President Donald Trump spoke about America’s environmental leadership in the East Room of the White House. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

President Donald Trump invited several Heritage Foundation leaders to the White House this week for a major policy address on America’s environmental leadership. Trump spoke about his administration’s accomplishments and the environmental concerns facing the United States.

Trump cast aside the idea that government “fix-all” solutions proposed by the Left, such as the Green New Deal, would help the environment. Those proposals would massively expand Washington’s control over Americans’ lives. Trump stated that big government policies and heavy-handed regulation from the federal government would kill the economy without making a dent in global temperatures.

These are positions that have long been promoted by Heritage Foundation policy experts, including Nick Loris, deputy director of Heritage’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow in environmental policy, who attended the event.

“Economic freedom and higher levels of prosperity equips people with the necessary resources to protect the environment,” said Loris. “Countries with greater economic freedoms have cleaner environments and greater environmental sustainability.”

Also invited to Trump’s speech were Heritage’s Tommy Binion, vice president of government relations; Mike Howell, senior advisor to executive branch relations; and Bridgett Wagner, vice president of policy promotion.

Read more about Heritage’s presence at the president’s environmental speech here

In your opinion, what is the state of environmental issues, and where should conservatives focus beyond stopping big government intervention?

Comments (45)

James Kelly - July 12, 2019

I recently emailed this:

​New Assessment of Greenpeace

Dr. Patrick Moore
President of Greenpeace Canada, nine years​
A Director of Greenpeace International, seven years​

I was one of the key leaders shaping policy and direction for 15 years while Greenpeace became the world’s largest environmental activist organization.​

But I watched with sadness as Greenpeace evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas. This trend forced me to leave in 1986.​

The current highly politicized leadership of Greenpeace has decided to edit out of existence my leadership role in building the environmental organization on their website. Google has conspired to help them make sure no one knows of me.​

They would simply “disappear” me, as George Orwell aptly put it, than confront the truths I am telling about their corruption of true environmentalism.​

Greenpeace wants to silence me, because I reject the radical politics they and many other environmental groups now endorse. More ominously, Greenpeace is part of an extreme network of radicalized environmental groups who act to silence anyone questioning their corruption of science and the ugly realities of their political agenda.​

I cherish the bounty, beauty, and wonder of our planet. I believe all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards.​

But that stewardship requires that science, not political agendas, drive our public policy. Today’s environmental movement prefers scare tactics and disinformation. They have abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism.​

I am about science, and truth, and rational climate and environmental policy.​

Sincerely, Dr. Patrick Moore​

Rick Neault - July 12, 2019

I think there needs to be great pressure on countries like India, China, Russia and Indonesia to push them to stop polluting the rivers and ocean. They need to clean up the plastic garbage that litters the seas. I would also like the U.S. to consider returning to the use of glass returnable bottles and things other than plastics. Maybe the U.S. could also put a large investment into developing technology to clean the rubbish that is floating around the oceans.

William Coates - July 12, 2019

All the media are still pushing the fantasy of man-caused climate change; we urgently need a solid scientific and historical review of the most current data from all possible unbiased sources. Dr. Will Happer has been mentioned in that context. Check with Dr. William D. Balgord too.
In view of the rising electrical demand, power plant decommissioning should be halted. All government subsidies and tax credits for wind and solar generation should be ended in view of their poor cost-effectiveness, relatively short lifespan, and maintenance costs.

Richard Lee - July 12, 2019

Cost benefit analysis is the best approach to making the climate change alarmists quantify how their proposed policies will make a difference. Rather than simply wringing their hands over worst case scenarios concluding “we HAVE to do SOMETHING,” make them put a price tag on what they project to be a quantifiable US contribution to what they also project is a global problem. The USA is reported to be one of the “cleaner” countries compared to the more populated polluters like China and India! So if we can reduce emissions by 5% at a cost of $XX Trillion, what is the projected impact on Earth as a whole. I trust the American people to understand numbers.

joe coffey - July 12, 2019

Lost all sense of cost , utility when discussing environmental issues. Where is the real science as opposed an idea or belief about the damage or the cost and ability to intervene with a real chance of doing something that doesn’t make matters worse in environmental issues.

Lee Marion - July 12, 2019

During all the previous global warming events, even the one that allowed palm trees to survive at the Artic Circle, what was the man made plan that brought those temps down and caused the ice ages, any of them, I dont care, I just want to know what plan succeeded???

