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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 12:42 pm | Fog/Mist 55º


Leon Kolankiewicz: Donald Trump Trashes Sustainability Twice in 2 Weeks

I knew when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States that he might prove a long-awaited savior to those disillusioned, abandoned Americans who support enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and, more generally, yearn for an immigration policy that actually serves the interests of rank-and-file Americans over those of illegal immigrants and their enablers, apologists and open-borders zealots.

So far, Trump has not disappointed. Illegal border crossings have plummeted, and the Border Patrol is elated that they can now do their jobs instead of holding out welcome mats for illegal trespassers.

But when it comes to the environment and U.S. population stabilization (necessary for environmental conservation and sustainability), I was not expecting Trump to morph into Theodore Roosevelt or even Richard Nixon. These two Republican presidents did more than any others — including Democrats — to raise awareness about conservation (Roosevelt) and overpopulation (Nixon).

I regret to say that Trump’s actions on the environment and population have not pleasantly surprised me.

Two in particular suggest that he is well on his way to becoming, as I argued in an analysis earlier this year, “the worst environmental president in American history,” the “anti-Roosevelt” that I dubbed him.

In the space of barely two weeks, first Trump tore up many of the climate-friendly initiatives of former President Barack Obama and then he threw out American support for international family planning efforts at the U.N. Population Fund.

Both actions reveal a startlingly short-sighted and ignorant world view on the part of the new president.

The refusal of the U.S. government to support international family planning efforts virtually ensures that in the not-so-distant future even more jobless and desperate people will be fleeing their overpopulated, overburdened and violence-plagued homelands, and trying to sneak into our country.

On March 28, Trump, joined by a hopeful coterie of coal miners and coal, oil, and gas industry executives, signed an executive order scuttling some of Obama’s most visionary energy and climate regulations.

On the chopping block was Obama’s signature effort to combat global warming, the Clean Power Plan, which had mandated that by 2030 carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants be 32 percent below 2005 levels.

Symbolically, Trump’s defiant gesture took place at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency itself. Earlier, Trump had delighted his campaign supporters by appointing a climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, as EPA head. Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general and inveterate EPA adversary, had spent years suing the agency he now administers.

It is a case of the fox guarding the henhouse if ever there was. And if this didn’t clarify Trump’s intentions, he showed his further contempt for the EPA’s mission by proposing its funding be slashed by 31 percent, the deepest of all proposed federal budget cuts.

Then, not to be outdone, in the first week of April, the Trump administration announced it was eliminating U.S. funding to the UN Population Fund. UNFPA supports family planning in more than 150 impoverished nations.

This atrocious action cuts off approximately $70 million annually to critical family planning services in the world’s poorest countries; it directly threatens the reproductive health of tens of millions of vulnerable girls and women. It will stymie voluntary, humane efforts to help disadvantaged communities limit population growth, protect the environment, and escape squalor and grinding poverty.

The United Nations now projects that the world’s population will continue booming through the remainder of the 21st century, climbing to more than 11 billion from 7.4 billion. Trump’ myopic decision to halt U.S. funding of UNFPA has helped guarantee that the world will become ever more crowded, polluted and environmentally unsustainable.

In sum, what is Trump’s vision on the environment, energy, climate and population? Back to the benighted past.

— Leon Kolankiewicz is an advisory board member and senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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