Here’s How Trump’s Environmental Legacy Stacks Up With Obama’s Record

From The Daily Caller

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Chris White Tech Reporter

September 27, 2019 7:09 PM ET

  • President Donald Trump’s environmental record has benefited from an increase in natural gas production while coal stumbles.
  • Oil production saw some of its biggest gains during the Trump and Obama administrations.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to record lows under Trump recently, while emissions slowly creeped up during the latter part of Obama’s first term.

President Donald Trump’s environmental record during his first term in office has mirrored his Democratic predecessor’s in some ways and deviated substantially in others.

Former President Barack Obama’s legacy was littered with regulations targeting the coal industry and executive orders designed to reduce gas production. Such measures were expected to help reduce greenhouse gas levels, among other pollutants, but factors complicated the mission. Trump, meanwhile, is seeing a dip in carbon emissions.

Here are the biggest differences and similarities between the Trump and Obama administrations with respect to environmental stewardship and energy production.

Emissions Dropped During Both Administrations

Carbon emissions are expected to decline by 2.5% in 2019 after increasing in 2018, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in a Sept. 10 report. The decline comes after emissions jumped 2.8% in 2018 — the largest year-to-year rise since 2010.

Higher emissions in 2018 were a result of an unusually hot summer and cold winter, as well as an increase in manufacturing activity, according to the EIA. Trump saw a dip during his first year, reports show. (RELATED: US CO2 Emissions Plummet Under Trump While The Rest Of The World Emits More)

EIA, for instance, reported in 2018 that per-capita greenhouse gas emissions hit a 67-year low at the beginning of the Trump era. Such emissions rose to historic highs globally by the end of that year, despite nearly 200 countries signing the Paris climate accord, which Trump promised to leave in 2017.

Obama’s record in this area is more complicated. Greenhouse gas emissions rose between 2012 and 2013, the EPA reported in 2015, despite the former president’s best efforts to reduce gases activists say will cause catastrophic global warming.

There was a “two percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 from 2012 levels, but a nine percent drop in emissions since 2005,” EPA reported in 2015.  Much of the initial decrease before those years was due in part to the economic recession in 2007, which reduced manufacturing. The economy’s recovery in 2012 contributed to the increase.

Trump Is Taking A Hammer To Obama’s Regulator Regime

The president announced a rollback of one environmental regulation in December 2018 restricting greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants. He also announced rollbacks in 2018 to an Obama-era policy requiring gas companies to strictly monitor releases of methane from wells.

Conservative analysts have championed the president’s style. Trump’s first term has been a net benefit to the environment, according to Myron Ebell, an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who headed the president’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a town hall of young leaders from across Europe at an Obama Foundation event in Berlin, Germany April 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Former U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a town hall of young leaders from across Europe at an Obama Foundation event in Berlin, Germany April 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

“The Trump administration is making progress in undoing damage done by the Obama administration’s extremist environmental agenda,” Ebell told the Daily Caller News Foundation before listing a slew of rollbacks Trump performed that he claims are helping the economy and environment.

He added: “That’s a huge step forward for the economy as well as the environment.” Ebell said Trump’s decision to withdraw from Obama’s Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS), which sought to regulate waterways, was ultimately a “huge step for the environment” in that it allowed regulators to focus instead on air, water, and land pollution.

Trump is responsible for nixing more than 85 environmental regulations, media reports show. He’s axed rules governing pollution, oil drilling and extraction, toxic substances, and water pollution, among a handful of other activities that affect industry.

Trump Took A Hatchet To Most Of His Predecessor’s Anti-Fossil Fuel Rules

Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP), which required states to make deep cuts to power sector emissions, never went into effect. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on its implementation in 2016. Trump’s EPA ultimately ended the rule, replacing it with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE), a rule that only requests states improve coal plant efficiency.

Along with targeting coal production, Obama also pursued regulations preventing new fracking operations on public lands. Presidents have few ways to limit such forms of energy production on private land, so the former president instead focused on restricting energy producers access to public lands.

Obama announced the CPP in 2015 to curb man-made climate change — the new regulatory plan favored energy sources like wind and solar over traditional fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Natural gas contains methane, a gas that scientist say contributes heavily to global warming.

