Members of the Climate Change Work Group at Western Michigan University say they are concerned about a number of issues with the Trump administration, but climate change is at the top of the list.
Western Michigan University Professors Paul Clements (Political Science) and Alan Webb (English) joined us to discuss environmental issues ahead of Earth Day. Clements says if anything the climate change work group has grown more concerned since President Trump took office. He says proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget and the possible closing of the agency’s Region 5 office show that a dismantling of the EPA is moving ahead. Webb says the United States’ commitments to climate change agreements are also at risk.
An Earth Day celebration will be held Saturday in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park. Clements says the emphasis will be on the issue of climate change. He says the current trajectory of carbon emissions is unsustainable, but Clements says there is still a lot that can be done to answer that. Webb says global temperature continues to rise, and the long-term trends are very disturbing. Webb says he’s not sure how climate change became a partisan issue, but he says addressing it will require a collaborative effort.
Asked if, President Trump is just doing what he was elected to do, Webb says people voted for Trump for many reasons. But he says the President is wrong on the science of climate change. Clements says President Trump won the election, but that doesn’t make what he says about climate change true.
It was reported this week that the EPA’s Region 5 could close and consolidate with an office near Kansas City. Agency officials say no decision has been made about consolidating EPA regional offices. Clements says there’s no way an office in Kansas can do an adequate job of maintaining the Great Lakes with a smaller staff than what the regional office has in Chicago.