Friday, October 21, 2016

The Climate Implications of Dodging Trump's Fossil Fuel Powered Energy Bullet

Donald Trump's policy positions are about as erratic and dysfunctional as his speaking style, however, from the beginning he has consistently indicated his support for fossil fuels.

Now that it is all but certain that Donald will not be the 45th President of the United States, lets peer into the dark dystopia of a world in which Trump would have been the chief architect of America's energy policy.  The following is a brief summary of the consequences of Trump's energy platform with an emphasis on what this would have meant for climate change.

Trump's position on energy the economy and the environment would have pushed us past tipping points from which we could not recover. This is not hyperbole, we are already more than 1 °C above preindustrial norms and staying within the upper threshold limit of 2 degrees Celsius will be very difficult task even with a consorted global effort. 

Trump's foreign policy ignorance is no secret, it has been noted by almost everyone who has ever participated in or reflected seriously on policy issues. If elected president Trump's stated policy positions would have created unprecedented instability and this would have inadvertently driven up oil prices. This is due largely to his belief that the US should encourage Saudi Arabia to defend itself. This would have started a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The Green Market Oracle has previously called Trump's energy policy a "fantasy". As reported by Think Progress, Trump's economic plan is a "disaster" for climate and the economy.

Trump has made his support for expanding fossil fuel production clear. In fact, along with immigration, fossil fuels are the bedrock of Trump's campaign. He sees coal as America's energy source for the next 1000 years. He has pledged to put miners back to work, although he neglected to mention where he was going to find markets for this new coal production.

While Trump may support the oil industry, they do not support him. Very early in the campaign, the Koch brothers called Trump "unelectable." Then in a move that smacked of desperation, the Trump campaign attempted to curry favor with the industry by naming oil industry friend Mike Pence as Trump's vice presidential running mate. However, the move did not pay off.

Trump is personally invested in the fossil fuel industry, according to a Greenpeace investigation this includes the highly controversial DAPL pipeline project. 

Trump has also been characteristically bombastic about tearing up anything to do with climate action. Trump has indicated that he would effectively kill climate action including the Paris Climate Agreement. He also said he would eradicate regulations designed to keep America's air, water and ground safe.

A federal election is a binary choice and for anyone interested in clean energy, Hilary Clinton remains our last best hope.  We face considerable uncertainty and the distinct possibility that we will not do enough to stop global warming, and slow sea level rise. However, a Trump presidency would guarantee a climate catastrophe, while Hilary offers a modicum of hope.

We dodged a bullet with Trump's failed campaign, and while many do not realize it, his policies would have been an unparalleled disaster.

Any sane person who has even a passing understanding of climate change must concede that the energy policy of a Trump administration would have augured something roughly equivalent to the end-times.

Climate Change and the US Presidential Election of 2016
Trump Takes his First Beating with More to Come
Trump Could Win and We All Could Lose

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