Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Comment on Trump Executive Actions on Climate Change, March 28, 2017

| Mar. 28, 2017

President Trump's executive actions of today, which attempt to undermine progress made under President Obama to combat the menace of human-caused climate change, are yet another example of the new administration's propensity to let blind ideology "trump" clear-eyed science and good sense.

It is clear beyond reasonable scientific doubt that: (1) climate change is occurring globally at a pace and in a pattern not explained by natural influences; (2) the pace and pattern are explained by human emissions from fossil-fuel burning and land-use change; (3) the ongoing changes in climate are already causing serious harm to human health, property, and livelihoods from increases in heatwaves, wildfires, pest outbreaks, torrential downpours, and the most powerful storms, as well as sea-level rise and shifts in the abundance and distribution of species (those we need, those we love, and those we hate); and (4) future harm in these categories will be far less if the world continues to act collectively to reduce the offending emissions than if it does not.

To ignore these realities, as the Trump administration is now doing, not only will slow global progress on preventing a truly catastrophic degree of climate change; it also will unilaterally surrender the leadership position the United States has enjoyed, under President Obama, in the global effort to meet this common challenge; and, by abandoning the U.S. Government's efforts to support development and implementation of the most cost-effective remedies, it will ultimately sacrifice this country's global economic competitiveness as well.

John P. Holdren
Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University


Senior Advisor to the President
The Woods Hole Research Center

Statements and views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Harvard University, the Harvard Kennedy School, or the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Holdren, John P. “Comment on Trump Executive Actions on Climate Change, March 28, 2017.” Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. March 28, 2017

The Author

John P. Holdren