Barack Obama has been heralded as the 'environmental president'. He's designated millions of square miles of the US land and sea as wilderness and signed up to the Paris Agreement.

But he is reported to have also compromised and let important policies slide. Many of his grander plans for the environment are now looking extremely vulnerable. Here are the moments when his stated commitment to the environment failed to deliver.

Far from a clean record on fossil fuels

Obama has supported an 'all of the above' approach to energy, including coal, oil and natural gas. A government agency invested $34bn (£27.6bn) to promote fossil-fuel projects abroad, the Guardian reported.

Even aside from scandals such as this, the consumption of oil in the US has been projected to flatline, while American reliance on natural gas is set to continue its upward trend to 2040.

Coal, at least, appears to be steadily on its way out, according to a recent government report. The largest coal provider in the world, Peabody Coal, based in the US, recently went bankrupt.

Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA told NationSwell: "It's clear that President Obama is serious about cementing his climate legacy, but until he takes steps to ensure the vast majority of fossil fuels remain in the ground, his legacy is as vulnerable as an Arctic ice sheet."

Barack Obama
Obama does not have a squeaky clean record on the environment Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images

U-turns on ozone

In 2015 Obama lowered the threshold for acceptable ozone levels from 75 parts per billion, set under George W. Bush, to 70ppb. Green groups and medical scientists have said that this is above the levels that are safe for people to breathe.

In a 2014 analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended the limit be set between 60 and 70ppb. Environmental groups were rooting for the lower end of the spectrum. They were disappointed when Obama appeared to cave to the industries that emit ozone-generating chemicals, which fought for minimal or no reduction.

This compromise came after an earlier proposal for a limit below 70ppb that was scrapped in 2011.

LA smog
LA is regularly blanketed in toxic smog containing ozone, which causes a significant public health risk Steven Buss / Flickr

His plan for 25% renewable energy by 2025 flopped

Obama promised in his 2008 presidential campaign that a quarter of electricity in the US would come from renewable sources by 2025.

"Will create a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard that will require 25% of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2025, which has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs on its own," Obama said, in his plan for the economy.

The cap-and-trade bill passed in the House of Representatives, but never made it to the Senate.

Japan is still whaling illegally long after Obama promised to put a stop to it

Obama has spoken out against illegal whaling, and vowed to lead international efforts to put a stop to illegal whaling.

But he hasn't got very far. In a 2015-16 Antarctic season Japan killed hundreds of minke whales, many of them pregnant, allegedly for research purposes.

Japan has been fairly consistently flouting the 1986 Whaling Moratorium for 30 years now. It claims that the whaling it does now is for scientific research, but the International Court of Justice has ruled the claims bogus.

Japan whaling
Japanese researchers check a dead minke whale at Ayukawa port in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture Reuters

Landmarks of his environmental legacy are on very shaky ground

Obama's plan to reduce the carbon emissions from power plants across the US, the Clean Power Plan, is looking extremely vulnerable, shortly before Donald Trump's inauguration. The president-elect has also threatened to pull the US out of the international Paris Agreement to put the brakes on climate change.

Some conservative commentators have said he may go as far as to pull out of the UN's broader climate work through the UNFCCC.

Shortly after Trump's election, climate sceptic economist Nicolas Loris, who focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues at The Heritage Foundation in the US told IBTimes UK: "I think [Trump] is going to take a serious look at the costs and benefits of a lot of the regulations that have been promulgated by the Obama administration.

"It very may well consider eliminating the greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants, shutting the door on the Clean Power Plan," said Loris.

Through political necessity, many of Obama's larger plans for the environment were brought through on executive order, making them easy targets for his successor administration to remove. It's yet to be determined how big a disappointment this will turn out to be for environmentalists.