This op-ed was originally published in The Hill.
In a recent speech, President Trump touted what he described as "America's environmental leadership" during his presidency. He claimed that over the past two-and-a-half years, his administration has been "a good steward of public land," reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, and successfully promoted clean air and water.
His claims are Orwellian in scope and mendacity. Even the most cursory examination of the Trump administration's environmental record reveals an appalling litany of irresponsible, anti-environmental actions.
On the existential issue of global climate change, Trump's actions have made the United States anything but an environmental leader. His decision to abandon the Paris Agreement — a promising beginning to international action to curb greenhouse gas emissions — made the United States the only nation on the planet not currently committed to achieving the accord's goals.
What progress we've made as a nation reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), has been achieved over Trump's opposition. Most U.S. cutbacks in greenhouse emissions are the result of city and state action and the climate-protective policies of the Obama administration.
The president has made a point of promoting coal, a notoriously dirty and deadly fuel that makes an outsized contribution to climate change. Instead of accepting the market reality that the coal industry is in rapid economic decline — and moving to promote policies that will create stable industries in coal mining regions and investing in job training programs for former miners — the Trump administration has rolled back sensible regulations that would structure an orderly transition from coal to natural gas and renewable energy at power plants. He has even proposed repealing regulations that would require automakers to cut back CO2 emissions by building more fuel-efficient vehicles.