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

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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 and Puerto Rico.

Between 2017 and 2019, Puerto Rico experienced three tropical cyclones. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

Temperature

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • 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 Puerto Rico’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and tourism, both of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Agriculture: Agriculture in Puerto Rico accounts for only 3 percent of the labor force and less than 1 percent of the gross domestic product, but Hurricane Maria is still estimated to have damaged $2 billions’ worth of agriculture.
    • Tourism: In 2017, the tourism industry in Puerto Rico accounted for a total economic impact of $7.8 billion and supported a total of 83,000 jobs.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Puerto Rico decreased by nearly 11 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.

Toxics

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.