The much-anticipated executive order aimed at rolling back President Obama’s climate protections has arrived.

The executive order includes:

A rollback of President Obama’s directives aimed at reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations;

Gutting research aimed at improving the nation’s understanding of the national security risks associated with climate change;

A rollback of efficiency standards on a wide range of consumer products;

Allowances for new oil, gas, and coal leases on federal land;

A termination of work aimed at calculating the social cost of carbon; and

A request for judicial hold on the Clean Power Plan while the White House tasks the EPA to “revise” (i.e., dismantle) it.

Let’s get a few things straight:

These steps will do nothing to lower the price of energy, nor improve the long-range economic health of the country for the simple reason that the economic externalities associated with rolling back environmental protections will be more than enough to snuff out any hint of economic growth that might come as a result of more natural resource development.

These steps will not do anything to return coal-mining jobs to states like West Virginia and Ohio.  More deregulation will only further depress the price of natural gas, which will kill any coal-related job growth in these areas.

This executive order will do nothing to make America energy independent for the simple reason that the United States is already energy independent.  We do not, for example, import coal in the United States. Indeed, the United States has zero need for more coal. 

These steps will harm the United States’ reputation abroad, making it even more difficult to negotiate with other world leaders about opening their markets for American-made consumer products.

And, these steps will stifle innovation across a wide-array of American businesses, from construction and automobile manufacturing to consumer electronics and agriculture.

Any thought that climate change is a hoax, or that government leadership on climate stands in the way of economic growth, is not normal.  Worse, it’s exceedingly shortsighted and stupid.

Welcome to Tuesday, the 28th of March, 2017.

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