As outlined in the article “Trump’s 100-days promises: A long way to go on most of them,” published by The Washington Post, the benchmark first 100 days of U.S. President Donald Trump is coming to a close. During this time, there have been many election promises that Trump has either not kept or has tried to initiate only to be shut down by the legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government. Some of these broken promises were hyperbole such as treating China’s president Xi Jinping to McDonald’s. Other promises broken or not yet kept would have more of a real-world impact. Many of these were part of Trump’s appeal as a candidate during his election.
Energy and Environment Policy
Trump has kept two out of his three of his promises about America’s domestic energy production and its role in combating climate change. He kept the promise to have both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects going and kept his promise to lift restrictions on fossil fuel extraction. The promise he did not keep was to pull out of the Paris climate accord and to cancel funding of U.N. climate change programs.
Regarding his energy policy, Trump has made no friends with environmentalist groups but his broken promise to reduce international cooperation regarding climate change has very likely eased the blow to the groups’ interests. There might be protests by these groups in the future as a consequence of both of the pipelines and increased fossil fuel usage, especially if unexpected problems arise.
On the other hand, Trump’s voter base is likely very satisfied by the promises Trump has managed to keep. In a February 2017 Pew Research Center article, in spite of gradual decline in support, Republicans were shown to be in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline at 76 percent. This is in contrast to Democrat support being at 17 percent. Breaking the promise to pull out of international cooperation may have been popular as well. A November 2016 Washington Post article published that the Paris climate accord was popular with 71 percent of Americans, including 57 percent of Republicans.
One of the future consequences of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would likely be less dependence on foreign oil. For nations such as those in OPEC, a reduction in the American market share could lead to slightly less cordial relationships with the U.S. This is because these nations that are dependent on oil exports will lose some of their trade revenue thanks to domestically produced oil. On the other hand, America having more control over its energy future should be quite popular with American nationalist groups who would see the pipelines as an American victory against globalism.
Meanwhile the increased extraction of fossil fuels is likely to spur-on the creation of power plants that are fed by said fuels. This in turn would have an impact on not only the local environments around the power plants but would also create more greenhouse gasses. This is the cost for cheaper electricity as the supply of electricity goes up to meet growing demand, especially during the summer months. The fossil fuels would also be a boon for trade as China needs to meet its demand for fossil fuels after blocking the import of coal from North Korea. There is also the demand by developing countries which need fuel for stable electric grids that would spur-on modernization and growth.
Trump’s broken promise to distance America from global environmental cooperation is by all means going to relieve the anxiety other nations actively combating climate change. This leaves America in the position to be a world leader in reducing global emissions, in spite of what will likely be increased fossil fuel emissions. Legislature that could be developed to meet climate change goals while still enjoying the benefits of expanding the fossil fuel industry includes research into cleaner mineral extraction and programs to incentivize cleaner energy production. In turn any innovation created by the U.S. could be passed along to other nations who seek to reduce their carbon footprint. This broken promise means that Trump is at least not going to change America’s current role in combating climate change. However, further down the road, Trump could decide to pull out of the Paris climate accord and U.N. efforts to combat climate change, which would have negative consequences for global cooperation and the development of cleaner energy.
Associated Press. (2017, April 24) Trump’s 100-days promises: A long way to go on most of them. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/trumps-100-days-promises-a-long-way-to-go-on-most-of-them/2017/04/24/c8f2acba-292f-11e7-9081-f5405f56d3e4_story.html and https://archive.fo/JmD0P
Suls, Rob. (2017, February 21) Public divided over Keystone XL, Dakota pipelines; Democrats turn decisively against Keystone. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/21/public-divided-over-keystone-xl-dakota-pipelines-democrats-turn-decisively-against-keystone/ and https://archive.fo/jW8JG
Mooney, Chris. (2016, November 21) Trump wants to dump the Paris climate deal, but 71 percent of Americans support it, survey finds. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/21/trump-wants-to-dump-the-paris-climate-deal-but-71-percent-of-americans-support-it-survey-finds/?utm_term=.925ee7e1af6a and https://archive.fo/Igr3W