The first significant climate law passed in the US was destroyed, government scientists were persecuted, oil and gas drilling became rampant, and the Paris Climate Agreement was effectively abandoned.
Interviews with various Trump advisors and allies reveal a plan for a second Trump administration that is even more radical on the environment than his first.
Against the backdrop of a somewhat chaotic first term in office, they presented a considerably more deliberate strategy for the second: increasing the output of fossil fuels, ignoring the majority of climate scientists, and rolling back regulations that limit emissions that warm the world.
Myron Ebell, who led the transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during Trump’s first term, predicted that Trump would reverse all that [Joe] Biden has done, move faster, and go farther than he has done before. He’ll get things done more faster to get his way.
If Trump defeats Joe Biden in November’s election, his Republican allies will be chasing the $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act, a historic package that heavily favors renewable energy and electric car technology. The law, which Biden signed into law in 2022 without the support of any Republicans, according to Ebell, was “the biggest defeat we’ve suffered.”
Biden’s “apocalyptic green fantasies” have drawn criticism from Carla Sands, a prominent environment adviser to the pro-Trump America First Policy Institute, who stated: “Our nation needs a level regulatory playing field for all forms of energy to be involved. To provide this level playing field, the energy and environmental provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act must be lifted.
Trump’s Party Takes Control of Congress
Proposals backed by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives are already destroying the legislation. Even if Trump’s party takes complete control of Congress, it could be politically challenging to completely abolish the IRA, which has disproportionately brought popular money and employment in the solar, wind, and battery manufacturing industries to Republican areas.
Trump might, however, still impede the clean energy transition during his presidency by changing the regulations governing the IRA’s substantial tax breaks.
According to his allies, he would also do away with government assessments of the harm that carbon emissions cause, force a weakened EPA to stifle pollution regulations for automobiles, trucks, and power plants, and symbolically destroy the Paris Climate Agreement by withdrawing the US from it once more and submitting it to the Senate for ratification as a treaty—knowing full well that it would fail.
According to Mandy Gunasekara, the former chief of staff for President Trump’s EPA, “the Paris climate accord does nothing to actually improve the environment here in the United States or globally.” She insisted that under the agreement, there is little pressure on China, India, and other developing countries to reduce their emissions.
The likely Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has promised to “drill, baby, drill” and dubbed renewable energy “a scam business” at recent rallies. Trump declared on his first day in office that he will allow a plethora of new gas export terminals that Biden had halted and eliminate “crooked Joe Biden’s insane electric vehicle mandate.”
Trump is likely to provide industry access to areas that are currently off-limits to drilling, like the Arctic. Despite the fact that the US achieved record levels of oil and gas production last year, Trump has declared, “I will end his war on American energy.”
President of the free market American Energy Alliance and former leader of Trump’s transition team for the US Department of Energy, Tom Pyle, predicted that the Republicans will craft a highly aggressive reconciliation bill to reclaim the subsidies in the IRA.