Unicorns, Flying Pigs and Clean Coal

I’m ever a fan of political cartoons and one of my favorite cartoonists is David Horsey. He paints a crystal clear picture of Trump’s ongoing war on the environment.

By Horseey
LA Times Article – David Horsey

Trump’s “doubling down” on fossil fuel resources and promises of energy jobs means money is siphoned away from  building infrastructure to support newer, cleaner and renewable energy sources. He has moved the US from being a forward-thinking nation and an international leader in advanced technologies and has set the clock back some 100 years — in so many areas.

While it is true that today’s coal producing plants are cleaner than those of the past, it is still a giant step backward for our planet. . . coal is not clean. So what is all the buzz about “clean” coal? Most plans reference CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) as a preferred method of clean coal manufacturing. It has to do with reducing the carbons released into the air during processing. CCS is in its infancy, which means it is not a viable solution for our very immediate issues. I have to surmise that Trump intends to push the burning of fossil fuels regardless of the fact that doing so cleanly is not currently possible on a large scale.

cleancoal
Unable to source the cartoonist.

Nor is coal even potentially the “big employer” for whom Trump is the self-proclaimed savior. That honor goes to solar and wind technologies. Yet, he continues to push his proposition to prop up a failing industry rather than diverting those funds to help propel solar, wind and other renewable energy into the stratosphere? (Pun intended.)  According to a 2017 report from the Department of Energy; 671,776 people are employed in power creation fields centered around renewable energy resources, with 373,807 of those working in solar energy. The renewable energy industries are enjoying explosive growth in spite of Trump’s efforts. This compares to only 160,119 employed in the coal industry.

Trump Claims Coal Industry gains 45,000 New Jobs Fuzzy dice

Once gain the fact checkers chalk one up on the alternative facts side of the board. In July, 2017, Trump claimed that through his efforts 45,000 jobs had been restored to the coal industry, when in fact, as of August, 2017, only 600 coal jobs had been created since he took office. Now that is some fuzzy math.

Trump Takes Aim at Solar Energy

January, 2018; Trump places a 30% tariff foreign solar panels, potentially costing the solar energy industry 23,000 jobs. As if touting the benefits of coal were not enough, Trump seems to be engaging in battle tactics against solar energy. Remember, solar energy boasts the highest number of employees in the energy industry. I can’t imagine what goes on in the mind of a man that on the one hand says he wants to grow American jobs and then goes after one of the largest employers in a segment of the economy. Only Trump can manage to attack the planet and a thriving pro-Earth industry in one fell swoop. Nice swing, Mr. Trump.

Speaking of Swings

In his drive to inundate the planet with a plethora of carbon pollutants he has taken deadly shots at the following policies, with more in his sites:

  • Stream Protection Rule
  • Paris Climate Agreement
  • Anti-dumping rule for coal companies
  • Offshore drilling ban in the Atlantic and Arctic
  • Northern Bering Sea climate resilience plan
  • Royalty regulations for oil, gas and coal
  • Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews
  • Green Climate Fund contributions
  • Endangered species listings
  • Hunting ban on wolves and grizzly bears in Alaska
  • Protections for whales and sea turtles
  • National parks climate order
  • Environmental mitigation for federal projects
  • Calculation for “social cost” of carbon
  • Planning rule for public lands
  • Mine cleanup rule
  • Sewage treatment pollution regulations
  • Ban on use of lead ammunition on federal lands
  • Restrictions on fishing
  • Fracking regulations on public lands
  • Migratory bird protections
  • Department of Interior climate policies
  • Rule regulating industrial polluters
  • Safety standards for “high hazard” trains

That’s just a short list, more are complete or on the way. Check out this New York Times article for more information.

The Upside

While the leader of the free world — wildly assuming we even still hold that title — presses on, all is not lost. States and industry are thumbing their collective noses and moving forward with clean energy as well as taking their own paths as regards many other Trump-questionable efforts in social programs, immigration and human rights.

There may yet be hope for us to survive the cruelty of the Trump administration.

Just sayin’, Kylie Sabra

 

 

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