News flash: Donald Trump has proven again that he would be a disastrous President who would let our planet fry. Today, he added further insult to existing injury, launching a jaw-dropping energy speech that defies reality.
April 2016 set a record as the hottest April on record since temperatures were first recorded. Unfortunately, this was not a fluke; This has become the “new normal.” April was the 12th consecutive month that broke monthly high-temperature records. In other words, the last twelve months have been the hottest months ever recorded for each respective month.
The Democratic candidates that have run for Party’s nomination have all been on the same page in terms of accepting the scientific consensus that the atmosphere is warming up and that human activity is the biggest cause. But the Republican candidates, a pool that has been whittled down to include only Donald Trump, have consistently declared that climate change is a hoax.
The New York Times explains Donald Trump’s previous comments about climate and energy as follows:
Mr. Trump has said he would undo President Obama’s climate change policies, particularly a set of Environmental Protection Agency regulations to curb planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants. Of the E.P.A. itself, he has vowed “to get rid of it in almost every form.”
He has said that as president, he would renegotiate the Paris climate accord, a global agreement committing nearly every nation to lowering greenhouse gas pollution. And, while demand for American coal has declined, he declared while campaigning in West Virginia, “We’re going to get those miners back to work.”
Not only could Trump prove to be a climate disaster because of his refusal to accept science, but his complete lack of political experience means that he is completely reliant on his advisors to develop his policy for him.
This is troubling for the United States because Donald Trump has already appointed a climate change denier, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer from North Dakota, as his top energy advisor.
This week we finally got a peek at what Trump’s energy policy would be if he makes it to the White House when he gave a speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in North Dakota outlining his energy platform. As usual, his policies sounded more like a buzzword salad than actual proposals — key phrases like “energy independence” and “jobs” were thrown out constantly in his attempts to pander to the public.
Here is what we learned this week about what a Donald Trump presidency would look like:
- Increased coal production, as Trump promised to put out-of-work coal miners back to work, blaming the decline on the industry on President Obama rather than a global decrease in demand.
- The Keystone XL Pipeline will become a reality.
- Oil drilling and fracking will be given the go-ahead to increase activities both onshore and off.
- Remove any and all safety regulations that are in place to protect sensitive environmental areas and human health, and possibly dismantling the entire Environmental Protection Agency.
- Repeal bans on selling U.S. oil to overseas countries.
- Increase offshore energy exploitation.
In short, his proposals read like the talking points of every other fossil fuel-funded politician that has been in this position long before Donald Trump. More drilling, more fracking, fewer safety regulations, and less regard for the environment.
While it would be difficult for a president to make these things a reality, Trump would likely have the benefit of a Republican-controlled House and Senate that would be more than happy to check these items off his to-do list. After all, every proposal that he has made are proposals that Republican politicians have proposed in the last few years.
But his speech didn’t just focus on the need to become “energy independent” and increase fossil fuel production. He also took a few shots at the clean energy industry as well, calling renewable energies like wind and solar “too expensive” and specifically targeting windmills for killing eagles.
He promised “complete American energy independence…and lots of jobs, lots of jobs.” Without laying out any specifics of how this will work, it is clear that he’s reverting to the same method as other Republican politicians by simply throwing out a few tested keywords.
He repeated the lies that the Keystone XL Pipeline would create “42,000 permanent U.S. jobs,” in spite of the State Department claiming that the number of permanent jobs would be fewer than 40. He attacked President Obama for allegedly “killing” the coal industry by creating unnecessary regulations that have closed down coal-fired power plants.
The next president will have to act on climate change because every day of further delay makes it that much more expensive and dangerous to address. And now that we have the Paris Climate Agreement with other countries stepping up to address climate change, the United States cannot afford to put a candidate in office that wants to not only dismantle that agreement, but who doesn’t believe that climate change is even a reality.
Partisan political gridlock and industry influence have held up meaningful climate action for too long in the United States, and another four years of inaction is not a viable option. Every record-breaking temperature month that passes is time that cannot be made up, and further proof that we are completely out of time to continue without addressing climate issues with the full support of the government.
Reactions to Trump's energy speech from the environmental community were scathing:
NRDC Action Fund Executive Director Kevin Curtis said:
“Donald Trump today proposed disastrous policies that would ruin the environment. As president, he would put decades of environmental progress at risk and make it impossible to grow the clean energy economy we need to avoid the worst effects of global climate change.”
Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard said:
“No deal, Donald. These proposed policies are nothing but out-of-touch love letters to the oil and gas industry. America needs a president who takes the climate crisis seriously, not someone who can only do what big business tells him to do. If voters wanted more of the same from the GOP, they would have voted for Jeb Bush.
“Trump has been trying to run as an outsider, but his energy policies show he’s just another fossil fuel shill. He’s offering stale ideas that could have come straight out of Dick Cheney’s diary. Americans know climate change is real. They want serious policies to tackle the problem, protect their future, and keep fossil fuels in the ground. Trump continues to reveal himself to be a shallow hoax on the American people.
“Trump can spend the next four months pandering to the fossil fuel industry, but we'll continue the real work of building a more sustainable and just future.”
Image via Headline Politics.