President Donald Trump declared himself a champion of the environment Monday, working to boost his standing on climate change and pollution issues in advance of the 2020 election despite having launched some of the most sweeping rollbacks in air, water and other protections in decades. “We have only one America. We have only one planet,” Trump said in a White House address that featured some of his most extensive remarks on the environment to date. Trump’s previous conservation statements have included campaigning to all but eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency and tweets that mocked climate change science. His administration has focused on propping up the lagging U.S. coal industry and expanding a boom in U.S. gas and oil. “A strong economy is vital to maintaining a healthy environment,” Trump declared, saying he was balancing business-friendly oversight with public health and conservation protections. Cabinet members stood and applauded the president’s remarks and then went to the East Room podium, one-by-one, to attest to his dedication to conservation. The president also brought to the stage a Florida bait and tackle shop owner, Bruce Hrobak, who praised what he said were the administration’s efforts against water-fouling algae before pumping his fist in the air and declaring, “Trump 2020.” Former government regulators and environmental advocates said Trump’s promotion of its environmental record strained credulity, coming from an administration that has moved to weaken several landmark U.S. protections for air and water and roll back Obama-era efforts against climate change. “Trump’s environmental record is such
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is crafting a climate change policy he hopes will appeal to both environmentalists and the blue-collar voters who elected Donald Trump, according to two sources, carving out a middle ground approach that will likely face heavy resistance from green activists.
The backbone of the policy will likely include the United States re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and preserving U.S. regulations on emissions and vehicle fuel efficiency that Trump has sought to undo, according to one of the sources, Heather Zichal, who is part of a team advising Biden on climate change. She previously advised President Barack Obama.
The second source, a former energy department official advising Biden’s campaign who asked not to be named, said the policy could also be supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology, which limit emissions from coal plants and other industrial facilities.