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Trump wages battle against regulations, not climate change

WASHINGTON — While President Donald Trump’s beliefs about global warming remain something of a mystery, his actions make one thing clear: He doesn’t consider it a problem for the federal government to solve.

Trump’s recent decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal was just his latest rapid-fire move to weaken or dismantle federal initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, which scientists say are heating the planet to levels that could have disastrous consequences.

Trump is waging war against efforts to curb U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. He’s done that through executive orders targeting climate change programs and regulations, massive proposed spending cuts and key appointments such as Scott Pruitt as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency.

To what degree Trump will succeed remains to be seen. Despite the fanfare of his Paris announcement, including a pledge that his administration will halt all work on it, formally removing the U.S. from the accord could take more than three years. Rescinding the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s signature measure to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants, likely would require three years. Trump’s budget, which would slash funding for climate research and assistance to cities preparing for weather-related calamities, needs approval from Congress, where resistance is strong.

Still, the sharp change in course is being felt in ways large and small, down to the scrubbing of climate change information from federal agency websites. Environmentalists are predictably outraged. Even some Republicans are taken aback.