University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

UVM Experts on Trump’s 100-Day Plan

President-Elect Donald Trump's plans to scrap carbon emissions targets could hurt efforts to stop global warming, UVM experts say. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

University of Vermont scholars are available for media commentary on President-elect Donald Trump’s plans, from boosting the ailing coal sector, to scrapping global climate commitments.


Prof. Gillian Galford
Gund Institute at UVM/Rubenstein School
Phone: 802.656.2920
Expert topics: Environment, climate, science, policy

On Trump’s promise to withdraw from the UN Paris Agreement:

“The U.S. releases the most fossil fuel emissions after China – and twice more than India,” says Galford. “Scrapping our commitment to reduce emissions would hurt efforts to slow climate change – and exacerbate its impacts on humanity. Globally, we had been on track for a moderate warming future. Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement may push the world into a more intense climate change.”

Trump has also promised to roll back Obama’s executive actions on climate change. “That includes new power plant carbon pollution standards, greater fuel economy standards, cleaner gasoline and vehicle standards, tighter ozone pollution standards, new wind and solar investments, increased energy efficiency standards, preparedness efforts for climate change, and more," Galford says.

Joe Ament, Graduate Fellow
Gund Institute at UVM/Rubenstein School
Expert topics: Energy, economics, monetary policy

On Trump’s pledge to support the U.S. coal industry:

“Trump’s team has consistently characterized the economy and the environment as a zero-sum game,” says Ament. “However, the U.S. would be much better served – economically and environmentally – by shutting coal down. Estimates put the savings at $400 billion each year in health- and pollution-related costs – more than the cost of shutting down the industry. This money would be better off invested in renewable energy and retraining coal workers for these jobs.”

On Trump’s plan to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office:

“The fact is, speculative U.S. hedge funds, as well as American demand for cheap Chinese imports, go a long way in affecting the exchange rates Trump takes issue with,” Ament says.

Prof. Christopher Koliba
Gund Institute at UVM/Community Development and Applied Economics Dept.
Phone: 802.498.8172
Expert topics: Water policy, water infrastructure, governance, public administration

On Trump and water quality:

“Trump states that he’s a ‘huge believer in clean water,’ but has called for the reduction of funding for the EPA, which would leave fewer resources to enforce existing clean water regulations,” says Koliba. “Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) programs could also be under threat under a Trump administration, which would impact many states, including Vermont. Trump has said that he will eliminate new Clean Water Act rules on ‘navigable waterways’ to prioritize economic investment decisions.”


Prof. John Burke
UVM Dept. of Political Science
Phone: 802.656.3166
Expert topics: U.S. politics, presidential history, public administration 

On Trump’s ability to fulfill his promises:

“In terms of major promises, Trump is going to have to make a good faith effort on some of them, and I think building the wall will be one of them,” says Burke. “But it's important that he only focus on a few things. Presidents who come with a laundry list of things they expect Congress to do – and Carter is a good example of this – end up unsuccessful because Congress isn’t going to do all of these things.

“I don’t think his struggles to pass legislation will be due to the fact the party is split, but rather how our system of government works,” Burke adds. It’s not a business corporation where the CEO gets to dictate things. I mean, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will listen, but they don’t have to do a damn thing. They are not accountable to him. He’s going to have to find a way to accommodate members of Congress. He’d probably say, ‘well, I’m a good negotiator,’ but so are they. They aren’t fools. You just don’t simply tell members of your own party what they should do.” 

Economics, Gender and Race

Prof. Stephanie Seguino
UVM Dept. of Economics
Phone: 802.656.0187
Expert topics: Economics, women, race 

“Many of those who supported Trump are white Americans, both low and middle-income, whose economic fortunes have declined with globalization and the growth of inequality,” says Seguino. “Trump was successful in scapegoating women, people of color, and immigrants as a cause of the economic malaise of those who had previously done well.”

“Our greatest challenge is that Trump’s economic proposals, such as cutting the corporate income tax, are likely to result in budget cuts to needed social programs,” Seguino adds. “This will worsen both inequality and economic insecurity, and further fuel racial, gender and ethnic animosity, as it has done in Europe. Economic insecurity is the fuel that feeds this fire, and our efforts need to focus on addressing this problem.”

Refugees and Immigration

Prof. Pablo Bose
UVM Dept. of Geography
Phone: 802.865.5983
Expert topics: Migration, diaspora, urban and cultural geography 

On Trump’s rhetoric on refugees and immigrants versus the reality:

“For the nearly two decades I have been studying refugee resettlement all across the country, I have been deeply impressed by the significant contributions made by refugees to the economic, social and political fabric of the many communities where they have been placed,” says Bose. “Far from being incomplete, the screening of prospective refugees is extremely exhaustive, and far from being a burden, refugees are a tremendous boon to the towns and cities that they now call home. Our attitudes and policies as a government and as a nation should remember these realities as we move forward.”

Defeating ISIS

Prof. Peter Henne
UVM Dept. of Political Science
Phone: 802.656.4217
Expert topics: Middle East, global religious politics 

On Trump’s statement that his generals will have a plan for “soundly defeating ISIS” within 30 days of his taking office:

“While that would be great, we’re unlikely to see ISIS defeated with a 30-day plan by the Trump Administration,” says Henne. “ISIS is currently under serious military pressure from Iraqi forces, but it would still be capable of mobilizing supporters in other countries to attack the United States if it was routed in the Iraq and Syria. Additionally, any plan to defeat ISIS within 30 days would probably involve intense military action that could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in areas under ISIS control.”

On Trump’s plan to partner with Russia to defeat ISIS:

“Trump’s support for what Russia is doing in Syria is concerning,” says Henne. “There are reasons to believe Russia is directing most of its firepower towards non-ISIS rebels, rather than solely trying to defeat ISIS. And Russia has shown a willingness to cause civilian casualties as a result of its air strikes. Cooperation with Russia in Syria will likely lead to a strengthened Assad and an even worse humanitarian crisis.”

The Election

Prof. Eric Zencey
Gund Institute at UVM/Dept. of Political Science
Phone: 802.477.2277
Expert topics: Politics, economics, environment, history 

On Trump’s ‘disruptive’ campaign style:

“Trump’s campaign drew down our nation’s social capital – the mutual trust, shared reality, common values, and publicly held knowledge that let us live and work together,” says Zencey. “The campaign stirred up mistrust, created alternative realities in which science is just opinion, and acted so there’s such little common ground on which reasonable policy can be based – and surprisingly rode this unprecedented approach to victory.”