White House

Trump scrubs climate change from White House web site; environmentalists fume

Kurt Wechsler held an image of the earth during a rally by scientists in conjunction with the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in December. The Trump administration removed references to climate change from the White House web site Friday, a scrubbing that some scientists fear could occur on many federal web sites.
Kurt Wechsler held an image of the earth during a rally by scientists in conjunction with the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in December. The Trump administration removed references to climate change from the White House web site Friday, a scrubbing that some scientists fear could occur on many federal web sites. AP

Environmentalists are criticizing President Donald Trump for quickly changing the White House web site Friday to eliminate any mention of global warming.

“It’s truly disturbing that one of the first actions by the Trump administration is to remove nearly all references to climate change from the White House website,” said Sam Adams, U.S. director of the World Resources Institute, in a statement. “This puts the new administration at odds with the vast majority of America’s scientists, military community and business leaders on this issue.”

New presidents normally change the White House web site upon taking office, and anything published by a previous administration is saved in the National Archive. But Friday’s modification plays into fears Trump will take down related climate change pages on the web sites of federal science agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and others.

As of Friday evening, that had not happened, but the altered White House page illustrated how differently Trump will approach this issue after two terms of Obama.

It’s truly disturbing that one of the first actions by the Trump administration is to remove nearly all references to climate change from the White House website”

Sam Adams, US director of the World Resources Institute

The web site change, quickly reported by Vice, took down a link to Obama’s Climate Action Plan, a PDF of which can be found here. In its place came a summary of Trump’s “America First Energy Plan.”

“For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry,” the summary states. “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.”

It was not immediately clear where the White House got the estimate that eliminating this plan and rule would save $30 billion over seven years. The Waters of the U.S. rule is a contentious regulation that lays out which type of waters are subject to federal regulation, and which aren’t.

The Climate Action Plan lays out an argument for increased investments in renewable energy and cleaner vehicles, among other strategies to reduce greenhouse gases. Trump and other conservatives say those investments are a waste of money. Environmentalists disagree.

“By expanding the renewable energy sector, the administration can help replace the shuttered factories that President Trump referred to in his inaugural speech,” Adams said.

Stuart Leavenworth: @sleavenworth

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