SCOTT HENDRY - July 12, 2019

The climate runs in cycles, I you look back in history it is evident. The Politicians spouting off about the way they are going to fix the environment and their doom and gloom BS is just them wanting to create a different way to tax the people more. One wild fire or volcano puts out more pollution then people ever have!

Peter Warner - July 12, 2019

Common sense approaches to environmental challenges need to be the name of the game (so to speak). Clean air, clean water, and cleaner energy (i.e. clean coal) need to be the order of the day.
Keep up the great job you are doing and thanks for allowing me to comment.
Cheers from TN!

Pamela S Centers - July 12, 2019

Need to stop harping on so called climate change/global warming/whatever and actually apply real science to species and habitats. The results of the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone Park is the perfect template for fixing the damage mankind has actually done.
Invest in the cleanup of the oceans and actually make it financially beneficial for companies to use something other than plastic.
So many things could be done to improve existing recycling programs too

Marjorie Taylor - July 12, 2019

Today’s students only know what they are being taught. Their teachers don’t know the truth either. Even good teachers can only teach what is in the books they are supplied. Many are brainwashed. So we have many who teach believe what they were taught to teach. It will take a lot to change the mindset about our world ending if the government doesn’t take complete control of our lives.

Stan Lovett - July 12, 2019

I am sure we have environmental problems, but putting the Federal government in charge will result in a hugh cost to the tax payer of this country. No one trusts the government any more and so common sense solutions are the answer. States, companies, etc will do a better job of solving them.

Lara - July 12, 2019

The environment is quite capable of regulating itself having had some 4.5 billion years of experience doing just that—and any intro atmosphere/ocean course attests to that fact.

More so, in fact, there is special mention of those who insist they can control the weather systems and the environment found in most diagnostic manuals of mental disorders.

Eddie Vaughn - July 12, 2019

Laws and regulations are too complicated; not to mention excessive!
Everyone desires drinkable water and breathable air. Very simple…You mess that up, you fix it.

GREG CRAWFORD - July 12, 2019

It saddens me that true science has become so political and that people are so willing to bend the truth to achieve political points. HF needs to combat the lies and stand for the truth when it comes to the environment and global warming.

Cynthia Laurens - July 13, 2019

i appreciate the right concervative commentary of my fellow respondents and all have good and effective ideas. i believe in God’s ultimate plan for humanity and that He knows we cannot resolve effectively all these issues. there will come a time when the selfishness of mankind fueled by greedy gain will be stopped. currently, the rage of the liberal and DISOBEDIENT (yes, i said it) leftists will get us to the point of the Almighty’s end of patience and He will rectify our world. We can spin as well as implement good ideas while the liberals fight but the end result remains: we must stand for what is right, what is, good, and what is wholesome until the liberals choose to deny their ridiculous plans or bring about God’s decision it is enough. i KNOW it will be the latter. so to all my conservative Patriots, stand firm!

Tina Graybill - July 13, 2019

First of all, I applaud Dr. Patrick Moore for standing up for true environmental activism without the influence of politically motivated agendas, even though this pure environmentalism forced him to leave Greenpeace after 15 years of leadership in it. Thank you Dr. Moore for keeping alive the real meaning and movement of environmental conservation/ stewardship, actively! We REAL environmentalists. Us true environmental lovers will NOT forget you, so GO FOR IT when upcoming opportunities arise!
Also, I second Rick Neault’s urging that countries still polluting rivers & oceans with plastics and other debris (or abundantly polluting air with coal & other industrial wastes, even plutonium-based waste) should be reined in and negotiated to stop this, i.e., to transition over to the reusable bottles instead of plastics, in every country; too transition over to clean energies in every country. Would be great if it didn’t take so long for countries (with a stronger world-health-goaled United Nations) to transition over to clean energies like wind, solar, geothermal. Afterall, these renewable energies are already in the energy grids to varying degrees in parts of many countries. What is standing in the way of the world switching to as much pure renewable energies as ACTUALLY possible? Hmmm …
One more thing, I believe Federal judges should not be appointed/placed according to their views on the environment or their ability to be swayed/manipulated in their rulings on environmental or other particular issues. This obviously would not be judicial input FOR THE PEOPLE, but much rather for political promotion of presidential/ congressional selfish goals. I believe this issue-specific “judge appointment” has been recently demonstrated and should not be allowed at all. Think how just this one faulty selfish act can influence U.S. and world health in total, and appear to be definitely unconstitutional. We need Federal (also State) judges to be rational and constitutional, unbiased, or do we really have a democracy?, are we really able to care for the health of our earth and the people it supports?