Steam rises from the stakes of the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant supplied by the neighboring Jim Bridger mine that is owned by energy firm PacifiCorp and the Idaho Power Company, outside Point of the Rocks, Wyoming, March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Steam rises from the stakes of the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant supplied by the neighboring Jim Bridger mine that is owned by energy firm PacifiCorp and the Idaho Power Company, outside Point of the Rocks, Wyoming, March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Trump ultimately nixed Obama’s anti-fracking policy in December 2017, under the belief that the regulations hurt manufacturers and hurt the economy. Energy analysts and lobbyists for the industry generally supported the move at the time, with some saying the regulation was burdensome.

A major reason the U.S. has been able to slash emissions is the availability of low-priced natural gas. Drillers have been able to use hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling over the past decade to unlock vast shale gas reserves. Low-priced gas has replaced much U.S. coal-fired capacity in recent years, which has in turn lowered emissions.

Oil And Gas Shot Up During Both Obama And Trump’s Terms

Oil production on federal lands and waters hit record highs in 2017, according to federal data, averaging about 2.2 million barrels per day. Overall oil production on federal lands increased during Obama’s second term, even though drilling supporters said the administration had put up more regulatory hurdles.

The number of new wells drilled on federal lands fell 83 percent from 2008 by the end of Obama’s second term, according to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data from 2017. New leases fell 78 percent and the number of permits approved fell 67 percent, according to BLM.

Obama signed legislation in late 2015 ending the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. U.S. oil production doubled between 2009, when Obama took office, to 2016, while natural gas production shot up 50 percent in that time. The boom took place on state and private lands where the Obama administration had little to no control.

Trump reaped many of the benefits. Imports from OPEC fell to 1.5 million barrels per day in March, which is the lowest level since March 1986, the EIA reported in June. EIA said at the time that OPEC imports fell “as domestic crude oil production has increased.”

Former President Ronald Reagan was in office and Halley’s Comet was visible in the night’s sky the last time Americans depended more on domestic production than on OPEC oil.

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52 thoughts on “Here’s How Trump’s Environmental Legacy Stacks Up With Obama’s Record

  1. Such measures were expected to help reduce greenhouse gas levels, among other pollutants,

    Among other pollutants?

    Water vapor and CO2 aren’t pollutants. Methane probably shouldn’t be considered one either.

    • If Methane is a “pollution” then nobody should processing their food!!
      If environuts were serious about CH4 aka Methane… They would be putting boatloads by the millions of dollars into wastewater treatment plants, which provide clean water and consistent clean energy!!

      • Thank you for pointing that out (-:

        What annoys me is folks on the skeptic side of the climate wars thoughtlessly buy into the left’s claim that CO2 and methane are pollutants. The climate monster needs to be slain, and it’s not going to happen if we allow the other side to control the language, agenda and debate which hasn’t happened yet.

        Chris White thoughtlessly included water vapor as a pollutant for God’s sake.

      • If environuts were serious about CH4 aka Methane… They would be putting boatloads by the millions of dollars into wastewater treatment plants, which provide clean water

        Why do you want clean water?

        Sewage is just plant food

        /sarc

        By the same logic as Co2 is just plant food.

        Jan

      • icisil September 29, 2019 at 7:51 am
        All 3 are non-toxic, and methane at less than 2 ppm cannot “contribute heavily to global warming”.

        The usual news item on methane tells us that it is so many times more powerful at trapping heat than CO2 – but we are NEVER told how much methane, business as usual, will run up temperature.

      • Non-toxic depends entirely on how much of something there is. You may recall that the Apollo 13 astronauts were in danger from excessive CO2, and you can certainly choke on methane, too. (Water vapor, not so much.)

        At any rate, I’m not sure that the “other pollutants” in the original post were CO2 and methane (and they definitely were not water vapor). More likely they’re things like sulfur dioxide, nitrates, soot and so forth–about which I hope we’re all in agreement, they’re bad. So this business of the toxicity of CO2, methane and water is completely beside the point.

      • Principia Scientific, also known as the Sky Dragons, have been thoroughly debated on this site and demonstrated to be charlatans. It was long enough ago that current readers probably aren’t aware, so this is a good reminder.

        Just because someone takes the skeptic side, doesn’t mean their argument is valid. One thing we don’t need on the skeptic side is magical arguments that are impossible. The alarmists debunk tham and then paint all of us with the same brush. The Sky Dragons were eventually banned from this site (a VERY rare event) and to best of my knowledge, that hasn’t changed. Ignore them, learn the real physics elsewhere.

