Why Is Trump Suddenly Talking About the Environment?


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Note: after this episode, we will be on hiatus for a few weeks while Stephen Lacey goes on paternity leave. We’ll be back soon!

On July 8, Donald Trump stood in the East Room of the White House and delivered a speech on his “environmental leadership.” What could he possibly talk about?

Onlookers called the speech “Orwellian.” The Trump Administration has tried to pull America out of a global climate agreement, sent officials to try to sell coal at the latest UN climate summit, forced climate scientists out of the government, and rolled back 83 environmental rules.

So why is Trump talking about the environment now? What does it tell us about how voters feel about the issue going into the election? We’ll look at the possible political reasons for the timing of the speech.

Then, we’ll look at New York’s big climate law. How does the state plan to cut emissions 85 percent by 2050? And how will ambitious policy in California and New York influence other states?

Finally, we tackle the seasonal debate over air conditioning. As the world gets hotter, AC use is exploding around the world. How do we cool the world without baking the climate?

Recommended reading:

  • New York Times: Trump Saw Opportunity in Speech on Environment. Critics Saw a ‘“1984” Moment.’
  • Vox: New York Just Passed the Most Ambitious Climate Target in the Country
  • New York Times: Do Americans Need Air-Conditioning?
  • Bloomberg: Air Conditioning Is the World's Next Big Threat

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