Donald Trump’s Plan For Energy Independence, and What it Means for Climate Change

We are all aboard for a new and potentially challenging journey for America and the planet. With Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, it seems like all that can be agreed upon is that things are going to be very different for the next four years.

After the White House’s first busy months, we are all waiting with bated breath to see his policy changes and their results. Will Trump “make America great again,” or will his changes come with dire consequences, intended or not? As an NYC-based real estate entrepreneur myself, it will certainly be interesting to see how things unfold.

One of the big issues in America—though not necessarily for the Trump administration—is climate change, and for New York, this could ultimately be the difference between dry, sturdy coastal developments and severe flood damage. For others, like Trump, energy independence takes priority for its ability to provide jobs and reduce dependence on foreign resources.

It’s no surprise, then, that everyone from oil executives to environmentalists will have a stake in Donald Trump’s plan for energy independence. So I’ve taken it upon myself to boil down what exactly what the plan is, and what it could mean for climate change.

The Energy Plan

On March 28, Donald Trump signed an executive order that, among other things, initiated a review of the Clean Power Plan, rescinded a moratorium on coal mining on US federal lands, urged federal agencies to identify “identify all regulations, all rules, all policies … that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy independence,” and rescinded at least six Obama-era executive orders aimed at curbing climate change.

As new details and initiatives emerge, one thing is certain: The Trump Administration is committed to unleashing the potential of American energy. For Trump, American energy dominance is a “strategic economic and foreign policy goal.”

Here’s what else we know at the moment about what the Trump administration aims to do:

According to the White House, better energy policies will stimulate the economy and bring vast new wealth to the people. They will ensure our national security and protect our health. Only time will tell if this goal can be achieved in reality.

What the Trump administration thinks about climate change

Donald Trump has stepped back from his previous assertion that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese (he claimed it was a joke), and some do think that Trump believes more about climate change than he says. Still, the Trump administration’s energy has many worried about long-term negative implications to the environment.

Perhaps most important to consider is the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as leader of the EPA. This could be taken as a sign that the administration is out of step with what mainstream science is saying about the issue.

Scott Pruitt, considered by many scientists to be a skeptic of climate change, has admitted that science tells us that the climate is changing. But he says the level to which humans are impacting that change is not clear.

As Pruitt says, “The ability to measure and pursue the degree and the extent of that impact and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.”

This doesn’t really provide a clear answer of what Pruitt—or the administration that nominated him—will do specifically. But this line of thinking is out of step with what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asserts about 2016 being the hottest year on record: human activity is to blame for the heat.  

What Donald Trump’s plan means for climate change

Since Trump has made clear he will get rid of certain regulations, it’s probably best to start by looking at what impact that will have. As his March executive order made clear, the dismantling of Obama-era policies has begun. Other climate policies Trump plans to end include:

  • Waters of the United States
  • Climate Action Plan
    • What it does: The Climate Action Plan establishes a comprehensive strategy to guide efforts for climate change mitigation. Main goals are to cut carbon dioxide emissions, prepare the US for climate change impacts, and lead international initiatives to address climate change.
    • Why the Trump Administration will repeal it: Again, those that don’t agree with this rule see it as overly burdensome, unnecessary, and/or making Americans poorer. To the Trump administration, repealing it can stimulate business in all sorts of sectors, from energy and agriculture to manufacturing.
    • Dangers of a repeal: Too much carbon dioxide in the air is mainly what’s driving global warming. Lifting restrictions on the emission of greenhouse gasses could lead to severe environmental consequences. The United States is the second largest contributor of heat-trapping gasses, and not making efforts to reduce CO2 emissions could greatly (and negatively) impact the entire earth.

In addition to repealing these two environmental regulations, Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a comprehensive global climate deal that aims at climate change mitigation and mobilizing the world’s leading nations to find ways to solve the challenges we’ll face tomorrow. The Paris Agreement was signed by both the United States and China (the world’s greatest contributor of heat-trapping gasses), and was hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against climate change.

If Trump withdraws America from the Paris Agreement, much momentum in that fight to save the environment will be lost. Since the United States is a leader in the global arena, there is also risk that other countries will follow—which would greatly hinder worldwide efforts to solve key climate change concerns of today and tomorrow.

