The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Alabama

People work to clear fallen trees and debris after a tornado in Beauregard, Alabama, March 2019.

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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, Alabama experienced nine severe storms, three tropical cyclones, one flood, and one freeze. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

  • By 2050, the severity of summer droughts in Alabama is expected to double.
  • Wildfires are increasing in Alabama due to the warmer, drier conditions associated with climate change. This is dangerous for the 8 million residents—or 59 percent of the state’s population—living in areas with an elevated risk of wildfire.
  • Alabama’s sea level has risen 11 inches since 1966, and forecasts project that it will have risen another 6 inches by 2032. Alabama is preparing to spend more than $24 billion on solutions for sea level rise.

Temperature

  • Alabama currently experiences 15 days of dangerous heat per year. Projections indicate that by 2050, this number may increase nearly fivefold to roughly 70 such days per year. This endangers the lives of the more than 160,000 people in Alabama who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • 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 Alabama residents nearly $400 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 Alabama’s economy relies heavily on its agriculture, forestry, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Alabama generates 135,000 direct jobs and $14 billion in consumer spending.
    • Agriculture and forestry: The agriculture and forestry industry directly contributed more than $34 billion to the state’s economy and employed 312,000 people, or 14 percent of the state’s total workforce.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Alabama decreased by more than 93 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.

Water quality

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.