“What we see is an executive order that says, ‘we don’t care that much about the American public’s health. We don’t care that much about the impacts of climate. What we really care about is the fossil fuel industry’s bottom line,” IPS associate fellow Janet Redman told the Real News Network after Donald Trump signed the Energy Independence Order.
The order targeted a number of Obama era climate change regulations, including the Clean Power Plan, under the guise of saving coal jobs.
But the reality is this order won’t bring back coal jobs for a couple of reasons, Redman explained. First, natural gas and coal are in competition, and natural gas is a lot cheaper than coal. Second, even if the coal sector were to increase, we’d see more mechanization – “more jobs for robots and machines,” Redman said.
“We don’t have to pit jobs against the climate, or economic growth against protecting the environment,” Redman said. “What’s critical to understand is right now there are actually more people working in the renewable energy sector than the fossil fuel sector. So Trump’s executive order is actually incredibly retrograde putting a place where really good jobs can happen at risk.”
Trump has also taken a hammer to the Climate Action Plan, Redman said. “That’s not only where Obama laid out the ground rules for the Clean Power Plan, but it’s also where he laid out the rules for making sure that communities have greater resilience” in the face of the local impacts of climate change, like heavy storms and sea level rise, she said. It also includes provisions to spend on energy efficiency and help bring families’ electricity bills down.
“It’s clear that Trump doesn’t care about the American public as much as he cares about the fossil fuel industry’s bottom line,” Redman said.