Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Trump Administration is Hurting US Renewables and Imperiling the Planet

Renewable energy now accounts for around 17 percent of US electricity generation and where it not for the Trump administration that number would be higher. Trump has slowed the growth of clean power and hurt the renewable energy industry. At least 20,000 solar jobs have been lost in the first two years of the Trump presidency. After being ravaged by tariffs earlier in Trump's tenure, the US solar energy industry now has to contend with another round of tariffs on imported solar components. This is at odds fact based policy. Scientists tell us that to keep temperatures from rising above the upper threshold limit we will need to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.  Instead of supporting clean power the Trump administration is propping up dirty energy.

While nations like the UK are abandoning coal the Trump administration is protecting the US coal industry from market realities. This administration has moved heaven and earth for the fossil fuel industry. They cleared the way for more oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters and they killed federal support for energy efficiency.

Trump and most Republican legislators are woefully ignorant about renewable energy. This may be part of a calculated disinformation campaign or it may reflect their genuine stupidity, either way it obscures the fact that fossil fuels can be replaced by renewable energy.

Republican talking points disparaging renewables are inaccurate. The most commonly mentioned criticism involves intermittency. However, energy storage technologies mean that we can have access to clean renewable energy even when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.

Despite municipal and state action, the involvement of the federal government is crucial. Mike O’Boyle, the co-author of the report for Energy Innovation, recognizes the importance of all levels of governments to scale renewables. "In order to get an affordable, clean energy system we need both federal and state actors involved," The Guardian quotes O’Boyle as saying.

Trump's support for fossil fuels and rejection of renewable energy translates to more greenhouse gases. His decision to kill climate regulations and initiatives like Obama's Clean Power Plan mean that US energy based emissions are not expected to decline until at least 2050.

The current administration's refusal to embrace science based energy policy increases the likelihood of more severe climate impacts.

If we are to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis we will need to quickly transition away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. However, this will not happen in the US for at least a year and a half.

Related
Trump Hates Renewables and Loves Fossil Fuels
Trump Undermines Renewables to Help Fossil Fuels and Take Revenge
The Trump Administration's Policy of Energy Inefficiency
Trump's Energy Agenda is as Insane as his Presidency 
Clean Energy is Essential to Climate Action

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