  2. 0 thoughts on “Here’s How Trump’s Environmental Legacy Stacks Up With Obama’s Record” ? ?
    Oops…..

  3. It’ll all flip again after next November, when Trump is shown the door and a Democrat takes over along with a Democratic House and Senate and energetically reverses everything Trump reversed from his predecessor.

    Whether we continue to flip flop back and forth continuously, or settle into some sort of stasis, cannot be predicted. Nobody predicted the rise of Trumpism. Nobody predicted Obama either.

    • To early to tell who will win, but there are some insane candidates on the Dem side. Many centrists are likely to vote for Trump over insanity. Hilliary is getting ready to make her play and that is really insane, expecting a different result.

    • Au contraire, I predicted Barry would be a candidate when he gave the address to nominate Kerry in 2004.
      Barry came off as regular moderate…little did we know it was another Alinsky tactic.
      Very tricky.

      • The media was ecstatic after that first Obama speech.

        They even asked if he was going to run for President in 2008. Obama said, “No.”

        • No one saw the rise of Obama? No one worked harder to make sure he was elected than John McCain. Pretty easy to win when the entire election is in the tank before it starts.

    • wow, you must be smoking some good stuff to believe that Trump will lose in 2020. It will be a historic landslide.

    • Duane : “Nobody predicted the rise of Trumpism.”

      The rise of Strongman Politics has been predicted for decades worldwide; I can recall several at least since the end of the Cold War. When the primary parties fail the populace on both sides, a vacuum is formed into which loudmouths with strong promises and vocal disdain for “The Establishment” can interject themselves.

      Take a look at Chomsky, Thompson, or others that discuss what happens when a large enough group feels left behind or otherwise alienated from their political leaders.

  4. Why on earth does Mr. White, the reporter who wrote this piece, think that the sole measure of environmental improvement is CO2 reduction? What about lake, river, and seaside water pollution, ground water depletion (or gain if there is any), air pollution (the real kind, not CO2), toxic chemical release, toxic site cleanups, improved or degraded anti-flooding measures, etc., etc. Are there any changes in these areas, all of which are vastly far more impactful than CO2 production? Why does he conflate oil, gas and coal extraction changes, which are economic measures, with an environmental “legacy.” My oh my what a simple mind.

  5. stop with this “per capita” crap…..nothing but an excuse for developing countries to increase emissions

    Which proves it’s all a $c@m

    • If a country with 10 people produces twice the pollutants as does a country with 1 person, which country is doing better.
      Since all countries have different numbers of people, per capita makes sense.

      • Mark, no it doesn’t….global warming doesn’t care how many people you have…or how much CO2 each one of them is responsible for…

        …global warming only cares about how much CO2 is in the air

        No one would say the same thing about any other poison….the same people that say it’s going to kill us all….are the same people that say developing countries can increase their emissions because of per capita

        ..more CO2..is more CO2…everything else is just an excuse to move money

        • If reducing CO2 is your goal, do you go after countries where individuals use a lot of CO2, or do you go after countries where individual barely use any?
          Per capita is how you tell them apart.

          The fact that most climate warriors are blazing hypocrites is not an argument against using per capita measurements.

          • since the money and everything tied to it is on a country level…and not individuals

            you go after the country…right?

            and if policies are setup that a country can increase their emissions because of per capita…

            What would the atmospheric level of CO2 be….when the vast majority of countries are developing..and get to increase their emissions “per capita”?

            That’s a system designed to move money..not a system designed to lower CO2 emissions

      • Mark W
        Per capita is too simple as well….per capita my province of Alberta produces about 10 times the per capita CO2 of most populations….because those other populations “demand” in both the economic sense and required in their daily lives, our production of oil and gas, lumber, agriculture, cement, and petrochem plastics, for which the CO2 gets attributed to us rather than the actual end user…..

        • wanna see how ridiculous per capita is…..Trinidad has twice the CO2 emission we do..per capita

          ..and Trinidad’s emissions are so small they have no effect on global warming

          • Nobody’s CO2 emissions have an effect on global warming. It’s the Sun, Milankovitch and ocean cycles etc. Practically none of which are currently modelled, let alone correctly.

          • Per capita is ridiculous … just divide the USA into 50 states, and for most of them the “emissions” are so small that they have no effect on global warming. Proceed with dividing remaining offenders into counties – and now we have a list of entities so small that they have no effect on global warming. Individually, sure. Collectively .. ?

