President-elect Donald Trump has had plenty to say on some issues, but has stayed quiet on others, which has many wondering what will happen when he takes office in January. His history of remarks on environmental issues have many worried about his plans for industries like solar, wind, and the oil business. While we wait for a specific plan of action, Donald Trump's quotes on climate change may give us some insight into the fate of our planet over the next four years.
2015 was the hottest year on record until this year: 2016 broke the record, according to reports from the World Meteorological Organization. This comes at the end of the hottest five-year period on record, which began in 2011. The phenomenon of global warming is complex, but scientists more or less agree that a major factor is our collective, human carbon footprint: things like the combustion of fossil fuels in our cars help to create what's called the "greenhouse effect." We actually need the greenhouse effect to keep Earth habitable, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But if too many gases like carbon dioxide are trapped in the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect works too well and the planet heats up. If it gets too hot, Earth won't be habitable to many species — humans included, eventually.
There are plenty — Trump and his growing administration included — who do not believe reports on climate change are accurate. Back in 2011, at the beginning of that record-breaking period, Trump went a step further and called climate change a conspiracy, which he believes was started by the Chinese government in order to "make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," according to a tweet he sent in 2012:
Trump didn't have any plans in place on his website for addressing climate change throughout the campaign, and it's obvious now that he has no intention of doing so. He doesn't believe that humans have an impact on climate change, nor is he motivated to allocate funds toward research. He's certainly not interested in making investments in wind or solar power, but is very interested in the oil business.
His website's energy plan includes unleashing "$50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves," and vowed to "rescind all job-destroying Obama executive actions. Mr. Trump will reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production."
While he's at it, Trump also wants to dismantle the Paris Agreement, a global action plan signed by more than 200 countries aimed at repairing the damage global warming has already done and preventing more in the future. Given that so many other nations in the world not only accept climate change as a human-driven reality, but signed an agreement saying they would work toward reducing the damage done, if Trump continues to deny climate change, he will be the only world leader to do so, based on data released by the Sierra Club.