It doesn’t matter what Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt says about the US administration’s concern about the environment.
It’s deeds not words that count.
Both are pretty suspect in the case of the Trump administration and its attitude towards the environment.
Mr Pruitt told The New York Times podcast that his job was simply to follow the law. Not to govern well or wisely, but to follow the law.
The US doesn’t legislatively seek to prevent further climate change-boosting activity, which is to say the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). That explains why Mr Pruitt and his boss President Trump can continue down the cynical road marked ‘let them all pollute, we’re just following the law’.
Consider the news that the Trump administration has sought to reverse more than 60 environmental rules in its one year in office.
The administration is also unapologetically (in fact very self-righteously) pushing fair-mindedness on energy use. Mr Pruitt told the NYT he didn’t see it as the EPA’s role to “pick winners and losers” in the energy sector.
But isn’t it the job of governments to lead change rather than simply allowing the market to rule?
The transition from fossil fuels to renewables is likely to take some time. Scientific American quoted Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba to remind us that it took more than 50 years for coal to replace wood as the world’s leading source of energy and another 50 years for oil to overtake coal.
Every year of active hostility from the Trump administration to renewable energy sources hurts us all. Climate change is not a domestic American issue.