GOP’s New Climate and Energy Plan: Dig, Drill and Burn
Within the space of hours last week, Donald Trump effectively secured the presidential nomination of one of the United States’ two major political parties and unveiled an energy platform that was immediately met with a pile-on of critical derision.
“There are pools of oil industry wastewater that are deeper than Trump’s grasp of energy,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael told The Guardian. “I have never heard more contradiction in one hour than I heard in that speech.”
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Trump became the Republican nominee when a number of ex-officio delegates revealed their support for him. Shrugging off the persistent dismissal of his chances by America’s political commentariat, the New York marketer and reality TV star has climbed even with—and in some polls marginally ahead of—his leading Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.
Speaking at the 2016 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, Trump presented what he called an “America-First Energy Plan” that focused on removing environmental and climate-related restraints on coal, oil and gas producers.
“We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement,” the presumptive GOP nominee said, “and stop all payments of United States tax dollars to the UN global warming programs. This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use on our land, in our country. [Editor’s note: No, it doesn’t.] No way.”
Trump promised that within 100 days of taking office, he would “rescind” the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, and its goal of cutting carbon emissions from power generation by 32% by 2030, Power magazine reports. “Regulations that shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants and block the construction of new ones—how stupid is that?” Trump said.
He added that he would reverse President Obama’s decision and issue a permit for TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone XL tar sands/oil sands pipeline—once TransCanada agreed to share its revenue from the line with the United States.
TransCanada politely declined that offer, suggesting the U.S. government stick to “ensuring various laws and regulations are followed—and granting appropriate permits.”
Neither solar nor wind figured in the Republican’s plan. “I know a lot about solar,” Trump said. “It’s very expensive. I have gone solar on occasion, but it’s a very, very expensive thing. Wind is very expensive. I mean, without subsidy, wind doesn’t work. You need massive subsidies for wind.” [Editor’s note: No, and no.]
“Many of his proposals thus far don’t seem to appreciate the complex forces that drive the energy system,” energy economist Richard G. Newell told the Times in a relatively restrained criticism.
Numerous outlets observed that much of the candidate’s ambitious reach was likely to exceed his grasp as president: with global economic realities, um, trumping fiat in the future of coal, an absence of Oval Office authority to simply rescind Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and no diplomatic option for the United States to unilaterally cancel the Paris Climate Accord.
The Los Angeles Times summed up Trump’s energy vision as one of “warmer climate, higher seas, and worsened smog, with increased risks of serious illness among Americans forced to inhale emissions from ramped-up coal-fired power plants.”