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article imageTrump presidency means billions of tons of CO2 could be released

By Business Insider     Nov 10, 2016 in Environment
There are plenty of numbers that differentiate President-elect Donald Trump from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. There's 270, the number of electoral votes it took for Trump to be declared the winner of presidential election.
There's about 206,000, the number by which Clinton led the popular vote on the evening of November 9.
There's also 3.4 billion, the number of additional tons of carbon dioxide that emerging technology research firm Lux Research expects the U.S. to emit after two terms of a Trump presidency, compared to a theoretical two-term Clinton administration.
That's a disconcerting amount of CO2, as meteorologist Eric Holthaus said on Twitter after the election.
Granted, we don't know that a Trump administration will follow up on every climate-related policy that was mentioned during the campaign. But analysts from Lux, an independent research agency, say that if Trump follows through on cancelling Obama's Clean Power Plan and on backing out of the Paris agreement, we can expect some drastic changes.
"As independent analysts, we don't endorse candidates, but the data and analysis clearly show that energy policy and the resulting emissions will go in very different directions under Clinton and Trump," Yuan-Sheng Yu, a Lux Research analyst, said in a press release.
Already, there are indications that Trump plans to nominate controversial climate skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his transition plans for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Still, as Andrew Revkin writes over at The New York Times, much of what affects global climate at this point is out of the hands of individual politicians — market trends towards cleaner energy will continue, and at some point, devastating air quality and "other fundamental forces will continue to drive polluted China and smog-choked India to move away from unfettered coal combustion as a path to progress."
But there's a lot of work to be done for anyone who thinks a potential 3.4 billion tons of additional CO2 in the atmosphere from the US is too much.
This article was originally published on Business Insider. Copyright 2016.
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