1 Jaw-Dropping Stat Shows How Bad A Second Trump Presidency Would Be For The Climate

A win for Donald Trump in the November presidential election could increase the United States’ planet-heating pollution by so much that the emissions would negate the last five years of global progress on deploying clean energy — twice over. 

That’s the conclusion of a new analysis from Carbon Brief

The climate science journal’s new report found that the Republican candidate’s plans to reverse the Biden administration’s energy policies would add an extra 4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to the atmosphere. The total is roughly equal to the combined annual emissions of the European Union and Japan — or the combined yearly sum of the world’s 140 lowest-emitting countries. 

Trump, now all but certain to clinch the GOP’s nomination for president, is leading in many polls against President Joe Biden, whose signature legislative achievement, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, marks the most significant climate law yet enacted in the U.S. 

Former President Donald Trump speaks at an election night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, in Palm Beach, Florida.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at an election night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, in Palm Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle via Getty Images

The so-called IRA, combined with the bipartisan infrastructure law Biden also signed in 2022, has led to a boom in clean energy jobs and factories in the country, and the firehose of federal subsidies contained in the legislation is only just now beginning to take effect. 

The surge in solar and wind installations and the uptick in proposals to build new nuclear power plants and carbon capture facilities have not come at the expense of plentiful fossil fuels. The U.S. production of oil and gas has soared to record levels in recent months, boosting profits at giants like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. Under Biden, the country has become the world’s top exporter of both gas and oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. 

Yet Trump, who ostentatiously rejected the reality of climate change, has called the IRA “the biggest tax hike in history,” and Republicans in Congress have already proposed rolling back key portions of the legislation, which passed in a party-line vote without GOP support. 

To hit the goals Biden set of slashing emissions below levels in 2005 by at least half by 2030, Carbon Brief found that he would need to enact additional policies. If Biden wins a second term, emissions are projected to fall to around 43% below 2005 levels, the analysis shows. 

But if Trump wins, U.S. emissions would slide to 28% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

Axios first reported on the Carbon Brief paper.