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Trump on Earth

News & Politics Podcasts

Tracking the latest environment-related shenanigans from Trump & his allies.

Tracking the latest environment-related shenanigans from Trump & his allies.


United States


Tracking the latest environment-related shenanigans from Trump & his allies.






Series Finale

When he first ran for President, Donald Trump was called the “chaos candidate”. And to bitter end, that has been borne out. But another kind of radical change has happened over the last four years, often out of the headlines. So, for our last episode, we take stock of the past four years.


"Sound science is not leading the decisions made by this nation."

There have been a number of changes in how the EPA, under President Trump, uses science. It has come with much criticism, including from former EPA officials. On this episode, we hear from a veteran EPA scientist on what drove him to leave the Trump Administration. Chris Zarba worked at the EPA for close to four decades. He was an official in the administrator's office of the agency and also directed the Agency’s Science Advisory Board Staff Office.


Trump’s Last Act: Drilling in the Arctic Refuge

The outgoing president has a few orders of business he’d like to take care of before January 20. Among them is a controversial plan to drill for oil in the country’s largest stretch of untouched wilderness. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is 20 million acres of mountains, tundra and coast lands. Underneath it, there are billions of barrels of oil. Similar plans have sparked fights for decades, so why the Trump administration push to drill there now? Our guest for this episode is Tegan...


What does Biden's win mean for the environment and the fight to rein in climate change?

President-Elect Biden ran as a moderate Democrat, but he also campaigned on an aggressive climate platform. How much of that agenda he can pursue could rest on who controls the US Senate, pending results of two runoff elections in Georgia. We unpack what's coming next with Jody Freeman, law professor and director of the Environmental and Energy Law Program at Harvard Law School. Before that she worked in the Obama White House as counselor for climate and energy where she was the architect...


How the Environment is Playing in Swing States

On this episode, we're looking at what role climate change and other environmental issues could play in deciding the election. We check in with reporters in three major battleground states--Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida--to find out. Our guests are Alex Harris, a climate reporter with the Miami Herald; Lester Graham, a reporter with the Environment Report at Michigan Radio; and Susan Phillips who covers energy for WHYY and StateImpact Pennsylvania.


Will 2020 be the Year of the Climate Voter?

As Election Day nears, a majority of registered voters in the United States say climate change will be an important issue in making their choice for president. That’s according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted over the summer. And it’s a sharp contrast to the 2016 race when only 2% of likely voters listed climate or the environment as their top priority. But a surprising number of people who say they care about climate change and the environment don’t actually cast ballots. That’s...


Trump vs the Courts

Many of President Trump's environmental actions have faced court challenges. So how’s the administration doing? First we hear from Ann Carlson, professor of environmental law at UCLA about a climate change case just added to the Supreme Court docket. And then we take a look at how the Trump administration has been faring in court with Michael Gerrard, professor of environmental and climate law at Columbia University.


Losing RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a feminist icon in the U.S., as one of the first women in many of the roles and rooms she found herself in over her life. Her death and the subsequent race by the Trump administration to confirm her successor will remake American law for decades, most notably by putting Roe versus Wade in jeopardy. But it could also remake environmental law. On this episode, we look ahead at what the loss of RBG will mean for the environment. But first, we take a look back at her...


Labor Unions and Environmentalists Join Forces to Defeat Trump

President Trump calls himself a "great environmentalist” while at the same time gutting environmental protections and questioning the science around climate change. He often explains his actions by claiming regulations are job killers that hurt the economy. But even with the rollbacks, traditional blue-collar jobs like those in the coal industry are being lost. And some labor unions actually see efforts to stem climate change as their future. Enter the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of...


Why the Trump Administration is Rolling Back a Climate Rule that Big Oil Actually Likes

Trump's EPA recently announced that it was rolling back yet another big Obama-era climate rule. This time, the target was a rule on oil and gas emissions of methane, the powerful greenhouse gas that is the main component of natural gas. The Obama administration created the rule in 2016 and some big oil companies actually wanted the administration to keep it. But the Trump administration did away with it anyway. Why? Our guest is Tim Puko. He covers energy policy at the Wall Street Journal...


@ Interior: Victories and Defeats for Oil Industry

It took 40 years but this week the Trump administration announced that it would open up 1.5 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. The administration argues the decision will lead to jobs and generate billions of dollars in revenue, but opponents warn that opening the area to drilling will have a devastating effect on the region - which is a critical habitat for polar bears, migrating caribou and other wildlife. On today’s episode, we talk with Darryl Fears who...


2020: Our last chance to save the planet?

We are now three months away from an election that could determine A LOT, including what our future climate looks like. On this episode, we discuss the 2020 election through the prism of climate change. We talk with Marianne Levelle, a reporter with Inside Climate News, about Joe Biden's evolving climate policy and why he's gotten more aggressive on the issue. And we talk with Time magazine correspondent Justin Worland who recently wrote a cover story for the magazine titled "2020 is our...


Major defeats for pipelines…and Trump.

Federal courts recently handed down major decisions against big pipelines that would transmit oil and gas around the country. And other big pipelines are facing legal challenges that may put them out of business. What do these decisions mean for America's continued oil and gas buildout and the Trump administration's campaign for energy dominance? Our first guest is Ellen Gilmer, who tracks environmental policy & courtroom drama for Bloomberg News. Then, to talk about what the Dakota Access...


Trump issues final rules to weaken NEPA

This week, President Trump announced he was issuing final rules to weaken the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The new rules will limit public review of federal infrastructure projects to speed up the permitting of highways, power plants & pipelines. Since its passage in 1970, NEPA has been used to ensure that federal agencies consider environmental effects of major projects. When the proposed rules first came out, we spoke about the impact of these rollbacks with Sharon Buccino,...


Living on Earth: Bill McKibben on the Divestment Movement

Harvard is one of the latest in a series of wealthy institutions around the world announcing steps towards pulling their investments in the fossil fuel industry. But Harvard’s announcement has been called too little, too late. Bill McKibben, author of “The End of Nature” and cofounder of, reflects on what the divestment movement has achieved so far and how it all began. Also, why racial justice goes hand in hand with the fight for a cleaner environment, and the big takeaways that the...


Tracking Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks

Harvard Law School is keeping tabs on the regulatory changes of the Trump Administration. What’s the lasting legacy of the nearly 100 environmental rollbacks?


Can the environmental movement address American racism?

There’s a growing understanding that racial disparities in the U.S. extend beyond policing, to public health and the environment. Communities of color are more likely to breathe polluted air, live near polluting industries and be exposed to toxic chemicals. And now COVID-19 is disproportionately threatening these same communities Our guest is environmental justice leader Mustafa Santiago Ali. From 1993-2017, Ali served as Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community...


Can Joe Biden Convince Climate Voters He Is One of Them?

Joe Biden ran considerably to the right of his top rivals on climate policy. But now that he is the nominee, the Biden campaign is trying to convince climate activists that his campaign is taking the issue seriously.


Trump's Executive Order to Keep Meat Plants Open Could Be Risky. Here's Why.

President Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open despite workers getting sick with the coronavirus. On this episode, Jacob Bunge, agriculture reporter for the Wall Street Journal, talks about the meat industry, worker safety, farmers' fears, euthanizing pigs and other issues with the food supply chain.


If it Ain't Broke What Are We Fixing, Exactly?

Last week the EPA announced a major change to a landmark regulation that has reduced toxic air pollution like mercury from coal-fired power plants. The vast majority of these plants have already complied with the rule. So why did the EPA roll it back now?