The United States has been in a downward race to the bottom on environmental protection over the past six years, with some of the lowest scores in the world.
The latest report by the World Environment Council and the Nature Conservancy shows environmental protection under President Barack Obama slipping from an A- to a D-plus.
The United States was one of only a handful of nations in which the top score — on a numerical scale of 0-100 — was a mere 12 in the 2013 Human Development Index. The score was even lower in 2010, the year before Obama took office.
At the root of the decline is a decline in the EPA.
The number of environmental grants and cooperative agreements fell from 31.8 percent of all government funding in 2010 to 26.2 percent in 2013 — a decline of 25 percent.
“In the U.S., climate policy and regulations for land use are on life support, with no end in sight,” the Nature Conservancy’s director of science and policy, John Wiens, said in a statement.
“And that’s bad for the climate.”
Overall, scientists are not too concerned about Trump. The administration hasn’t yet issued any major climate rule, a move that environmentalists are hoping to influence after Trump’s choice for energy secretary withdrew his nomination in the wake of a series of anti-climate statements.
Despite Obama’s legacy on environmental issues, they warned that Trump could simply use the agency as a political shield.
“EPA has taken some significant steps in recent years that are positive on behalf of those of us who care about our environmental future,” said Andrew Steer, president of the National Wildlife Federation.
“We hope the new administration, while we’re sure to find many of the same policies in its plan, will also be guided by a stronger commitment to environmental stewardship,” Steer added.
While Trump and members of his staff have vowed to roll back Obama’s environmental efforts, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has a positive view of the agency, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We need to get back to where it was in the first place,” said Pruitt, who has called EPA “very important in terms of protecting humans and our environment.”
Despite these concerns, Trump’s pick for environmental agency chief, Scott Pruitt, has repeatedly said he wants to increase energy production and create jobs in the country and on the international stage through environmental enforcement.
Pruitt, a former chief executive of
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