Coalition of US states to 'aggressively oppose' Trump's climate order

The order suspends, rescinds or flags for review measures introduced under the Obama administration

Coalition of US states to 'aggressively oppose' Trump's climate order

A demonstrator dressed as a polar bear joins others gather infront of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Picture by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Press Association Images

A number of US states have vowed to move ahead with actions to combat climate change after Donald Trump signed an executive order to roll back many of Barack Obama's climate policies.

The order directs the US Environmental Protection Agency to "suspend, revise, or rescind" elements of the Obama administration's major environmental legislation, the Clean Power Plan.

President Trump's order lifts restrictions on the production of oil, natural gas, and shale energy, and also removes restrictions on the coal industry.

Explaining the motivation behind the measures, the order claims that existing regulations "unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation".

There was no indication in the order on whether or not the US will withdraw from the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.

President Trump has previously claimed global warming is a hoax perpetrated by China.

The executive order was welcomed by some business groups and politicians.

Republican governors Scott Walker (Wisconsin) and Mary Fallin (Oklahoma) said: "The Obama administration’s plan was an unnecessary and burdensome regulation that would have threatened jobs, jeopardised energy reliability, and driven up energy costs for millions of hard-working Americans.

"We applaud President Trump’s commitment to working with the states to put American energy solutions first.”

However, the order drew swift condemnation from a number of other states.

"Aggressive opposition"

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading a coalition of 23 states, cities, and counties who have vowed to challenge the order in court.

In a statement, the coalition said: “We strongly oppose President Trump’s executive order that seeks to dismantle the Clean Power Plan.

“We won’t hesitate to protect those we serve - including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the critical importance of confronting the very real threat of climate change.” 

In a separate statement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Edmund Brown Jr pledged to exceed targets set by the Clean Power Plan.

They said: "Dismantling the Clean Power Plan and other critical climate programs is profoundly misguided and shockingly ignores basic science. With this move, the Administration will endanger public health, our environment and our economic prosperity.

"Climate change is real and will not be wished away by rhetoric or denial. We stand together with a majority of the American people in supporting bold actions to protect our communities from the dire consequences of climate change."

The two states are planning to reduce greenhouse gases to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, with an initial target of 40% below those levels by 2030.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, meanwhile, said: “This Order moves our nation in the wrong direction and puts American prosperity at risk. We will assert our own 21st century leadership and chart a different course."

Several of President Trump's major appointees have questioned the scientific consensus on the impact of climate change.

Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, was criticised earlier this month after questioning carbon dioxide's role in global warming.

Overwhelming scientific consensus points towards society's impact on the environment, with NASA saying that increased CO2 concentration from human activity since the Industrial Revolution is "the most important long-lived 'forcing' of climate change".