Trump, capitalism and climate change Trump, capitalism and climate change. Photo: Wikimedia, Mark Dixon

Trump’s attacks on environmental protection prove once again that he’s only on the side of the capitalists, never the working class

President Trump’s first hundred days in office are proving true to form for the man who famously dismissed climate change as a Chinese hoax. He has signed an executive order to weaken the Clean Power Plan, proposed a budget slashing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s funding by a third, and appointed as EPA chief Scott Truitt, who has had $250,000 in donations from the oil and gas industry. Truitt is on the record as saying that the cause of climate change is ‘far from settled.’ 


Along with this is a clear anti-science agenda. Trump’s advisors have complained that climate science is ‘politicised’ and ‘politically correct’, but Trump’s administration seems to want to reduce scientists to political servants. One of their first measures was to require EPA scientists to get approval from political appointees before publishing anything. At the same time, data held on US government sites about climate change effects, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions has begun quietly disappearing.  


Trump wants everyone to believe that all this is for the benefit of ordinary people. Rather than wasting Americans’ money on politically-correct environmental causes, he’ll bring back jobs in coal. Except that even the coal industry doesn’t think the new jobs promise is credible. The truth is that the only people who will benefit are corporations who won’t have to pay for cleaning up their acts. The people who will suffer are those in working-class towns like Flint, Michigan, where the water has been undrinkable because of lead and other pollutants since 2014. 

Building a genuinely green infrastructure would create millions of jobs, but that would mean public spending, not private profit. That’s unthinkable under Trump. It’s one more demonstration that he’s only on the side of the capitalists, never the working class. 

Elaine Graham-Leigh

Elaine has been an environmental campaigner for more than a decade. She speaks and writes widely on issues of climate change and social justice, and is a member of Counterfire. She is the author of A Diet of Austerity: Class, Food and Climate Change and Marx and the Climate CrisisHer sci-fi novel, The Caduca, is out now from The Conrad Press.