Trump’s climate order will put more people in harm’s way: Experts

TEPIC: US President Donald Trump’s executive order to sweep away Obama-era climate change regulations jeopardises efforts across his country to build resilience to intensifying natural disasters, experts have warned.
The executive order, signed on Tuesday, could make it harder to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the lower limit governments have pledged to strive for in a UN accord, they said.
“These reversals are coming at a moment when the impacts of climate change are intensifying,” said Heather Coleman, climate change policy manager at Oxfam America.
“The president is playing politics with people’s lives,” she told journalists in a telephone briefing.
Trump’s order has drawn swift condemnation from a coalition of states and local governments, as well as green groups who say it threatens public health and have vowed to fight it in court.
The main target of the executive order is the Clean Power Plan introduced by former US president Barack Obama, requiring states to slash carbon emissions from power plants.
It is a key factor in the US’s ability to meet its commitments under the UN climate change agreement reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.
Trump, a Republican, and several key members of his administration have doubts about climate change, but it remains unclear whether the president will pull the United States out of the Paris deal, in line with a campaign promise.
“If you don’t want to call it climate change, that’s fine — you can call it whatever you want, but the point is, we’re dealing with this new reality and we have to address it head on,” said Belinda Constant, mayor of Gretna, Louisiana, and co-chair of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.
The frequency and severity of disasters is on the rise and costs are unprecedented, she said.
Persistent disasters along the Mississippi River alone have cost over $50 billion since 2011, draining the local economy, she added.
The executive order would have a direct impact on resilience to disasters, she said, with both jobs and infrastructure at risk if requirements by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for states and local government to build climate risks into planning are eliminated, she said.
Experts said that while Trump’s executive order undermined efforts to prepare for extreme events. — Reuters