for the environment. He didn’t. Very little progress on climate change has been made since 2009.

If we want to effectively combat global climate change, it has become clear we must uproot the global economy and change our ways of life.

Should we do this? To me, the answer is an obvious yes. Our economic system is very flawed, and making fundamental changes could fix some of our most deeply rooted problems. Also, by mid-century, if we have not made the necessary changes, a changing environment will cause bigger problems than some of us can dream of.

As mediocre as Obama was on the front of climate change, Donald Trump will likely be a lot worse. He doesn’t even seem to believe that climate change is real. Many of his potential cabinet members, including the nominee for head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, are climate change skeptics.[1]  It can seem like the government is headed toward denial of scientific evidence and the only progress on carbon dioxide emissions will be backward.

Can we do anything to prevent a climate disaster? The answer is quite unclear. There is good news: The rate of carbon emissions has stopped increasing over the last three years. [2]  However, without citizen resistance to the Trump administration’s new policies, that good news could be reversed.

What is there to be done now? As we have seen, this new administration’s actions in its first week has given voice to a large number of people resisting the Trump agenda. Beyond personal responsibility for individual consumption, we can pressure the government to take things forward and not backward. To a large extent, the future is in our hands.


[1] http://www.factcheck.org/2016/12/facts-trumps-epa-nominee/
[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/13/stunningly-good-news-for-the-planet-carbon-emissions-were-flat-for-the-third-straight-year/