Keeping an election promise to support the coal industry, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to reverse Obama-era climate change regulations. Flanked by coal miners and coal company executives, Trump proclaimed his ‘Energy Independence’ order at, ironically, the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Trump calledhis move a reversal of government intrusion and job-killing regulations, and lifting of restrictions on American energy. The move has invited a backlash from a group of 23 states and local governments and scores of environmental groups, which called the order a threat to public health and vowed to fight it in court. The order’s main casualty would be former President Barack Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’, which required states to cut carbon emissions from power plants – a key factor in the United States’ efforts to meet its commitments under the Paris climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in 2015. Trump’s order has also overturned a ban on coal leasing on federal lands and rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production. It reduces the weightage of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure decisions. Scientists blame carbon dioxide and methane as the two main greenhouse gases for global warming. Environmentalists have called the move reckless.
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