MissyT - July 13, 2019

Climate change and the rest of the environment issues have been weaponized and as such it alienates people and groups. It needs to be rebranded into more of a ‘responsible activity’ and reasonable steps taken to recycle and reuse. We rarely hear that getting a new i-phone every year or such causes more waste in our environment, what are we doing with the old technology – throwing it in the garbage. Can’t we really use our phones longer than one year? This is just an example and not a criticism but there are many ways to be responsible instead of a throwaway society. Additionally I agree with other comments that the man caused climate change narrative has to be debunked and those in Congress pushing it should be revealing their ‘investments’ in green companies, making money off of this charade.

Mitch Barkett - July 13, 2019

Man’s effect on the environment is a pimple on an elephants ass. What man emits is dwarfed by mother nature. Earths climate changes are measured in thousands of years not 50 or 60 years. The zealots don’t take into account the sun’s effect on the environment either. Our country has spent billions on pollution controls and the rest of the world very little. If it is so important to the zealots then try to convince the big polluters like China, India and Russia to do like we have done. We have put our companies at a competitive disadvantage requiring them to spend billions on more controls when the rest of the world spends little.

Diane Stevens - July 13, 2019

One of the biggest problems, in my opinion, that American society has to deal with, is the false media narratives.
I have no idea as to how the Heritage Foundation can counteract such narratives. I believe continuing to put accurate facts before The President & Congress ( which Heritage does) is probably the best way to make inroads toward keeping America strong.
I pray for Heritage leaders.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Let’s not grow weary in well-doing for in due season we shall reap IF we do not loose heart.” Galatians 6:7-9

Marvin Langston - July 13, 2019

New science work is adding evidence that global climate is correlated with cloud cover changes correlated with cosmic rays… CO2 follows temperature and more CO2 is good for the planet…

Phyllis - July 13, 2019

The Green New Deal is all about Big Government control of the economy, and not about keeping our environment healthy. We are being sensible about our needs and our policies and should not accept the radical extremes being put forth so loudly.

Donald Edwards - July 13, 2019

Global warming/climate change is non-existent. There is no such phenomena.
I am grateful for Heritage’s presence “at the table.”
A phrase in your e-mail bothered me a tad; “. . . having very little impact at all on global warming” which seems to concede global warming even exists.
Perhaps I am being too picky, but the left picks up on all these “minor” things as they nibble at our rights.
Thank you for all you do. You do a great job.

Barbara Sbrogna - July 13, 2019

All due respect to all the great comments here, we will NEVER get our message out to Americans (voters!) until we use the same tactics as the left; the KISS principle!

The left uses meaningless buzz words and clever one-liners combined with rendering intelligent thought to rubble by demonizing anyone who tries to speak truth. It works, because it is a complex issue and people are afraid to admit that they simply don’t understand it. We all want people to think we’re “in the know”. Proof positive is young peoples buy-in to the absurd NGD claim the world is about to end.

New approach should be to develop our own simple but strong message that challenges them at every turn with bullet point facts disputing their scare mongering. A great PR team working with scientists can do it.

As individuals, we can push back simply by challenging the tyrants to prove their claims, debunk their paid-to-produce “scientists” by pointing out where their funding comes from, asking those who believe the narrative to explain why they believe it. It works!

Simple example: I recently began pushing back on anyone who called me a racist by telling them to prove it with examples of my “racist” behavior. They shut up because they can’t answer.

The longer we allow ourselves to be intimidated, or respond with long narratives, we will continue to lose the battle. Heritage can help by giving us simple talking points with links to more extensive data for those who want it.

Help us help you!

Al - July 13, 2019

1. Brainwashing of students starting in the elementary school .
2. The UN is the world control freak targeting everything from private property to transportation using clean air and water and Sustainability as a cover for worldwide gov’t control of our lives and national economy via international redistribution of US wealth ie tax payer taxes. The sustainability scam needs to be exposed.

Jeanne Harrington - July 13, 2019

I believe vets should see desired docs and be on Medicaid, and that all vet hospitals should be repurposed for mental health research and treatment facilities- they are already staffed! We must do something about PTSD suicides! Please research new Psychedelic-assisted PTSD treatments – possible breakthrough FDA?

Will Smith - July 13, 2019

In spite of efforts by Climate Change advocates to claim that the issue of human caused significant climate change is settled “science”, there continue to be skeptics that argue that factors other than CO2 (especially sun-based emissions) that are more important to world-wide temperatures. These skeptics, such as NASA and a recent Finnish Government science study, need to be given the opportunity to be heard in the debates.

