Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

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.

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·


Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·


Millions More Kids Going Hungry Since GOP, Manchin Killed Expanded Child Tax Credit

"Even brief disruptions in access to food can have lasting consequences," wrote the authors of a new analysis of worsening hunger among U.S. families.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo