‘In a word, horrific’: Trump’s extreme anti-environment blueprint

Allies and advisers have hinted at a more methodical second term: driving forward fossil fuel production, sidelining scientists and overturning rules

By Oliver Milman and Dharna Noor
6 Feb 2024

The United States’s first major climate legislation dismantled, a crackdown on government scientists, a frenzy of oil and gas drilling, the Paris climate deal not only dead but buried.

A blueprint is emerging for a second Donald Trump term that is even more extreme for the environment than his first, according to interviews with multiple Trump allies and advisers.

In contrast to a sometimes chaotic first White House term, they outlined a far more methodical second presidency: driving forward fossil fuel production, sidelining mainstream climate scientists and overturning rules that curb planet-heating emissions.

“Trump will undo everything [Joe] Biden has done, he will move more quickly and go further than he did before,” said Myron Ebell, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team for Trump’s first term. “He will act much more expeditiously to impose his agenda.”

The prized target for Trump’s Republican allies, should the former president defeat Joe Biden in November’s election, will be the Inflation Reduction Act, the landmark $370bn bill laden with support for clean energy projects and electric vehicles. Ebell said the legislation, signed by Biden in 2022 with no Republican votes, was “the biggest defeat we’ve suffered”.

Carla Sands, a key environment adviser to the pro-Trump America First Policy Institute who has criticized Biden’s “apocalyptic green fantasies”, said: “Our nation needs a level regulatory playing field for all forms of energy to compete. Achieving this level playing field will require the repeal of the energy and environment provisions within the Inflation Reduction Act.”

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