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Climate NGOs vow to fight Trump

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on January 15, 2018

Greenpeace, which has been fighting against Trump through the election campaign, had recently pointed out that many of the President-elect’s key advisers are from the fossil fuel industry   -  REUTERS

The election of Donald Trump, a self-professed climate change denier, to the US presidency, seems to have filled various civil society group with a resolve to fight for climate action with renewed vigour.

Trump, who said during the course of his campaign that he would “save the coal industry” and spoke of oil in glowing terms, wants to pull US out of last year’s Paris Agreement that seeks concerted action from 195 countries to act to limit global warming.

Trump has also promised to cut the budget for the US Environment Protection Agency, saying “what they do is a disgrace.”

Terming Trump’s election a “disaster”, 350.org, a US-based NGO, said in a statement that the new President would “try and slam the brakes on climate action, which means we need to throw all of our weight on the accelerator.”

It said that the work had become “harder but not impossible” and vowed not to give up.

Using almost similar language, Greenpeace International has said that it would “not allow a Trump administration to distract the world or to rob it of the growing momentum towards a clean energy revolution”.

Noting that “China, India and others are racing to be the global clean energy superpowers”, Greenpeace observed, “The US, as Donald Trump will learn, does not want to be left behind.”

Greenpeace, which has been fighting against Trump through the election campaign, had recently pointed out that many of the President-elect’s key advisers are from the fossil fuel industry.

Top among them is Harold Hamm who, Greenpeace said, was tipped to be the next US Energy Secretary. Hamm is the CEO of Continental Resources, a fracking company. Others in Trump’s inner circle are Forrest Lucas, CEO of Lucas Oil and Myron Ebell, head of an entity called Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received donations from the oil company, ExxonMobil, and has touted the “benefits” of carbon dioxide. Ebell was appointed by Trump in September as the head of the team that would lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency.

It is against the line-up of such forces that the civil societies have hardened their stance. “Now, more than ever,” says Brooke Larsen of SustainUS, “We feel an unrelenting faith in the power of the people. We will organise. We will engage in massive civil disobedience.” SustainUS is another American environment-NGO.

Trump has promised to repeal several of President Obama’s pro-environment measures, such as the Clean Power Plan – he has called them “draconian” – but he will face resistance. “We will ferociously defend America’s bedrock environmental protections both in the Congress and in the Courts,” threatens Environmental Defense Fund, a not-for-profit organisation of 1.5 million members and staff of 500 scientists and economists, committing “significant legal resources on the battles that are coming”.

Another group, Friends of Earth, says: “The next four years will not be easy, but we have fought hostile administrations before,” recalling its fights during the presidency of George Bush.

Published on November 10, 2016

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