Just because he can

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 For the past few days at least, and as climatologist Dale Destin had predicted, the weather in Antigua & Barbuda has been more like what we have been accustomed to: hot days and warm nights.
By now, we all know that, worldwide, the gradual changes in temperatures and weather patterns, flooding, and drought, etc, are attributed to a very well known term — climate change.
Just a few ago, we were all feeling it: “the big chill”, that is, as we huddled and shivered under our blankets and wondered if we were in the northernmost parts of Canada or the United States of America.
At least, we believe that that was what it felt like for residents of the eastern community of Freetown which recorded the lowest night-time temperatures – low to mid-50s — according to information released by the Antigua & Barbuda Meteorological Services.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, climate change has caused a major global environmental problem. Global temperatures have warmed, causing ice to melt at the north and south poles, throwing off the natural cycle of seasons.
The ripple effect is rising sea levels, with the sea claiming more and more land, displacing animals, killing flora and fauna, a combination that adds a grave threat to the human race.
From the alternating effects of El Nino and La Nina (weather patterns caused by variations in ocean temperatures that affect weather around the world) we can conclude that concerns about climate change and global warming are not just limited to developed countries, but are present in our little corner of the globe.
 “Global warming is already having significant and costly effects on our communities, our health, and our climate. Unless we take immediate action to reduce global warming emissions, these impacts will continue to intensify, grow ever more costly and damaging, and increasingly affect the entire planet,” the Union of Concerned Scientists stated on its website.
We said all this to say that, as a result of actions he has taken less than a week after his inauguration, it is clear that the newly-minted US President, Donald Trump, doesn’t give a hoot about climate change, much less how the fallout would affect the inhabitants of the planet.
The world had hoped that the outlandish promises/threats he had on the campaign trail would not be delivered but little did we know that President Trump had been as serious as a heart attack about following through. For, without missing a beat after his swearing-in ceremony on January 20, the 45th President of the United States of America immediately signed a series of executive orders that eroded significant gains, to include advancing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline; building the “Mexico Wall”; and deporting illegal immigrants.
We also know his stated position on climate change, which is that there is no such thing. But although an order has not been signed yet, the world was taken aback, on Wednesday, after learning that President Trump had instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the climate change page from its website; a move designed to effectively erase former President Barack Obama’s climate change initiatives.
The most alarming aspect of taking down the page is that years of hard work contained in the links to scientific research on global warming, as well as detailed data on greenhouse emissions, would be lost forever.
It remains to be seen what effect that particular decision taken by the new US President, would have on the rest of the countries that signed on to the Paris Agreement in 2015.
For our twin island state, we can say goodbye to any anticipated funding from the US that would assist us in mitigating the effects of climate change. As that hopes dwindles, our best bet would be to try to paddle our own climate change canoe.
Solutions include expanding the use of renewable energy and transforming our energy system to one that is cleaner and less dependent on coal and other fossil fuels; increase vehicle fuel efficiency and support other solutions that reduce US oil use; place limits on the amount of carbon that polluters are allowed to emit; build a clean energy economy by investing in efficient energy technologies, industries, and approaches; and reduce tropical deforestation and its associated global warming emissions.
We must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively and efficiently, to include expansion of conservation and recycling efforts, and move away from the use of fossil fuels to more benign, inexhaustible energy sources to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of our air and water.
And, instead of indiscriminately denuding our hillsides we ought to plant more trees that will absorb the heat and pollutants.
Taking these steps cannot reverse the damage that’s already been done, but they can help to mitigate the harm to the people and the environment.
Leading up to 2009, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, a Democrat, campaigned on the motto, “Yes, we can”; and he did. However, President Trump, a Republican, seems determined to prove to the world that he’s going to mow down all the previous administration had accomplished just because he can.
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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