Memos & Research

President Donald Trump: An Environmental Disaster

May 5, 2016

Everything I say I‘m going to do, folks, I‘ll do.” – Donald Trump.

Environmental protection will undoubtedly be one of the many challenges our next president faces in office. Just this week, the New York Times reported on the first climate change refugees in the U.S., a group of Native American tribe members in Louisiana. Meanwhile, the ongoing crisis in Flint has shown a spotlight on the persistent environmental injustices inflicted on communities – predominantly Latino and African American – that bear the brunt of the negative health impacts of pollution.

How will President Trump approach these enormously complex issues, which cross international boundaries, impact diverse communities and are rooted in deeply entrenched political, racial, and economic structures? To answer this question, given his lack of public policy proposals, we have to listen to Trump’s own advice and take him at his word.

Below, you will find a set of critical policy decisions that the next president will have to address, and Trump’s stated positions. Takentogether, the answer is clear: Donald Trump lacks the judgement, character and temperament to handle the coming challenges. ADonald Trump presidency would be an environmental disaster.

CLIMATE CHANGE. 2016 is slated to be the warmest year on record, thanks to rising temperatures brought on by climate change. 2015 currently owns that record, followed by 2014. 97 percent of climate scientists agree that warmer temperature trends over the past century are “very likely due to human activities.” In fact, scientists are “more certain than ever” that humans are actively changing the climate. Even the Pentagon has warned that climate change is a threat to national security. What’s more, nearly two-thirds of the American people – a record high – believe that man-made climate change is real, including a majority of Trump’s own supporters.

  • Donald Trump has said that the “concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” to make the United States less competitive. He has also referred to climate change as “bullshit,” a hoax, and a money-making industry.
  • Donald Trump has repeatedly called for cutting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is charged with executing and enforcing the Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants are allowed to dump into our air. The Clean Power Plan empowers states to craft their own plans to reduce carbon pollution. If Trump eliminated funding the agency itself, the Clean Power Plan would effectively be nullified.

WATER CRISIS IN FLINT, MICHIGAN. In 2014, “Flint’s drinking water became tainted when the city switched from the Detroit water system and began drawing from the Flint River … to save money. The impoverished city was under state control at the time. Regulators failed to ensure the water was treated properly and lead from aging pipes leached into the water supply. Elevated levels of lead have been found in some children’s blood. Lead contamination has been linked to learning disabilities and other problems.” The crisis underscores the need for access to clean drinking water for all Americans as attention to Flint has also lead to exposure of similar problems across the country. Yesterday, President Barack Obama traveled to Flint, Michigan to highlight the need to address the ongoing lead-poisoning crisis.

  • Donald Trump simply stated, “I don’t want to comment on that. They’ve got a very difficult problem and I know the governor’s got a very difficult time going. But, you know, I shouldn’t be commenting on Flint.”

PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT. In December 2015, 195 nationsincluding the United States – came together for “an historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future … The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.”

  • Donald Trump would have skipped the summit, arguing that “there were more important things to do.”

Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.