Research has indicated that climate change could kill more than half a million people globally by the year 2050 — and, not only does President Donald Trump not have a plan to fight it, his administration has taken steps to silence those who might.
Luckily for the planet, other countries are stepping up to the plate to help mitigate the damage that Trump's negligence may do.
It's telling that Trump has indicated in the past that he may not even believe climate change is real — although he has wavered on its plausibility. But Trump's actions in his first days in office paint a bleak picture of how the new regime will address the issue of a warming planet.
Shortly after his inauguration, references to climate change on the White House website disappeared. Then on Tuesday, the Trump administration reportedly instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website. An agency employee told Reuters "If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear."
That same day, Trump banned EPA employees from speaking to the press or giving updates on social media. "President Donald Trump and his team are pursuing what I call a 'control-alt-delete' strategy: control the scientists in the federal agencies, alter science-based policies to fit their narrow ideological agenda, and delete scientific information from government websites," Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the BBC on Wednesday.
But, even as the United States appears to give up the fight to curb the dangers of climate change, other countries are stepping forward to attempt to fill the gap. On Tuesday, the EU's European Investment Bank pledged "to maintain its target" of investing around $20 billion a year over the next five years to fight climate change, the Independent reported.
"We, Europeans, must lead the free world against climate skeptics," EIB president Werner Hoyer said at a press conference in Brussels, Reuters reported. "We aim to provide $100 billion for climate action over the next five years, the largest contribution of any single multilateral institution."
And the EU may be fighting climate change without the help of the U.S. for the next five years — but it won't be going at it solo. China, the country that Trump once accused of inventing the concept of climate change, is poised to take a leadership role in the fight against climate change "by the end of this decade," according to a report in the Guardian, as Chinese leaders see greater environmental and economic value in the cause.
In an address to the United Nations earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping made his position clear — saying "there is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland," the Guardian reported. "China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and fully honor its obligations."
China is the world's biggest polluter, so there's plenty riding on Xi's promises to join the efforts — but nothing says more than the deafening silence on climate change coming from the leader of the world's second biggest polluter, President Donald Trump.