Donald Trump's Environmental Policies Will Cause 'Permanent, Irreversible Damage,' Says Michael E. Mann

In the face of growing concerns about climate change, CNN reports that Donald Trump's rollbacks of global warming regulations are causing unease among those worried about the future of the planet. Dr. Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, is one such person. He claims that Trump's environmental legacy will be felt for years to come — regardless of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

"He is locking in permanent, irreversible damage to our environment through his irresponsible environmental policies, including his efforts to block progress on climate change," he said. "Once we go beyond key tipping points — the melting of the major ice sheets — there is no going back."

Per The Guardian, Trump skipped a climate meeting at the G7 meeting, highlighting what appears to be a lack of priority for things like the protection of biodiversity and Amazon wildfires. However, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Trump's team was present at the meeting and claimed to have had in-depth conversations with Trump about the Amazon fires and the importance of combating them.

Despite criticisms of his approach to climate — or lack thereof — Trump insisted that he is an "environmentalist" at a news conferenced that closed the annual G-& meeting. He made the comments as he touted his administration's support of fossil fuels, which climate advocates point to as a source of carbon dioxide that pose a danger to Earth's climate.

"I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth," he said, per Politico.

"The wealth is under its feet. I've made that wealth come alive," he added as he boasted about the U.S.'s top position in oil exports and his administration's oil drilling initiative.

Despite the pressure, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) refused to hold a climate change debate for 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, and the topic has received just 35 minutes of airtime across the first two rounds of debates.

As Vox reports, CNN's climate change town hall is set for tonight at 5 p.m. Eastern and will include Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg. Each candidate will receive 40 minutes of speaking time to describe their approach to tackling climate change

Per Scientific American, each candidate will receive their own segment and take questions from CNN moderators as well as the live town-hall audience, which will be composed of pre-selected Democrats, independents, and stakeholders.