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Donald Trump Vs. Hillary Clinton: an environmental approach (or nightmare)

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On the 9th November, it was announced that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. This in most ways is a disaster and tragedy for the liberal world, in terms of human and civil rights as well as American immigration and the American economy. However, the election of Trump is the potential for an ecological disaster in America and effectively around the world. If Hillary had been elected America would have continued with its path to green and renewable energy as well as keeping its part in the Paris agreement, which the current Obama administration had worked so hard to create.

Trump, however, believes that climate change is a hoax created by China to make money. This outlandish statement has been made by Trump on many occasions. Trump has not said much about his environmental plans, unlike Hillary who has planned for investments of billions of dollars to fix America’s ecological issues. The few things that Trump has said when looking at policies is that he opposes the climate change mitigation policies found in the Paris accords and plans to reverse things such as the clean power plan. This, therefore, means that Trump intends to reverse all of the current Obama’s administration’s environmental work. Although Trump opposes the Paris agreement and plans to leave the agreement, the current administration has made it almost impossible for this to happen if the treaty is ratified before the next presidential term. If the treaty has not been ratified before the next presidential term it would make it very simple for Trump to leave the agreement.

The most shocking of Trump’s environmental policies, however, is his want for the reapplication for the Keystone pipeline. The Keystone pipeline would involve extending the building of the pipeline through Alaska to America to transport oil. The building of the pipeline would destroy much of the natural environment in the north of America and would involve and include fracking, causing much damage to the environment and ecosystems across the area. It should be noted that this is a policy Hillary has previously voted against and stood with the Obama administration veto.

However, Trump does believe that America should focus on becoming energy independent and should develop a commitment to eliminate any reliance on petroleum exporting countries. This could in many ways be useful making America an energy independent country and is in many ways a similar policy to Hillary. Hillary believes that America can be energy independent, however through renewable energy not through unclean energy. Despite this most, expert’s in the energy industry have openly stated that complete independence from OPEC oil is impossible. Blocking supplies from OPEC would cause dramatic prices strikes in the US, meaning that Trump’s ecological policy is also economically damaging.

Many journalists and political magazines have asked for further comments and expansions into Trump’s environmental policy, however, have gotten little expansion. However, Trump’s son, Don jr., did reply regarding ownership of federal public lands, stating that the republicans will give federal lands back to states mainly in the west. However, Trump stated to field and stream in January that he does not think the land should be sold however it will improve the economy. It should be noted that one of Hillary’s policies would have been to keep federal  lands and not sell them, in order to preserve them, particularly the ones in areas of national geographic interest.

Don jr. has played an active part in Trump’s campaign from the outset and strongly supports outdoor recreation and sports. Trump, however, has commented that although his sons are fans of hunting and other recreational sports he is not. However, this is not reflected in his policies as he has not stated where he stands on hunting etc and preserving animals within the American ecosystem. Hillary, however, has stated that she supports the protection of wildlife and its preservation.

With regards to climate change Trump has stated that it is a hoax and makes America less competitive and therefore weak. Despite this Trump has stated to the Miami Herald that he is a big belief in manmade climate change. As with most of Trump’s policies, his environmental and ecological policies are very contradictory. However, this could be due to the fact that Trump believes that as a businessmen environmental restrictions would harm businesses and the economy and therefore he would not consider it. Despite this Trump has said that it will restrict the Environmental protection agency (EPA) even though it is a business that plays a critical part in America’s economy. This is due to his believe that the EPA has too much power and creates too many environmental restrictions meaning other businesses and not operate efficiently.

One policy of Trumps that has received a lot of attention is the Wall Policy. This refers to the policy where Trump intends to build a wall between Mexico and America. Although this policy for obvious reasons has many issues regarding immigration laws and human rights it does have an environmental implication. Studies conducted on the Arizona desert have concluded that the wall would interfere with the pygmy owls and bighorn sheep in the region.  The wall would essentially affect the owls flying pattern due to their low flying style. The wall would also mean sheep would not be able to cross at their normal crossing points. Therefore, the wall would interfere with the delicate desert ecosystem having a catastrophic effect on the environment. Due to the proposed wall being made of concrete, the creation of the concrete would affect gas emissions as it would contribute towards 10% of the world carbon output.

Rather than building walls Hillary, however, prefers to break them. She believes that social injustice is linked with environmental issues in communities. If Hillary had become president she would have introduced policies that would have created better environmental conditions in areas associated with lower incomes and ethnic minorities. Hillary believes that those in lower income communities are linked to those living in areas with poor air and water. Her policies would have focussed on rebuilding older infrastructures, particularly water structures over 100 years old. Hillary would have focussed her policy on improving public health, particularly that of children. Hillary essentially believes that there is a form of environmental and ecological racism in America that her policies could solve.

Hillarys main issue is the fact that many Americans do not have access to clean water or reliable electricity and energy. This issue is reflected by the town of Flint where many citizens including children are slowly suffering from lead poisoning. Hillary recognises that this has been caused by a lack of investment in the environment and environmental structures. Trump, however, has not commented on issues such as this.

In conclusion, the world with Donald Trump as president is uncertain and in many aspects can only be described as a scary one. From an environmental and ecological perspective Trumps, presidency could be a nightmare for the environment causing larger emissions of greenhouse gas, and the withdrawal of America from the Paris agreement. Most importantly, however, there is now a leading superpower that refuses to accept the existence of global warming and climate change. Although for many Hillary Clinton was not a suitable option it is clear that her presidency would not have been as environmentally catastrophic. A Hillary presidency would have continued the hard work of the current administration as well as recognizing and fixing America’s social environmental issues. Overall similar to the rest of Trump’s policies it is not clear what the future will hold, and it must be hoped that Trump surrounds himself with many environmental experts and advisors who can put him on the right track.

Written by Caroline Hibbs

@cazalinee

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