et few things on Trump’s confrontational agenda put him more quickly on a collision course with the rest of the world, much of his own country and even some in his own party than his stated desire to abandon the fight against global warming. The looming assault on environmental regulation will test the resilience of California’s leadership role in the world, which is defined in large part by aggressive action on climate change that became a blueprint for the Obamaadministration.
“Donald Trump will be about the only head of state who does not believe in climate science or the responsibility of his government to act,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, which signed up more members in the week after Trump won the election than during the rest of 2016 combined. “This makes the Bush-Cheney administration look like it came from an environmental training camp.”
But Trump may be picking a tougher fight than he knows. The last time the White House made the kind of retreat Trump envisions – when President Bush walked away from the Kyoto protocol in 2001 – the policy landscape of climate change was drastically different.
Much of the action on climate change in this country no longer plays out in federal agencies but at local commissions enforcing laws in 29 states that push public utilities to go green. Their mandates are to encourage investment in cleaner plants and technology development.