It's no surprise than Bernie Sanders' post-convention career has focused on the ways our elected officials may hurt our people and planet. Since Donald Trump was elected, Sanders has been one of the new president's harshest critics on matters that count — the environment, workers' rights, and civil rights. Sanders' response to Trump's climate change order is everything we've come to expect from the Vermont senator, and shows that his priorities remain with the people and the environment we continue to harm.
Trump's most recent controversial executive order marks yet another departure from President Barack Obama's administration, this time dealing with how the White House approaches climate change. Trump's order undoes many of the climate change regulations put in place by Obama with the intent of placing job growth over regulations that attempt to undo the damages of climate change. In interviews during the signage of the order, Trump surrounded himself with coal miners and explained the purpose of the order which was, in his words, a means of "putting an end to the war on coal." He elucidated on the subject:
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.
Climate policy and environmental science experts interviewed by CNN say that Trump's order may have serious effects for global actions to reverse climate change, and could be a symbolic gesture to show that he can reverse Obama-era decisions.
Sanders' response to the order appears to allude to the president's long history of climate change denial that often includes a belief that climate change is supposedly a hoax created by the Chinese. This is far from the senator's first time criticizing Trump for his climate change denial: while both were still on the campaign trail last year, Sanders mocked Trump's disbelief in climate change:
How brilliant can you be. The entire scientific community has concluded that climate change is real and causing major problems and Trump believes that it’s a hoax created by the Chinese. Surprised it wasn’t the Mexicans.
After Trump won the election against Sanders' former opponent Hillary Clinton, Sanders continued his criticisms of Trump's climate change stance by slamming his Environmental Protection Agency pick Scott Pruitt. In a CNN interview, Sanders said Pruitt's stance on climate change was "pathetic" after publicly doubting that carbon dioxide is a "primary contributor" to climate change.
Sanders' staunch criticism of the president's latest order is correct — eliminating energy regulations (which are the bare minimum necessary to address this massive threat to our environment) will hurt our planet. As with many of Trump's stances, it's unclear what exactly his climate change denial is based in, but it can and will have devastating effects for us all while he remains in office.