Biden Administration to Focus on Climate Change Policy
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, politicians have undermined science institutions and federal health agencies by preventing certain studies from being published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and changing the language on certain CDC publications. After former President Donald Trump entered office, many public health agencies and environmental advocacy groups feel as though there may have been irreversible harm to the science community from the Trump administration because of the several environmental rollbacks that were enacted.
The former president’s actions, such as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, an international accord that aimed to combat climate change, has caused concern within the scientific community. According to the Brookings Institution, President Trump’s agenda largely consisted of deregulation, providing a very business-friendly agenda. This deregulation extended to the rules that were placed to protect the U.S. against climate change. However, President Biden entered the White House with the exact opposite idea in mind. The Brooking Institution reports that Biden “has established an ambitious goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” In order to achieve that goal, this would require new legislation to intentionally reverse the Trump administration rollbacks on regulation.
Over the last four years, the Trump administration rolled back over 100 environmental protection policies. Some of the rollbacks included policies that lifted limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions largely contribute to air pollution, which can lead to respiratory diseases and climate change effects, such as wildfires. However, climate change is not the only major issue that scientists expressed concern about under Trump’s reign. On October 31, 2017, Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ordered that scientists who actively worked with the EPA could not serve on any science-advisory panels. Pruitt’s order made it harder to assess new information regarding climate change, which would result in limited knowledge for both scientists and the public. Ultimately, policies like this hurt many academic researchers because it gave way for more industry scientists. This would force many academics to give up their grants or resign for an industry position, according to science magazine.
While the role of organizations, like the EPA, was diminished under the Trump administration, with Biden, things are starting to change. Biden has pledged to confront the climate change head on, whereas it was not a focal piece for Trump’s re-election campaign. This is one of the most dramatic shifts between the two administrations. Biden has promised to “stop the political theater and willful misinformation that has heightened confusion and discrimination.” Policy experts agree that Trump’s administration significantly undermined scientific integrity.
Biden’s goal concerning scientific agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, is a stark contrast from Trump’s. Under Biden’s plan, public health leaders will be placed front and center to ensure the safety of the American people. Despite the efforts that Biden is beginning to make, this may not completely change what Trump has set in place. With severe environmental rollbacks and a damaged reputation in the eyes of the science community, the Biden administration has a lot of work in front of them.