The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Missouri
Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.
Between 2017 and 2019, Missouri experienced nine severe storms, three flooding events, and one drought. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.
Impacts of climate change
- In December 2015, winter storm Goliath brought 9 to 10 inches of rain to St. Louis. Goliath was named the deadliest storm of the 2015-16 season and killed 52 people in total, including 12 people in Missouri.
- Heat waves are expected to quadruple in Missouri, from 15 days to 60 days per year by 2050.
- 220,000 Missouri residents live in areas at an elevated risk of inland flooding.
- Twenty percent of Missouri’s population currently live in areas at an elevated risk of wildfires. By 2050, the number of days of high wildfire potential in the state is expected to double from less than 10 to more than 20 days per year.
- The Midwest will be particularly hard-hit by climate change on both extremes, both with warmer, wetter conditions causing increased storms and flooding and unexpected cold events. Missouri is one of the states with the highest number of billion-dollar extreme weather events occurring in the past three years.
- Missouri currently averages 15 days per year when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will increase to nearly 60 days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 170,000 people in Missouri who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
- By 2100, Missouri’s summer temperatures will increase by 3 degrees Fahrenheit, resembling current temperatures in Pharr, Texas.
- From 1980 to 1989, Missouri saw an average of 100 days per year ideal for mosquitoes. Since 2006, this number has grown to 131 days per year, increasing the threat of mosquito-related viruses.
Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies
- In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Missouri residents $571 million annually.
- The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because Missouri’s economy relies heavily on its agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
- Agriculture: With 8 million acres of farmland across the state, Missouri boasts an $88 billion agriculture industry, and their top export partners include the European Union, Mexico, and China.
- Tourism: In 2019, tourism generated $17.7 billion and supported more than 304,000 jobs.
- Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Missouri generates 133,000 direct jobs and more than $14.9 billion in consumer spending.
- Mercury emissions in Missouri decreased by nearly 75 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.
- In 2019, the Trump administration released a series of proposed changes loosening regulations of coal-powered plants and the disposal of coal ash, which can threaten drinking water quality. These deregulations are dangerous for Missouri, where 32 coal ash ponds produce 68 million tons of coal ash annually.
To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.