SUBSCRIBE NOW Just 99¢ for your first month



Other View: Biden administration must move more quickly to undo Trump's climate mischief

Energy saving bulbs
Energy-saving light bulbs
piotr_malczyk/Getty Images/iStockphoto
We are part of The Trust Project.

As life returned somewhat to normal last year after the pandemic shutdowns of 2020, America’s briefly reduced greenhouse gas emissions have started climbing toward normal as well, according to a new report. The data is unsurprising, given 2020’s unprecedented drop in emissions due to the pandemic. But it’s a reminder that the Biden administration’s goal of halving 2005 emission levels by 2030 looks increasingly elusive.

One factor that would help is for the administration to more quickly reverse the environmental mischief the Trump administration committed — but as The Washington Post recently reported, that effort is mired in bureaucracy. President Joe Biden, having correctly identified climate change as a looming emergency, must start treating it that way.

A recent analysis by the Rhodium Group concluded that the historic 10% plunge in emissions that the nation saw in 2020 due to shuttered factories, grounded planes and parked cars was followed last year by a 6% increase as people began resuming routines that require fossil fuel. Those emissions levels are expected to continue edging up this year to pre-pandemic levels.

The findings seem to dash any hope that America might ultimately emerge as a more emissions-conscious nation, if only because of the dramatic yearlong demonstration of how much of a difference human behavior makes in the quest to reduce emissions that cause climate change. No such transformation appears to have happened. That makes it more important than ever that Biden use the other tools he has available — including environmental regulations requiring more efficient electrical products like lightbulbs and major appliances.

In the case of lightbulbs, federal rules had originally called for old-fashioned incandescent bulbs to be phased out of the market by the end of 2020 and be replaced with more efficient and affordable versions that would significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But the Trump administration didn’t follow through on that change in part because, as then-President Donald Trump memorably complained, he believed the more efficient bulbs made him “look orange.” His administration similarly dragged its feet or outright reversed other regulations that would have required higher efficiency standards for appliances like clothes dryers and dishwashers.


These backwards steps weren’t primarily demands from industry but rather were driven by Trump himself, as part of his obsessive need to undo the Obama administration’s legacy wherever he could, and to pander to a Republican base that doesn’t take climate change seriously and liked seeing that attitude reflected in policy.

Biden’s urgent rhetoric on climate change hasn’t been matched by urgency in his Energy Department, which has turned back some of Trump’s environmental vandalism but has so far failed to finish the job of getting the lightbulb standards and other regulations back on track. These are standards that can have a meaningful impact on climate change and don’t need congressional approval. What is the administration waiting for?

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

What to read next
America didn't invent soccer, but this nation has taken global leadership in making the world's game truly equitable.
They don’t try to communicate, and they don’t respond when we try to communicate with them. They speed away if we get too close. They move faster than anything known in this world and violate the laws of physics. At least 11 times, they’ve nearly collided with American military aircraft. And we have no idea what UFOs, now known as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), are.
Its leadership should swallow its pride while there is still time and acquire what vaccination and therapeutic supplies it can, from wherever it can.
Since hunting was permitted on private land in the city two decades ago, about 150 people have been certified, while complaints about urban bow hunters have been almost nonexistent.