President Barack Obama wants this to be his legacy:

Has there ever been a generation that could not breathe clean air and swim in the ocean?

Obama seems to be focused on being remembered as the environmentalist president, despite the rise of Islamic terrorism throughout the world. His focus is on implementing a climate change agreement in Paris without Congress. Obama and the left even claim that climate change causes terrorism.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "from 1990 to 2008, emissions of air toxics declined by approximately 62 percent." The trend lines show that "air toxics" are declining at a high rate. Air quality was getting cleaner before Obama took office, and had been on the decline for many years before 1990. The United States also has the cleanest water in the world, as 91 percent of U.S. public drinking water today meets federal standards, as opposed to 79 percent in 1993.

The EPA takes credit for the reduction of pollution through its regulations. In reality, it is economic growth that improves the environment more than any government regulation could.

Radio host and constitutional scholar Mark Levin writes in his bestseller Plunder and Deceit:

Lest we forget, before the Industrial Revolution, for many centuries mankind’s condition experienced little improvement. As University of California historian and economics professor Dr. Gregory Clark explains, “Life expectancy was no higher in 1800 than for hunter-gathers; thirty to thirty-five years. Stature, a measure of both the quality of diet and children’s exposure to disease, was higher in the Stone Age than in 1800.” Even for the relatively wealthy, as recently as the eighteenth century life was very difficult. Moreover, the “modest comforts” of society in 1800 “were purchased only through a life of unrelenting drudgery.”

Levin also cites a passage from his bestseller Liberty and Tyranny:

“[S]cientific and technological advances, especially since the Industrial Revolution, have hugely benefited mankind. Running water and indoor plumbing enable fresh water to be brought into the home and dirty water to be removed through a system of aqueducts, wells, dams, and sewage treatment facilities; irrigating and fertilizing land creates more stable and plentiful food supplies; harnessing natural resources such as coal, oil, and gas make possible the delivery of power to homes, hospitals, schools, and businesses and fuel for automobiles, trucks, and airplanes; networks of paved roads promote mobility, commerce, and assimilation; and the invention of medical devices and discovery of chemical substances extend and improve the quality of life.”

Economic growth has also reduced carbon emissions. As Hoover Institute fellow Terry Anderson writes, "[Professor Robert] McCormick shows that economic growth in the United States has increased carbon sequestration in many ways, including improved methods of storing waste, increased forest coverage, and greater agricultural productivity that reduces the acreage of cultivated land." Overall, McCormick's data shows that rich countries have reduced carbon emissions more than poor ones.

If Obama were serious about the environment, he would be cheering this progress and touting the ingenuity of the free market system. But he's not, and that's because his real goal is to advance the degrowth movement, which is focused on de-industrializing the economy in the name of environmentalism.

The degrowth movement defines "degrowth" this way: "The primacy of efficiency will be substituted by a focus on sufficiency, and innovation will no longer focus on technology for technology’s sake but will concentrate on new social and technical arrangements that will enable us to live convivially and frugally. Degrowth does not only challenge the centrality of GDP as an overarching policy objective but proposes a framework for transformation to a lower and sustainable level of production and consumption, a shrinking of the economic system to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems."

"That'll be a pretty good legacy."

Barack Obama, centering on clean air and water instead of fighting terrorism

Levin points out in Plunder and Deceit that Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008, "You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal . . . under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." He also said, "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted." Levin also cites John Beale, former high-ranking EPA official under the Obama administration, telling congressional investigators that he wanted to "modify the DNA of the capitalist system."

Coupling those statements with the fact that Obama's EPA has waged a war on coal, it's clear that Obama's endgame is de-industrializing the U.S. economy. That's what he means when he says that clean air and clean water is what he wants as his legacy.