Dee J - July 13, 2019

I am disgusted with all the regulations of clean air, water and food being taken off because Big Business wants it so and will bribe folks to do their bidding. Air and Water go West to East. We on the East Coast get all the CRAP from every other state in the US. days they warn us not to go outside if you have any breathing problems. This was proven definitely when our former governor was the director of the EPA. Then she had to LIE about the air at 9/11 being clean??? oh really. Then she quit because she couldn’t lie anymore.
How do you think all these Superfunds came to be?? no regulations. We know the explosion in the Gulf was caused by the company ignoring SAFETY reg. to cut costs. We also know it is prohibitively costly to burn coal clean. It’s has been proven.
Big Business does not want reg. and they don’t want to pay for them but the safety of their workers and the health of the American Citizens don’t matter to them. I also cherish the beauty of our nation and hope to see it preserved. I expect Safety and Security to be upheld all the time. We DO have Climate Change going on. As we have heard and seen the shortage of the fish in the ocean; they are heading for colder waters away from our shores. The ice caps in the Artic are melting. I do believe that MAN has something to do with this. What is the total population of the world today??? How will everyone have enough to eat in the future?
We know much of the food we eat today has carcinogens in them GMOs. Cancer producing chemicals. Some even have Agent Orange in them. It just amazes me how DUMB and uncaring the general public is. Gullible.

Bruce Montgomery - July 13, 2019

Term limits!!!
Congressional employment was never intended to be a career that pays outrageous compensation, outrageous lifetime retirement pensions & healthcare benefits!!!
These Government positions were intended to be Public Service. & not a means to become wealthy!
End the entire corporate & all other types of lobbyists to return our government to a government of by and for the People!!!!

Bob - July 13, 2019

The state of the environment in the US is fantastic.

Heritage needs to openly, vigorously and aggressively challenge all groups pushing Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming to defend their views in open debate.

If the best of our side faced the best of their side in open fair debate I believe we would trounce them, not just a little bit but embarrassingly so. I think the other side knows that too and will never agree to such a thing.

But that can also work to our advantage as we would plaster their cowardly refusal all over the media making it the biggest news of the day. You can’t go about it in a mealy moused way you must be assertive and in their face about it relentlessly.

Michael L. McAfee - July 13, 2019

Pressures should be placed on China and other “polluters” to clean up their acts. Recent statistics indicate we are already working effectively on pollution reduction and most of the substantial gains to be realized are in developing countries with no plan or little concern in addressing the issue. Most important, we need to support those members of the scientific community who do legitimate scientific research and hold responsible to the public trust those who have overburdened their research efforts with political ideology.

Eugene P Taylor - July 13, 2019

Educate yourself, educate others and debrief your children daily after school. AND homeschool your children if at all possible.

ROGER A DESHETLER - July 13, 2019

Ms Cole, thank you for asking for my opinion on environmental issues. I believe you folks are doing a good job on this issue and hope you continue to do so. I identify as a “Climate Skeptic” and enjoy and support your commentary on this issue. One thing I don’t see in social media commentary are discussions of Anti Pollution; Water, Land and Air as examples. I hope this lack of attention changes.

LeAnne Tillar - July 13, 2019

People are not well versed in Big Government Policies and Heavy-Handed Regulations being proposed to “help” the environment. These are generic terms and I am confused about specific policies and regulations being proposed that would actually cause havoc with our economy and the actual freedoms of our citizens. We the people need to be educated as to what the specific policies are and explanations of how and why these policies would be harmful. To say that these Big Government Policies and Heavy-Handed Regulations hurt our nation is not enough to help people understand HOW they actually harm us. Knowledge is power and the more we understand how government policies hurt our nation and understand that man is too small to be able to cause any kind of climate change, the easier it will be for us to explain it to others.

Only the sun can really affect heating or cooling of our earth, and scientific studies bear this out. Check out Sunspot, in Cloudcroft, NM.

Arthur Kennedy - July 14, 2019

Education is the key, but with the bias of social media that might be difficult to get our message out. Could there be another avenue besides the existing social media to get the word out? Sure wish I knew how.

Jean Witte - July 14, 2019

I am sick and tired of hearing the liberals going hysterical over ‘climate change’! For Pete’s sake, grow a brain and think for yourselves and you will see just how stupid you actually are when trying to rearrange what God is doing naturally. This change in the climate is done in repeated cycles as it has been for a few thousand years, and will continue to do so. Why not try to help improve the well being of our American citizens??

