At noon on Friday, the moment Donald Trump was sworn in, the page on the Obama administration’s White House website suddenly turned into a broken link. “The requested page ‘/energy/climate-change’ could not be found,” the Google search said.
Replacing the details about the global crisis and ways to do something about it was “An America First Energy Plan,” where the revamped website made no mention of climate change. It said, in part: “For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan….Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America…..We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.”
Nothing mentioned about these facts: The American solar energy industry added more jobs in 2015 than the oil and gas extraction and pipeline industries combined. Last year, 99% of all new electricity generated added in the first quarter emanated from renewable energy sources, 64 per cent from solar. In some thirty countries, solar and wind energy is now the same price or even cheaper than fossil fuels.
Those were the findings issued in late December by the World Economic Forum, whose head of development investing Michael Drexler said that solar is “not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”
All told, some 2.5 million Americans are now employed in the clean energy sector in each of our 50 states. The Obama administration issued about 50 mininum energy efficiency standards that now mean the average American household is saving $500 on its annual utility bills. That will be help in reducing carbon emissions by almost 2.5 million metric tons by 2030.
A far cry from the alternative-fact universe of the Trump energy plan, which states that lifting those “burdensome regulations” on our fossil fuel extraction “will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.”
A far cry, too, from an action taken later on Friday to freeze new or pending federal regulations – including four almost-finished energy efficiency standards on portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers and freezers, and commercial boilers. Long-term, these would save consumers billions in energy costs by requiring more efficiency from the manufacturers.
We need to let our elected senators know how we feel about this, and keep up the pressure to stop the new administration’s nominees for cabinet posts. As Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, the Montana Congressman who would oversee some 500 million acres of America’s public lands and who received an”F” from the National Parks Action Fund for his voting record on bills that would impact these. As Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, who has denied climate change and as Texas governor received over $13 million in campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies. As Secretary of Agriculture, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who wrote in 2014 that “liberals have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science, because their arguments have become so ridiculous and so obviously disconnected from reality.” Not to mention Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil for Secretary of State, and Scott Pruitt for head of the EPA, as covered in previous posts.
Prepare to hit the streets as well for mobilizations sponsored by Bill McKibben’s organization: https://350.org. It’s never been so urgent.