            What approach is more ridiculous?

    • There are two, contradictory, arguements in play here with regard to CO2 emission. There is a dilemma.
      1. If CO2 is a major climate change influence , and that trend is considered unacceptable, then global emissions, from whatever source or country, have to be constrained, and the constraints on China and India are necessary.
      2. The fairness arguement. Is it fair and equitable that US and EU have much higher capita emissions, indicating higher qualities of life, than the populations of China and India. If so then they should be allowed to increase emissions to US levels , if no other effective means (wind, solar) is adequate to bring the quality of life to the same level. This means that controlling CO2 comes secondary to equal fairness of living conditions . The 2 arguements are incompatible (although individually both arguements could be considered reasonable) and you have to decide which should have preference. It is annoying that warmists , when losing the arguement about reducing emissions from the major emitter, China , then morph immediately into arguement 2 without apparently realising the incongruity.
      It is true that the Democrats in the US and the UK parliament have come up with a solution that solves the dilemma – reduce the US and the UK to Indian or Chinese peasant level (and freeze development in China and India at current levels) thus producing both a slowown in emissions and equality of life. But that solution is unlikely (IMO but strange things are happening these days).

    • Shall we now talk ‘per capita’ for:
      – massive murder rates
      – massive crime in general
      – degraded property
      – massive disease, especially STDs
      – massive drug & alcohol abuse
      – general filth, squalor
      – massive birthrates
      – inability / unwillingness to support their own children
      – massive youth pregnancies rates
      – massive school dropout rates
      – incredibly low IQs & test scores
      – violence as a way of life
      – fathers nowhere to be found

  6. Contrary to the author’s and all Warmunist’s delusions and/or pretensions, CO2 and methane emissions have nothing to do with environmental concerns, since they are not pollutants.

  7. Obama did nothing to increase production of any fossil fuel. Increases that occurred on his watch happened despite his efforts to the contrary. OTOH, Trump actually tries to improve production.

  8. Well, yes: coal power plants continue to close, because natural gas – and it has nothing to do with Trump policy whatever. so CO2 output goes down a bit.

    Frankly every US coal power plant needs to close within 5 years. (The UK will have just 4 left next year and all must close by law by 2025)

      • MarkW

        Like all good socialists griff labours under the misapprehension that only he and a select few others will be amongst the elite when they seize power. It never occurs to them that they will very likely be marched off to the Gulag.

        • The useful idiots are always the first to be gotten rid of.
          Primarily if someone is willing to betray his previous leaders/country, there’s no reason to assume he won’t do it again to his current leaders/country.

    • “The UK will have just 4 left next year and all must close by law by 2025)”

      They won’t close (unless they’re at end of age), but simply convert to burning wood pellets that produce more CO2 than coal. Just like Drax has done.

      • So, jolly good for the plants and crops – more plant food.
        Not so sure about electric power stability; probably the wood-burners use the [old] turbines, so a rotating reserve is in place, so little-to-no effect.
        But – I am a seaman, not a power engineer – I am open to correction on this.

        Thanks.

        Auto

    • I am wondering if the UK are replacing them with NG. Surely, they have planed baseload and peakload. If not they are in a world of hurt. I have been known to have very little sympathy for those who make self-inflicted wounds…

      Thankfully, this will play out on the world with one of G8 countries. Hard to hide.

    • Griff,

      If your presumed “need” to close coal power plants is for climate change concerns, then you’re not paying attention.

      Instead of commenting on your own fake context like shifty Schiff did while ‘reading’ the transcript between Trump and Zelensky, you should try and understand the true cotext, then you will learn that the IPCC and it’s self serving consensus couldn’t be more wrong about the science if they tried, moreover; the policy solutions the IPCC/UNFCCC claims are required will destroy the developed world by replacing the capitalism that drove its success with socialism that drives despair.

      Why are you and other alarmists hell bent on destroying the developed world? Even if the IPCC had the science right, their policy goals are unconditionally wrong, counterproductive and dangerous. You and your fellow alarmists are trapped in a vicious cycle of circular psychosis where the political bias against those on the correct side of the science is so strong, it’s interferring with your ability to discern the truth as the misunderstanding of the truth further reinforces your political bias.

