Environment Politics
AP_17087685230990.jpg Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Donald Trump, accompanied by from left, Vice President Mike Pence, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, speaks at EPA headquarters in Washington on Tuesday.

March 28, 2017

Kenney: 'Irresponsible' of Trump to roll back climate change regulations

Philadelphia officials criticized President Donald Trump's decision Tuesday to scale back federal directives to combat climate change.

Calling the action "irresponsible" and "a step backward," Mayor Jim Kenney's Office quickly responded to the executive order shortly after Trump added his signature to roll back Clean Power Plan programs and regulations put into place by former President Barack Obama.

“A hotter and wetter climate will have a disastrous impact on the health of our residents and our communities.” Kenney said. “Additionally, the proposed Trump budget would have immediate and drastic effects on many programs that Philadelphians rely on, such as those that support local air pollution prevention efforts, or that help residents save money on energy.”

Fearing a detrimental effect on the global environment, Kenney and 34 other U.S. mayors sent a letter to Trump objecting to the order.

Trump's order suspends several Environmental Protection Agency measures aimed at restricting carbon emissions while boosting energy production from fossil fuels.

An outspoken climate change denier, Trump claims the action will help revive the coal industry and create jobs.

The move was widely expected after Trump released his budget proposal two weeks ago, which slashed funding for the EPA by 31 percent.

Christine Knapp, the city's Office of Sustainability director, cited scientific research that strongly suggests humans are directly causing climate change.

“Any attempt to undermine programs designed to fight climate change is a step backward,” Knapp said. “Scientific consensus compels us to act now to reduce harmful carbon pollution to protect public health now and in the future.”

The office's climate projections show Philly is likely to experience a drastic increase in heat waves, heavy precipitation events and flooding throughout the next century.

Meanwhile, Philly has undertaken significant efforts to curb the city's carbon emissions. Greenworks, Philly's sustainability plan established in 2009 under Mayor Michael Nutter and continued by Kenney, is committed to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Emissions have dropped by 17 percent since 2010, according to the city.