Trump’s proposed budget includes an effort to shrink funding for university-based science research and the national labs run by the Department of Energy. Research on fundamental earth systems science is also cut as is funding for state environmental agencies and national environmental emergency response.
While federal support for new technology and infrastructure would be helpful, there is another approach that can also be effective. We should focus on modernizing our state and local energy systems. By modernizing the energy system we can reduce the costs and environmental impact of our energy use.
Many people who are concerned about fossil fuels and climate change argue for nuclear power as a viable solution to carbon pollution. I am not one of those people.
Last week, the new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt attacked his own agency in an address to the Conservative Political Action summit. The attack on environmental regulation by the head of EPA is a remarkable nightmare. Fortunately, in our federal system, state and local officials will be able to fill in if the federal government refuses to act.
Until now, Administrator Pruitt has been an enemy of EPA, but he has a chance to change the narrative and demonstrate that his conservative principles are consistent with the goals of environmental protection. I hope he decides to save EPA and serve the American people.
While renewable energy will go a long way to addressing the climate change issue, its development does not require a concern for climate change. The argument for renewable energy is that it is the logical next phase of technological development.
Many schools are being tested for lead in their water. But what about the libraries, hospitals, offices and old apartment buildings? As I observe the new president and his EPA designee, I worry about the adverse effect deregulating environmental protection would have on our families. There is more work to do if we are to truly understand the impact of human technology on the environment and public health.
With the phrase “climate change” disappearing from U.S. federal government websites and increased talk of regulatory overreach, it is obvious that protecting the environment will continue to be a fault line in American political ideology. However, though ideology will shape the nature and speed of response, the environmental problem is real and cannot be ignored.
Among our student body there is a deep sense of unease with the direction of the U.S. federal government, but that is coupled with a high degree of confidence in the importance of the emerging green economy. Over the next several years, many of our graduates will be avoiding the U.S. federal government and devoting their brainpower to nonprofits, local governments and the private sector.
The presidential transition process will continue to contain distractions, disinformation and dysfunction, but my hope is that the people running our national government remember that we need clean air, water and food to live. Government’s fundamental function is ensuring our security and health. Environmental rules must be enforced for that function to be performed.