Donald Trump’s executive order issued on Tues., March 28, revokes an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in 2013 which aimed to plan for natural disasters linked to climate change: droughts, sea-level rise, wildfires and hurricanes to name a few.
Revoking the executive order, entitled “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,” leaves an uncertain future for government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, FEMA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
The Paris Agreement, negotiated through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is set to start in 2020 and deals with attempt to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The agreement was accepted by 132 countries.
Obama signed to join the agreement in 2016, and called it “a turning point for our planet,” according to CBS News. Now, President Trump is making an effort to back out of the agreement.
Chair of the Palm Beach Atlantic University Biology Department Thomas Chesnes described the president’s notion as doubling down on older technologies in an older industry. He was not surprised by the signing of this executive order.
“We knew he was in bed with the fossil fuel industry from the beginning,” Chesnes said.
Chesnes believes coastal communities are taking climate change very seriously, whereas representatives and the federal government may be being proverbial. Those at risk, such as Miami Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach have more to lose and therefore are fully engaged in the attempt to conserve the coast lines, Chesnes said.
“Even though our representative in the Senate may in ways be ignoring some of the likely effects of climate change in southern Florida, the cities aren’t,” Chesnes said.
Sophomore ministry major William Cifuentes, co-director of PBA’s Green Committee, is in disbelief that Obama’s progress to reduce climate change is being diminished by Trump.
“It’s hard to think about how all these countries . . . [were] gonna work together as one to combat the problem for the benefit of the people of the entire planet. And the United States refuses to be on board,” Cifuentes said.
The disappointment Cifuentes is facing stems from his belief that Trump’s motive for the executive order is the pursuit of monetary benefit.
“Reducing our efforts towards more sustainability is only just to produce more energy with fracking and burning coal and extracting coal. There is more return on the investment,” Cifuentes said. “It’s wise in the sense of getting money, but very unwise in the sense that it’s going to jeopardize the health of us, our kids and their kids.”
The creation of more jobs has also been a central reason for many of Trump’s recent decisions, but Cifuentes believes just as many jobs could be created maintaining wind farms and hydroelectric plants, which would follow environmental initiatives.
“In all of the things he does, he’s very anti-Obama . . . I feel like all of his supporters are anti-Obama,” Cifuentes said.
Cifuentes referenced a statistic that was released during the presidency of Obama which revealed 97 percent of scientists have agreed climate change is a significant human-induced problem. He feels as though Trump is turning a blind eye to the facts.
“I’m pretty sure he flat-out denies climate change completely,” Cifuentes said.
On the local level, Cifuentes is expecting factories near West Palm Beach to ramp up production; he said companies are thinking about the current economy and being ignorant to the future.
“I feel as though they turn a blind eye. They know it’s there. It’s very greedy and self-centered thinking that results in this kind of decision making,” Cifuentes said.