President Donald Trump’s aggressive rollback of the Obama administration’s climate policies is already changing the trajectory of the world’s efforts on global warming, with some analysts estimating it will mean billions more tons of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere during the next decade and a half.
It could be one of the most durable legacies of his young presidency — regardless of whether Trump decides to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
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Trump has spent much of his first 100 days in office launching a series of efforts to undo former President Barack Obama’s domestic climate policies, seeking to ease pollution limits on power plants, vehicle tailpipes, coal mining, and oil and gas wells. And while Democrats and environmental groups promise fierce resistance, analysts say Trump’s efforts could bring an effective halt to U.S. efforts to cut the carbon pollution that scientists blame for warming the planet.
“This is an experiment we can only run once, and then it’s too late,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. “We were in a lot of trouble with climate change already. This only makes it more risky. It’s hard to quantify how much it matters, but it makes attainment of a difficult-to-achieve target more or less impossible.”
The United States is the world’s second-largest carbon polluter, but its greenhouse gas output has slid sharply in the past decade — a trend driven partly by increases in energy efficiency and a shift from coal to natural gas as a power source. Obama had…
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