January 21, 2021

Yes, Trump Revoked An Obama Order To Get Infrastructure Climate Change Ready

Hurricane Harvey from NASA
It seems to matter more to Trump to "eclipse" Obama than to prepare our country long-term for climate change.

Today America’s gaze has been shifted to the natural disaster in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey. The Guardian reported on how climate change actually made the storm more deadly. Among the problems worsened by human-caused climate change: increased sea level rise. Now having a president who denies climate change is real has all-too-real consequences. For one example, Trump revoked Obama-era rules that roads and bridges be designed to survive rising sea levels just ten days ago.

Elise Hu, Asia correspondent at NPR News, revealed the story with a Tweet:

On August the 15th, Trump announced yet another executive order to lash out at Obama’s legacy. Obama had ordered that infrastructure should be designed taking into account the effects of climate change, foreseeing the coming problems as guided by the overwhelming majority of scientists around the globe.

Trump, A) Doesn’t believe in or won’t believe in climate change (if he did that might stand in the way of the hunt for non-existent  “clean coal,” drilling for oil in sanctuaries, or creating pipelines in North Dakota or Russia, ), and B) Trump has a pattern of attacking anything Obama touched out of either vindictiveness, or racist birther rationale, or both.

Believing in climate change might also mean Trump would have to focus on infrastructure other than his border wall…

NPR reported on the Obama executive order:

The executive order was meant to protect taxpayer dollars spent on projects in areas prone to flooding and to improve “climate resilience” across the U.S. — that is, communities’ ability to cope with the consequences of global warming.

Transportation Secretary and wife to Mitch McConnell, Elaine Chao said Trump’s slashing of Obama’s order was to “slash the time it takes” to approve new infrastructure projects. Project approval seems to take precedence over quality, long-term solutions.

Even if climate change didn’t exist, this type of approach to construction might be expected given the reviews Trump has received for architectural projects in the past.

Had we listened to architects, we would have predicted all of this…

For one example, US architect Doug Staker had this very revealing commentary about “Trumpitecture” in November of last year:

For decades Trumpitecture has stood as a sad but honest reflection of the values Trump clearly and proudly embodies. It offers to the world an opportunity to embrace all that is backward and regressive in architecture and the world it reflects, to miss the opportunity for depth and insight in favour of the easy and simplistic, to miss every chance to build a better world, both literally and figuratively.
Trumpitecture forgets the lessons learned by the struggles and aspirations of the past. It does not aspire to anything but singing its own name while filling its own pockets. It belches all the wrong ideas we thought we had left in the past. It hopes that if the people are thoughtless enough, they’ll be fooled by the glitter into believing that the future belongs to the tactless and simplistic, replete with yesterday’s ideas, and that somehow – in some future detached from the bonds of reason – this collection of simplistic, backwards ideas and betrayals of principle will somehow “make America great again”.
What could proclaim louder than Trump’s own buildings that his recipe for greatness lies in embracing the worst ideas that we as a people have sought and struggled to leave in the past? We need look no further than Trump’s architectural prowess to envision the world he would wish upon us. Strip away all nuance and subtlety, unlearn all the lessons of the past, and transform what could be a beautiful art form into a place to advertise your brand – that is Trump’s recipe for greatness.

If only Americans had listened to the architects!

But back to the harsh reality… Today, the reality of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is playing out. We are glad to see that Trump has responded with a disaster declaration. We’re delighted that Mexico is ignoring Trump’s political border wall dispute in favor of sending aid to Texas.

In the face of natural disasters, we all must unify and work to help those affected. However, in the months ahead the planning that could help ensure more people are not affected by climate change will not be there, and that’s because of Trump. That’s in part because he has chosen to ignore scientists and other experts in a divisive move to eclipse Obama, just as he literally Tweeted only days ago.

This retweet below by Trump really tells us so much. In the end, it seems to matter more to Trump to “eclipse” Obama than to prepare our country long-term for the perilous future mankind has managed to create for itself out of hubris and greed. One might have to acknowledge hubris and greed to acknowledge climate change is caused by mankind, and maybe that’s exactly why Trump can’t do so.

Featured image: NASA (CC BY 2.0)

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