    • Yep you close down plants that can store months of fuel on site. For one that it fuel cannot be store easily or cheaply. That only make sense if you want to freeze or cook people to death when the a supply disruption at an at the wrong time, like when it very cold or very hot. Do to useful idiot like you the north eastern US states are on the edge of the cliff for deliver of natural gas in the winter, just decommission a few more coal plants and the will. Have some very cold dark nights and people will die.

  9. I like this report, in part because it pushes aside the liberal idea that conservatives love pollution. Trump 2020!

  10. No discussion of the Obama era (error) is complete without a recap of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. As many will recall, Deepwater Horizon was a drilling rig operated by BP. They had a well blowout and fire which killed many people and destroyed the rig. The out of control well spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for months. The early response of the administration was telling.

    Plan A:
    Yes, you bet there is a Plan A. The disaster plan is approved, filed, and kept ready to go, just in case. All drilling projects have to have one. First things first, local boats, fishing, tourist, whatever, all along the coast are contracted for service. Their primary task will be to string along oil retention booms to intercept the oil slick and prevent it from reaching shore. Primary areas for protection are beaches, fishing areas and sensitive ecosystems like mangrove swamps. Hundreds of miles of retention booms have been stockpiled for such an emergency. The fleet of newly recruited private boats is up to the task. Truckers start migrating tonnage of booms from their storage warehouses to the deployment areas.
    Next on the list:
    Heavy equipment is deployed in shallow water. The plan is to dredge sand from the sea side of sand bars and use the material to extend the sand bars, and join adjacent sand bars to create an extended barrier between the oil slick and the sensitive shore.

    The Obama swings into action.
    1) The Obama administration orders the EPA to halt the dredging and sand bar building project. Seems, all of a sudden, it needs an “Environmental Review”. Imagine that, when disaster strikes and time counts, the EPA needs to review an EPA approved plan.
    2) The Obama administration orders the Coast Guard to halt the boom deployment. All boats are ordered ashore for a fire extinguisher and life vest inspection. It makes no difference that every last boat involved has already had its safety inspection, a life preserver count is deemed critical.
    3) The Obama administration persists until the oil slick hits shore and the worst case maximum damage is done. Then, and only then, the fleets are allowed to resume work.

    We recall the famous words of Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel “Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste”.
    This is the true environmental legacy of the Obama administration.

  11. Stuck in moderation again. Hours and hours wait.
    No trigger words, no banned subjects. Just a well considered comment, sidelined by and incompetent comment filter. Absolutely no reason discernible by mortal man. And if the moderation filter needs to be tuned up a bit, “we are working on it”, or “the website does not support that functionality”.

    [Hmmmn. .mod]

  12. Isn’t it time to start asking alarmists to reduce their emissions by trading places with a poor person from the Third World? I would think most of them would more than happy to live in a hut in Africa or Asia with no electricity, running water or septic system. Isn’t that the level of development they wish to revert to? Think of the romance and excitement of foraging for food amid wild life like lions and tigers and bears, oh my!!

  13. ‘Greenhouse gases’ are 97% water vapor – who wants to reduce water vapor? And less C02 is NOT a positive, so why suggest it is? Where’s the clarity? Confused positions only reinforce the fraud.

  14. The best way to reduce CO2 emissions is to keep on fracking. Natural gas emits about half the CO2 per unit energy as coal, and it’s even better in a combined cycle plant (using hot gases from the turbine to generate steam, which can also feed a turbine).

    Yes, natural gas does contain methane–it’s about 85 to 90% methane by volume. But natural gas producers have a profit motive to capture all the methane they can into their pipeline so they can sell it, instead of losing it to the air!

    Also, while CO2 concentrations in the air have been rising, methane concentrations are remarkably stable at about 1.8 ppm. Methane has a lower molecular weight (16) than other gases in the atmosphere (N2 = 28, O2 = 32, CO2 = 44). Methane molecules have a higher mean velocity than other molecules in air, and they tend to rise through the atmosphere, and some can escape Earth’s gravity, while CO2 molecules tend to sink toward earth.

    Even though methane absorbs 20 times the infrared as CO2 at the same concentration, the methane in the air is the equivalent of 36 ppm of CO2, or about 9% of the current CO2 concentration. Both of these absorb much less infrared than dihydrogen monoxide, whose emissions are extremely difficult to prevent, since the Earth’s surface is 70% covered with it.

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