Last week, 39 percent of Americans gave Donald Trump a grade of ‘F’ for his first year in office. And that was before they learned he didn’t turn in one of the biggest reports of his presidency.
The Hill notes that on Jan. 1, Trump was due to deliver a biennial update on the country’s progress in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions related to climate change, which presidents of both parties have done since George H.W. Bush administration. It never happened.
The omission marks the end of American leadership toward transparency in reducing emissions. “Over three decades, we have worked to persuade and cajole other countries without a tradition of open government, including China, to monitor, verify and publicly account for their emissions and climate actions,” write Nate Hultman and Paul Bodnar in “The Hill.” “U.S. leadership has been successful: strong reporting and transparency provisions are now an essential feature of global climate agreements, with all countries required to report on progress every two years.”
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration has now failed to meet its legal obligation to deliver its biennial report on behalf of the United States on time. The Trump administration’s inaction — and failure to explain such inaction — undermines U.S. credibility and risks eroding the global consensus on transparency that previous presidents of both parties have long fought to establish and uphold.”
It’s unclear when or if Trump’s report will be rescheduled.
A climate-change denier, Trump has reversed U.S. protocol toward global warming since inauguration day, when mentions of climate change disappeared from the official White House website. In May, he announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, in which every other nation save two has committed to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gases. He has worked to unwind environmental-protection legislation and has appointed people connected to the oil and gas industries to the Environmental Protection Agency. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that the EPA has cut back the safety-review process for hazardous chemicals.
A study released last week showed that the federal government has deleted or replaced references to climate change and renewable energy across several government websites. “Removing information regarding climate change from federal websites does not affect the reality of climate change, but may serve to obfuscate the subject and inject doubt regarding the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and that it is caused by human activity,” said the report from the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative.