President Donald Trump on Tuesday is expected to finally sign a long-feared executive order that will undo Obama-era climate regulations, and Scott Pruitt, who is tasked with overseeing the protection of the environment, spent the weekend bragging about the destructive order.
On ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Pruitt told host George Stephanopolous: "The executive order will address the past administration's efforts to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan."
When Stephanopolous asked Pruitt if it was, in fact, possible to revive the coal industry despite global economic trends, Pruitt insisted that the order would do so.
Trump's executive order "will bring back manufacturing jobs across the country, coal jobs across the country." Pruitt said. "Across the energy sector, we have so much opportunity, George. And the last administration had an idea of keeping it in the ground. We need to be much more independent, less reliant upon foreign energy sources. And this is an opportunity. "
President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan was a critical part of that administration's efforts to shrink emissions to meet the country's commitments under the Paris agreement. Even if it wasn't being repealed, additional measures to drastically reduce the United States' greenhouse gas emissions would have been required to meet those commitments. As a result of Trump's efforts to decimate climate rules, the Paris targets will be moot, as Common Dreams reported last week.
During the interview, Pruitt also described the Paris climate accord as a "bad deal."
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"This past administration, I think, took steps that were anti-jobs and anti-growth. And the Paris accord, I think, represents that," Pruitt said, later adding that "Paris was just a bad deal, in my estimation."
Repealing the Clean Power Plan will have other dire ramifications, according the Union of Concerned Scientists president Ken Kimmell.
"We estimate the cumulative effect of repealing the Clean Power Plan and the vehicle standards will be a 9 percent increase in energy-related emissions in 2030, or 439 million metric tons. That means emissions will go up in the U.S., just when the rest of the world is transitioning to a cleaner, healthier economy," Kimmell wrote in a statement.
"This is terribly irresponsible," Kimmell argued. "But it won't alter the scientific reality—that climate change is real, already happening, caused by burning fossil fuels, and requires immediate action to limit its worst impacts."
Indeed, the executive order is also coming just as new research shows a direct link between extreme weather events worldwide and human-caused climate change.
"The wrecking ball that is the Trump presidency continues. Dismantling existing EPA programs and policies isn't a plan—it's an abdication," Kimmell said.