If there were any doubt that U.S. policy on climate change would change drastically under President Donald Trump, it should have been laid to rest shortly after noon yesterday.
Following inauguration ceremonies for the 45th president of the United States, the Obama White House website was replaced with an entirely new site for the Trump White House.
A page on the former president's efforts to fight climate change vanished—although you can see it archived here.
It contained commitments to protecting the environment and to addressing the impacts of climate change.
On the new White House website, the words "climate change" no longer appear anywhere.
Under the issues tab, however, there's a page for what's called an "America First Energy Plan." (The words "America first" appear frequently on the new site.)
Donald J. Trump in November 2016 [photo: The Trump Organization]
In it, the new president's views on climate change are quite clear.
For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry.
President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.
Further down, it contains a comment on the proper roles of the EPA.
Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment.
Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority.
President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.
1970s Los Angeles smog depicted in the Honda short film
Thus it appears that, under the new president, actions to address climate change are "harmful" and, perhaps more startling, "unnecessary."
It remains unclear how that view squares with the statement that the EPA's mission is to protect air and water.
But it aligns with the stated beliefs of a president who has publicly referred to climate change with a bovine scatological epithet, and said that it is a hoax created by the Chinese to hurt the U.S.
It also aligns with Trump's appointment of climate-science denier Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
In his role as attorney general of Oklahoma Arkansas, Pruitt sued the agency more than a dozen times to prevent it from enforcing its rules.
He has argued that individual states are more capable of setting environmental policy than the federal government.
That view that may be tested when he is faced with a renewed push by California to boost its state law requiring increased sales of zero-emission vehicles.
NASA's famous 'Blue marble' image of Earth (Wikimedia commons)
Trump's pick to head the Department of Energy is former Texas governor Rick Perry, a longtime supporter of legislation to benefit oil and gas companies.
The former CEO of global oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, has been tapped as Secretary of State for the Trump White House.
With the launch of the new website, however, the alteration in White House policy on climate change is now on the public record.
For the record, 2016 was the hottest year on record for our planet—and the third year in a row in which a new temperature record was set.
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