Trump Threat Fires Up US Climate Activists

Trump Threat Fires Up US Climate ActivistsTrump Threat Fires Up US Climate Activists

Donald Trump's energy policy, that is likely to focus dramatically on oil and gas production,  has prompted environmental activists to stand up to his fossil-fuel friendly approach which is a strong U-turn from the previous administration. Seattle financial worker Harrison Karlewicz had been considering joining an environmental activist group for a while. The day after Donald Trump won the White House, he signed up, Reuters reported.

"That was a big push for me, kind of a wakeup call," the 25-year-old said, after joining 350 Seattle, a group that stages mass protests against fossil fuel use. "I thought, 'I don't feel involved. I want to get out there.'"

During his campaign, Trump said global warming was a hoax and called for the Environmental Protection Agency to be gutted. He promised to "cancel" the Paris climate agreement between the United States and nearly 200 other countries to slow climate change, and he pledged to revive the coal industry.

Jay O'Hara, a Vermont-based climate-change activist with the Climate Disobedience Center and a mastermind behind a coal shipment blockade in 2013 that spurred more radical fossil fuel activism, said Trump's win represents an opportunity for environmentalists to focus on a clear enemy.

"In some ways, it can almost be seen as a relief," he said of Trump's win. "We are going to have a real fight here, or maybe an actual argument."

Some of the well established US environmental organizations that helped draft the Obama administration's environmental initiatives, like the Clean Power Plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions, will be shifting to a defensive posture under Trump's leadership. "We'll be in the Congress, in the courts, in the boardrooms and in the streets," said Gene Karpinski, president of the Washington-based League of Conservation Voters.

Dan Farber, an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, said the best that advocates for climate change action could hope for from courts is to "play successful defense against an anti-environmental onslaught" from the new administration.

"It's a fairly grim situation," he added.


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