By Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic.
In the final days of the Obama administration, scholars and journalists took stock of all that he had done to combat the dangerous rise of climate change. Barack Obama, they pronounced, had built up a surprisingly vast array of climate-concerned rules and guidelines across the government. He had turned the many policy-making tools of the many federal agencies toward preparing for this one imminent disaster.
Well, that was then.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will sign an executive order that will demolish his predecessor’s attempts to slow the pace of climate change. It is an omnibus climate directive that strikes across the federal government, reversing major rules that aim to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions while simultaneously instructing departments to ignore or downplay the risks of climate change in their decision-making.
It is exactly as bad as environmental advocates feared—with one exception. The order does not mention whether the United States should remain in the Paris Agreement, the international pact to address climate change ratified in 2015. Withdrawal from the treaty, a campaign promise of Trump’s, still divides his White House. (Reportedly, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are partial to staying in the agreement.)
Yet unless there are major advances in technology, it will be difficult for the United States to meet its commitments under Paris without using rules similar to the current regulations.