These reversals provoke considerable concern about the implications for climate change. They also reflect a serious defect in our winner-take-all system of government. When one party seizes control of the executive power, it can drive policies in one direction. And when the other party regains power, it can reverse course and take policy in the other direction. This high volatility in policy serves the country and the world poorly.
It makes it hard for people and businesses to undertake long-term planning. It adds more fuel to the flames of political polarization. And it increases the likelihood that suboptimal policies will be implemented.
We would be much better off if each side always had a say in the development of public policy. Neither side has a monopoly on the truth, and both sides have their blindspots. Pursuing a path down the middle always works better over the long run.