“The Guardian” recently ran a story about how the northern hemisphere is witnessing a 26-day jump-start to spring this year, causing a litany of problems for plant and wildlife.
For example, caribou set their seasonal migration calendars by day length, whereas plants respond to temperature. With increasing global temperatures due to this early spring, the plants will bloom long before the caribou have a chance to migrate north. Having no food to eat, these arctic caribou populations will likely suffer significant losses this year.
Ninety-eight percent of scientists contend that carbon emissions pouring into our atmosphere is the cause of this early spring, and that this is due to human activity.
This year, President Donald Trump appointed Scott Pruitt to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a federal agency that is, as the name suggests, intended to protect the environment. Pruitt denies the scientific fact of climate change, and as the head of the EPA, we are to expect a major scaling back of the agency’s resources and programs.
As reported in the “Washington Post,” it was announced Wednesday that the White House is pushing for “deep cuts” in the EPA budget. If the cuts are implemented, it will reduce the EPA’s staff by one-fifth as well as eliminate dozens of EPA programs.
The Trump administration intends to focus instead on military spending, and it is likely budgeting for the EPA would be redirected to “rebuilding” the military. A document released by the White House outlines the EPA budget cuts.
“The administration’s 2018 budget blueprint will prioritize rebuilding the military and making critical investments in the nation’s security,” the document says. “It will also identify the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path.”
As such, with a weakened EPA, it is unlikely that the United States will be able to enact effective environmental policies. The United States is the second largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, reports the EPA in a 2011 study, second only to China. After 2016 claimed the distinction of the hottest year on record, it is doubtful that 2017 will see comprehensive improvements to climate change with a weakened EPA.