Trump attack on clean energy rallies opposition

Intro

President Trump has signed his Energy Independence Executive Order suspending more than half a dozen of Obama’s climate measures, to a chorus of voices warning that the main focus of his order – undoing the Clean Power Plan – faces major challenges over the coming years. The order has drawn condemnation from scientists and politicians across the world, with European leaders in particular rallying behind the clean energy transition. At home, a diverse array of US voices, from sports representatives to state and city coalitions, have vowed to fight the order  every step of the way, and continue their work towards a clean energy economy. The renewables train has left the station, creating more new jobs than the dirty energy industry. Coal jobs will not come back, no matter what Trump does – something the coal industry itself has told him. Trump’s determination to kill all climate rules comes from a combination of climate denial and fossil fuel cronyism in the White House and the EPA, which appears to have based its arguments on a debunked report funded by the coal industry.

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Key Points

  • President Trump’s “Energy Independence Executive Order” to roll back Obama’s climate action legacy is going to face problems at every turn, from legal challenges to the inexorable rise of renewable energy across the U.S., where States have introduced hundreds of clean energy bills this year.  Poll after poll shows public support for climate action, and a new analysis shows nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber all jobs in coal and gas by five to one. California Governor Jerry Brown vowed to continue to fight climate change calling Trump’s plans a “colossal mistake”, environmentalists labelled them as a threat to health, jobs and the economy, and the European Union’s Climate Commissioner pledged that Europe – would take the lead on climate action. Trump has not pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, but the question now is how he plans to meet US obligations to cut carbon pollution.
  • Even coal companies admit Trump’s plans won’t bring back coal jobs, noting that they have not been lost due to regulation, but rather to competition from renewable energy and gas, and technological changes. One utility has already stated that it will continue to cut emissions and close coal plants, regardless of what the White House does. A total of 248 coal plants have closed since 2010 and this executive order does not change the real economy, it will not bring dead and dying plants back to life. Meanwhile the rest of the world is set to take advantage of the US falling behind in the race to create prosperous, carbon free economies, particularly China who are leading the clean energy revolution, with India closing in on the top spots.
  • Climate science denial – the ultimate fake news – has been well and truly adopted by the White House and a US Administration stacked with fossil fuel lobbyists. The links between Trump staffers and the fossil fuel industry are well documented, but the administration continues to rub shoulders with deniers in public. Just last week the head of Trump’s transition team, Myron Ebell was a key speaker at the Heartland Institute’s climate denial conference, complaining that the US was not going to leave the Paris Agreement. An event attended by funders Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah who have respectively supported both Trump’s Presidential and Heartland’s denial campaigns.

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KEY QUOTES

  • “We strongly oppose President Trump’s executive order that seeks to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. Addressing our country’s largest source of carbon pollution—existing fossil fuel-burning power plants—is both required under the Clean Air Act and essential to mitigating climate change’s growing harm to our public health, environments, and economies. We won’t hesitate to protect those we serve—including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the critical importance of confronting the very real threat of climate change.” – Joint statement from 16 Attorneys-General.
  • “No matter what any elected official says, rescinding common sense climate change regulations and popular public health protections will not revive the coal industry or put thousands of miners back to work. Market forces, including consumer preferences and technological advancement, are the primary reason for the surge in cleaner forms of energy.” – Former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.
  • “Whoever tries to change into reverse gear is only going to harm themselves when it comes to international competitiveness” – German Environment Minister, Barbara Hendricks
  • “The continued leadership of the EU, China and many other major economies is now more important than ever. When it comes to climate and the global clean energy transition, there cannot be vacuums, there can only be drivers, and we are committed to driving this agenda forward” – European Commissioner, Arias Cañete
  • “The action by the US to undo important domestic carbon reduction regulation in the face of the enormous momentum building globally toward a low carbon economy risks putting the country on a back-foot at a time when most Americans are looking to lead.” – Former UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres
  • “This all-out attack on our climate and communities will be met with historic resistance. Trump is once again propping up the reckless fossil fuel industry while slashing any protections that put people before profits. As concern about global warming reaches a three-decade record high, there’s overwhelming support from the American people for climate action.” 350.org Executive Director, May Boeve
  • “The Trump administration is failing a test of leadership to protect Americans’ health, the environment and the economy. It’s been shown time and again that sustained economic growth and national security are intertwined with good environmental stewardship.” – World Resources Institute President & CEO, Dr. Andrew Steer
  • “By taking this backward step, the US risks a stalled transition to a low-carbon economy, thus giving China and other countries the upper hand as they embrace renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies that are proliferating all across the globe.” – President of Ceres, Mindy Lubber
  • “These actions are an assault on American values and they endanger the health, safety and prosperity of every American. Trump is deliberately destroying programs that create jobs and safeguards that protect our air and water, all for the sake of allowing corporate polluters to profit at our expense.” NexGen Climate President, Tom Steyer
  • “We have the economics on our side, we have the market on our side, we have the public on our side, and we have the law on our side – that this is endangering public health and welfare. They can’t change any of those things.” – Sierra Club, Liz Perera
  • “Hampering the US’ ability to deliver on its international climate commitments will impact the world’s climate trajectory, but it will not define its outcome.” – WWF’s global Climate & Energy Practice Leader, Manuel-Pulgar Vidal

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