Economy over environment: Former President Donald Trump’s four years of environmental rollbacks prioritizes the economy over the environment

Donald Trump continued to ignore global warming and his environmental rollbacks caused the downfall of the environment.

Udita Jonnala

Donald Trump continued to ignore global warming and his environmental rollbacks caused the downfall of the environment.

Leanne Park, Staff Writer

Former President Donald Trump reversed nearly 100 environmental policies that could have altered the major problem of global warming.

Donald Trump’s hopes of a “skyrocketing” economy have caused the downfall of the environment. His prioritization of the economy over the environment has become an never-ending battle between money and Earth.

Their Rollbacks

Trump’s most evident and harmful rollbacks that prioritized the economy include:

  1. No longer requiring oil and gas companies to report their methane emissions, due to the “burdens” to the companies. 

On March 2nd, his administration decided to no longer require oil and gas companies to report their methane emissions when the numbers are clearly rising. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is about 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And no longer requiring the main sources of methane to report their emissions only contributes to the increase of temperature.

  1. The Affordable Clean Energy rule which replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

In June 2019, Former President Donald Trump and his administration announced the Affordable Clean Energy rule which replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Trump’s new rule allows his administration to only regulate the carbon emission of coal plants rather than setting definite limits. “Consequently, the plan will achieve minimal reductions in carbon emissions because it requires only marginal efficiency improvements at individual coal plants,” The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center of N.Y.U. states.

Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule will contribute to many premature deaths in the following years.
(Leanne Park)


Former President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan in order to combat the rising effects of global warming and to limit the nation’s carbon pollution from coal power plants. However, Trump’s replacement provides a more flexible path for power plants to operate longer, which is clearly intended to save America’s financial state. Though the coal market is dying, Trump never fails to show his desperation to revive the economy.

    1. Weakened the National Environmental Policy Act.

The N.E.P.A, a law signed on January 1st, 1970 “required federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations in their planning and decision-making through a systematic interdisciplinary approach,” the E.P.A. states.

The weakened N.E.P.A. is a shortcut for federal projects which allows projects to proceed faster without the examination of how it will impact our environment. 

  1. The withdrawal of the Paris Climate Accord.

Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord in which the U.S. formerly left on November 4th, 2020. The Paris Climate Accord is an agreement between 175 parties to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. However, Joe Biden, the newly elected U.S. president, vows to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. 

Their Words, Their Masks

Through the Trump’s administration’s words, their true intentions are evident. 

Donald Trump is simply an advocate of the money that he will inherit due to the destruction of the environment. 

“Today’s action will reduce burdens on businesses while we take a closer look at the need for additional information from this industry,” said current administrator of the E.P.A Scott Pruitt when ending the requirement of methane emission reports.

The burdens on businesses. Trump’s administration again fears about the burdens on businesses, but not the burdens on the environment. 

By looking at the four years of environmental rollbacks, between saving the world and increasing the money, it is clear which one Donald Trump chose

“As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production,” Donald Trump stated on his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.

The wellbeing of American citizens is to know that the world leaders do not discount the current major problems and label them as a hoax just to increase their money. There is no consideration of the wellbeing of American citizens; it is only the consideration of the wellbeing of the economy

“I’m an environmentalist. I am. I want the cleanest water on the planet. I want the cleanest air anywhere,” Former President Donald Trump states as he claims himself to be an ‘environmentalist’.

Claiming to be an environmentalist is the shortcut to gain the appeal of the media. The declaration of oneself being an environmentalist does not negate the harm that they have already inflicted. Backing out of a plan to potentially combat or even end global warming is not being an environmentalist. Reversing 100 policies for the sake of a stronger economy is not being an environmentalist.

These are only masks. Environmentalists, burdens, the wellbeing of the American citizens are just masks; their words that they proclaim are only masks to their true objectives, their true desires- money.

Their Future

In Trump’s future, the environment will deteriorate and die.

Between the years 2008 through 2017, there were a total of 576 million metric tons of methane per year, which was a nine percent increase from the previous decade. In a state where being attentive to methane and carbon emissions is not enough, Donald Trump decides to eliminate the reports of both emissions from oil and gas industries, the most responsible sources of greenhouse gases.

In their future, by 2025, due to the new rollbacks, there will be an additional 76,000 tons of methane emitted into the atmosphere, contributing to the incessant rise of temperature.

In their future, by 2035, the rollbacks that Donald Trump has reversed would add an extra 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

And in their future, Donald Trump’s new rule, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, the replacement of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, would cause approximately 1,630 premature deaths and 120,000 asthma attacks only for the strive of a stronger economy. 

Due to this single rollback, there will be additional deaths, lives will be gone and yet they worry about the economy, when it is clear that the financial state will not “skyrocket.” An estimated $49 billion will forgo in 2030 simply because of this rollback and our world will continue to die as they perpetually have false hopes for a better economy.

Their future is a bleak world where the environment is never valued.

Earth- a place in which we want to continue to live in, a place that I want to continue to live, is now a bothersome place that we find ways to obstruct. 

Global Warming- a prolonged problem that we have constantly ignored.

Economy- an excuse to destroy the world we live in.

Global change has been a constant and controversial topic. Saving our environment is debated on and fought about. It is always labeled a hoax, a joke, a scam. And now it is even prioritized less than the economy. 

By looking at the four years of environmental rollbacks, between saving the world and increasing the money, it is clear which one Donald Trump chose. However with newly elected president, Joe Biden, it may be a new start, a new path, and possibly a new future. 

Joe Biden ensures that the U.S. will get a 100% clean energy economy as well as net-zero emissions. He promises to rally and spread the urgentness of this issue that the world has constantly faced. He promises to build a stronger nation. And he acknowledges global warming and declares climate change as the ‘number one issue facing humanity.’ 

In Joe Biden’s future, our world will possibly no longer be burning. In Biden’s future, everyone would understand this life-and-death problem and everyone would fight against it. And their future should be the future in which the American citizens would want to live- a future where the Earth is finally appreciated.