Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The Collins glacier in Antarctica is melting as a result of climate change.

The Collins glacier in Antarctica is melting as a result of climate change. (Photo: United Nations/flickr/cc)

As Climate Alarm Bells Ring, Trump Poised to Decimate Regulations

Denier-in-chief prepares to pull back Obama-era climate policies while new research reveals frightening signs of accelerating crisis

Nika Knight Beauchamp

President Donald Trump is poised to unleash a sweeping anti-climate executive order to repeal major regulations enacted by the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

"The directive will instruct members of the Cabinet to rewrite regulation restricting carbon emissions from both new and existing power plants, lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing, and revise the way climate change is factored into federal decision-making—all key elements of the Obama administration's effort to address climate change," the Post writes.

The Post reports that the administration is under pressure to release the order soon, as a lawsuit challenging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon emissions limits is currently pending. The suit was launched by conservative attorneys general—including now-EPA chief Scott Pruitt, although he's no longer a plaintiff. The EPA rule was intended to cut emissions by a third by 2030.

"Just as there is no escaping gravity when one steps off a cliff, there is no escaping the warming that follows when we add extra carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere."
—Climate scientists in a letter to EPA head Scott Pruitt
And climate change action is needed more urgently than ever, as measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing at a record-breaking pace. Carbon dioxide levels now rest at 405 parts per million (ppm). The latest measurements fulfill scientists' prediction last year that atmospheric levels of CO2 would soon permanently exceed the symbolic threshold of 400ppm.

The rapid rise in carbon levels is already transforming the planet. In various studies published only this week, scientists discovered that the Amazon rainforest is facing a "death spiral of drought and deforestation;" the Great Barrier Reef is suffering its second major bleaching event in two years; massive swaths of Australia's mangrove forests have "died of thirst;" and shrinking water levels mean the Middle East may not be habitable by humans in only a few decades.

Meanwhile, a climate-linked late-season blizzard is barrelling up the East Coast of the U.S. while polar heat waves see global sea ice melt to its lowest levels in millenia. And new research shows that even if countries adhere to international climate commitments, the Arctic may soon be entirely ice-free in the summers.

Humans are to blame for the rapidly changing planet, as 30 prominent climate scientists reminded Pruitt this week in response to his public denial of the fact that rising CO2 levels are linked to climate change.

In the letter sent Monday, the scientists wrote: "Just as there is no escaping gravity when one steps off a cliff, there is no escaping the warming that follows when we add extra carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·


Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·


Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·


With GOP House Control Looming, Pascrell Calls for Swift Release of Trump Tax Records

"Donald Trump tried to hide his tax returns from our oversight but after 1,329 days we have finally obtained the documents," said the New Jersey Democrat. "We should review and release them."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo