It is easy to demand an industry that doesn’t pay your mortgage and feed your family stop whatever it is doing for the sake of the environment. I work in the media, so it makes no difference to me whether the coal industry survives or not.
If my business negatively impacted the environment in the same way coal does, I’m sure I could come up with a clever argument as to why this wasn’t actually the case, and make a reasonable case against the government regulating me or shutting me down. If the consequences weren’t so genuinely terrifying, I could probably go to sleep without thinking about it too much.
The truth is however, the coal industry is pumping toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, and is directly contributing to the rapid heating of the planet. This is not a debate, but a fact. If we don’t stop it, we not only put our own lives at serious risk, but the health of all of earth’s bio systems. So while I might be a condescending liberal elite advocating the elimination of thousands of blue collar jobs, the non-alternative fact remains I am still right. The coal industry has to go, and no matter how painful it is to the communities that rely on it, a responsible government has no other option than to massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. This is of course what the Obama administration did with the Clean Power Plan. Obama knew that the industry would not welcome regulation, but without it, the planet would be in grave danger, so he passed difficult legislation that would turn many Americans against him. This is what leadership is about — making hard decisions for the good of all.
The Trump administration has of course decided to do the exact opposite. They are going for the easiest option that gets them short term political popularity at the expense of the natural environment. Reported the Huffington Post:
President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order on Tuesday rolling back Obama-era policies to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Sunday.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Pruitt said the order will be called the “Energy Independence Executive Order.” It is expected to undo former President Barack Obama’s signature program to deal with climate change, the Clean Power Plan, which limited greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
“We have made tremendous progress on our environment. We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment,” Pruitt said. “The executive order will address the past administration’s effort to kill jobs throughout the country through the Clean Power Plan.”
The executive order will likely take other measures to protect the coal industry, such as instructing the Department of the Interior to lift a temporary ban on coal leasing on federal lands that the Obama administration put in place last year. The order is also expected to scrap federal guidances instructing agencies to factor climate change into policymaking, and to disband a team tasked with calculating the “social cost of carbon.”
This is nothing short of a declaration of war against our environment, and a war against America’s allies that have pledged to take dramatic action to reverse global warming. Trump’s plan to gut the regulation would negatively impact America’s efforts to meet the commitments made at Paris Agreement — a global climate deal that Obama spent months preparing for to make sure that Republicans couldn’t wreck it. Unfortunately, no one predicted the rise of a neo-fascist with the intellectual capabilities of a 6th grader and a psychopathic attitude towards the natural environment.
To reverse sensible climate change regulation after the third the hottest year on record in a row isn’t just stupid, it is clinically insane. The Trump administration’s attitude towards the gravest threat facing mankind is indicative of just how far removed it is from reality, and a clear indicator that the American public must declare its own war on them before it really is too late.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.