Trump signs order rolling back Obama climate change policies

KONFRONTASI - US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at rolling back most of his predecessor’s climate change policies, promising that the measure would create jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

Trump signed the document titled the ‘Energy Independence Executive Order’ at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday, suspending more than half a dozen measures enacted by former President Barack Obama.

The order intends to reverse a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, and overturns rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, with critics slamming Trump's measure, as dangerous and against the global trend toward cleaner energy technologies. ​

Flanked by a group of coal miners, the new US president said this is “the start of a new era” in energy production, praising the move as a way to promote energy independence and to restore thousands of lost coal industry jobs.

"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” Trump said. "With today's executive action I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations."

This comes as the US coal industry is suffering an economic downturn due to declining demand for its product, and therefore being replaced by cheaper and more plentiful natural gas.

Surrounded by miners from Rosebud Mining, US President Donald Trump (C) signs the Energy Independence Executive Order at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Headquarters in Washington, DC, March 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Obama administration had prioritized climate change agenda as the centerpiece of his policies to fight global warming, while Trump previously called global warming a “hoax,” and has repeatedly criticized his predecessor’s efforts as an attack on American workers and the struggling US coal industry.

During his campaigning for the 2016 presidential election, the GOP candidate had also vowed to repeal the 2015 Paris climate deal, along with some other hallmarks of Obama’s legacy, but changed his mind days after gaining electoral victory on November 8, 2016.[ptv]