Tim Thomasma - July 14, 2019

Discussion about the environment far too often gets reduced to an argument whether man-made global warming is real. But there are more issues related to the environment and energy that we should speak to very strongly with shared public policy / business / volunteer cross-sector proposals. Like reforestation, cleaning plastic waste out of the oceans, restoring wildlife habitats. Things everyone can do now.

And we should keep researching improved methods of energy generation. Fossil fuels have been very successful, for example, providing mobility on a massive scale. But still flight and space travel remain limited by energy costs and many people still are not able to benefit from mobility on land. We need to keep researching and developing real solutions beyond fossil fuels that can give everyone safe, abundant energy resources at lower cost.

It’s real science, engineering, and focused activity across all sectors that will give us progress. Heritage can lead everyone to focus on these areas where we can make real progress and away from the endless waste of effort we see in the global warming controversies, protests and politics.

SHARON L IMEL - July 14, 2019

Gee this is a great forum. I love the caring for our world. I can add, my concern about the waste and bulk created by shipping products. Online is great, but there is too much shipping. The waste it creates is unbearable. I beg you to shop at a store when ever possible. I was talked into getting my pet food shipped to my house, but when I asked them to ship it in one container, they said it could not be done, because it comes from several places. Please do the math on this!!!!! Take the millions of products that folks order every day.Tons and tons of cardboard, plastic, steel metal, wood, Styrofoam, mounting up in our recycling facilities and going down ocean drains. Please see the waste and destruction this creates. It must be curbed. A correction would be to shop at stores in person to eliminate the shipping. Don’t fall for the easy peazy ship to temptation. Go out and pick it out in person. I know someone is making money on shipping these products to your door, but they can sell at stores instead and we can try to save our world. Let’s please create less waste.

Thomas Alford - July 14, 2019

We can.t continue spending more than we take in. Focus on Social Security and Medicare.

Lawrence Smith - July 14, 2019

The Federal Government is to large, they can screw up a one car funeral. I is our business man President Trump that given a fair chance can correct pas mistakes. Give him the means to do it!

George Gomez - July 14, 2019

I wondered if in the meeting with the President did he acknowledge that the world has a problem with “global warming” or can you give the these type of issues another category to be associated with.

James Philllips - July 14, 2019

How many Americans are educated that only 20,000 years ago, North America was an Ice Cap. Then warming slowly began (without cars or industry) and humans were able to survive. How the warming actually began is mostly speculative but that earth tilted slightly on its axis is fact. Mankind is incapable of freezing the planet and we can’t thaw Glaciers either; we can’t even accurately predict the weather. We can’t stop,alter nor control what nature brings, we can only adapt whereas the dinosaurs did not do so.

Stacey Winters - July 15, 2019

I may be cynical, but I think that even if we were to embrace all the elements of the New Green Deal – which, by the way, would catapult not just the US but by consequence also the entire world into a Neo-Medieval mess – it would possibly do little to change the earth’s temperature. I think the attention needs to be on the individual’s role in limiting his contribution to the problem, and strictly on a domestic basis (we cannot think we can control what other nations do). In the sixties there was an enormous, countrywide campaign that used all forms of media then available to inform and coerce Americans to stop smoking. I was in middle school, and it was successful in producing a generation that had a disdainful conviction against cigarettes. The same thing could be launched today for environmental concerns. An example: I live in Italy, where young American tourists have forced Italian coffee bars to equip themselves with paper and styrofoam cups to give them their Starbuck’s-style takeout coffee, contrary to local tradition. I have pointed out the waste to them, to surprised and miffed looks! Shameful and embarassing. In NYC, where my mother lived, I watched the takeout waste after lunch-hour near the UN. There has to be a push to point out what each person can do to stop this endless production of waste, with reutilization as the key, as in Germany. Starbuck’s, for one, could start turning around its methods…

George Knoll - July 15, 2019

Environmental issues have morphed into a combination of selfishness, power, money and publicity. The goal of Greenpeace has long since stopped being about mitigating harm to the environment and repairing any damage where possible to a radical political agenda. The hypocritical holdings of the gruop are evident, where is their discussion of Norway and possibly now Japan (Whaling) and Canada (Pelagic sealing on the excuse it “preserves the culture of the “First Peoples””). Greenpeace needs to be confronted at every assertion of their so-called science and policy.

Alan Priven - July 15, 2019

I think a world class summit by objective
climate change experts would help clear up misconceptions held by the public and perhaps show that the U.N. promoted info is not to be relied upon.

L. V. Francese - July 31, 2019

It seems as if out of control govt. spending is here to stay. I fear for the time when the bill comes due.

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