Climate change initiatives under Donald Trump

The Trump administration is focused on lifting regulations so that the economic benefits of energy can be fully realized. Exactly how Donald Trump will address climate change hasn’t been covered extensively, but the administration does say it is committed to “protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources.”

But many don’t believe the administration is committed to protecting the environment, as we’ve only really gotten details about how deregulation will unleash the potential of American energy. If lifting restrictions remains the top focus going forward (and no substantial efforts to address climate change challenges are made), the issues we face concerning the environment will at best be put to the side and at worst be greatly exacerbated during the Trump administration.

By |2020-05-07T19:49:06+00:00June 18th, 2017|Current Events|

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Enhance Local Communities

This article was originally published on Entrepreneur.com

Your entrepreneurial venture can’t be successful in a vacuum. Whether you are a web-based company without local ties, a small business rooted in one neighborhood or a real estate company in the thick of many regions, you can take the lead on contributing to local communities in a number of ways.

Doing so will increase your visibility among potential customers and will also promote social good to enhance the community you are involved in. Investing some of your time and resources into improving the local quality of life can have a ripple effect and be a valuable part of your business mission as your company evolves.

Here are some of the most impactful ways to stay engaged with the local community and enhance the community as a whole.

1. Sponsor non-profit organizations in the community.

Whether you are affiliated with a non-profit organization through your own personal efforts as an entrepreneur, or are simply looking for new ways to give back, consider sponsoring a worthy organization as a company. You could join events, like Startups Give Back, to connect with businesses that need your company’s help.

Many local organizations are looking for company sponsors to cover the costs of major events and some administrative expenses. They will do their part to promote your generosity through their marketing efforts, which can help you get more visibility in the community. You can also promote the organization in your own marketing collateral as a major sponsor.

2. Incorporate volunteering in the company mission.

Make a passion for social good part of your company’s mission so you and your employees can give back to the community together. Whether you are organizing food drives, volunteering at a soup kitchen or building houses, volunteering can create a sense of kinship and also serve as a team-building activity.

Consider organizing group volunteer sessions with your employees and encouraging team members to share their volunteer contributions with the rest of the staff. Encouraging a spirit of volunteerism and giving back within your mission statement – and through ways you operate as a company — can be beneficial to both team members and the community at large.

3. Design a business model that gives back.

If you are in retail or any other type of product sales business, consider donating a portion of the profits of each sale automatically.

If you are in the service business, you could design a business model that gives a portion of the proceeds to a charity or other non-profit organization. The goal is to automate the donation to a non-profit so that all customers and clients are aware that a portion of their purchase ends up with a good cause.

If your business can organically incorporate community enhancement into its ethos, that’s even better. The real estate industry is a natural candidate for such efforts, as developers have hands-on experience with neighborhood development projects and can take input from community representatives.

As your business gains momentum, you should consider branching out to more than one charitable organization or community project to serve as a philanthropist. As writer Annie Pilon explains in this article, “When you give to your community, the community tends to give back to you.”

4. Contribute to the local economy.

Make a commitment to buy supplies and raw materials from local vendors and partner with local businesses for any services and other business-related purchases.

Your purchases and investments will contribute to the local economy and may prompt business owners you work with to recommend you to other contacts or customers. Establish strong relationships with these vendors and partners as you develop and build your company to develop a solid reputation.

Opening new businesses or building new properties or even green spaces, like parks, can enhance a community by drawing in foot traffic and tourism. New visitors will patronize local businesses, stimulating the economy.

5. Promote local businesses.

In addition to being an active participant of the local economy’s ecosystem, you can take the lead on promoting other local businesses through co-marketing efforts or simply through referrals.

Encourage your customers to patronize local businesses that complement your’s, and they may even do the same in kind. The goal is to create a sense of community and camaraderie among other business owners since you are all invested in selling and marketing to the same customers.

Whether you work in technology, real estate or food service, there are various ways you can connect with the local community through your entrepreneurial venture. Showing your support for non-profits and community organizations can help you build value, both within the organization as you encourage a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy, and with your customers as you show you are invested in your local community’s quality of life and future.

By |2018-10-31T18:00:26+00:00February 3rd, 2017|Philanthropy|