The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Oklahoma
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, Oklahoma experienced nine severe storms, three severe floods, and one intense drought. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.
Impacts of climate change
- Oklahoma witnessed more than 1,000 wildfires in 2018. More than 4 million residents, or 38 percent of the state’s population, live in areas with an elevated risk of wildfires.
- The most extreme precipitation events have increased in every region of the contiguous United States since the 1950s. This is concerning for Oklahoma residents because 210,000 people in the state live in areas with an elevated risk of inland flooding.
- By 2050, the severity of widespread summer drought in Oklahoma is projected to nearly double.
- Oklahoma currently averages 50 days per year when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will nearly double to 90 days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 120,000 people in Oklahoma who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
- Projections indicate that Oklahoma’s climate will resemble that of current-day Laredo, Texas, by 2100.
- By 2100, summers in Oklahoma City will be 5 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2014 summer temperatures.
- Oklahoma’s mosquito breeding season has increased from an average of 103 days per year from 1980 to 1989 to 110 days per year from 2006 to the present, presenting an increased threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
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 Oklahoma residents more than $380 million
- 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 Oklahoma’s economy relies heavily on its tourism and outdoor recreation industries, both of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
- Tourism: In 2018, the Oklahoma visitor industry accounted for more than 103,000 jobs and generated an economic impact of $1 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenues.
- Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Arkansas generates 97,000 direct jobs and more than $10.6 billion in consumer spending.
- Agriculture: Oklahoma’s agriculture industry sold $7.5 billion of agricultural products in 2017 and supported more than 78,100 farms, the fourth-highest in the country.
- Mercury emissions in Oklahoma decreased by more than 92 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions 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 Oklahoma, where 5 million tons of coal ash are generated 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.