Today, President Trump, with the stroke of his executive pen, attempted to roll back U.S. progress towards addressing climate change. Under attack is President Obama’s historic Clean Power Plan which set about to regulate carbon emissions from power plants as well as other important steps taken by the Obama administration to address climate change.
At the heart of his actions is a long-held belief on the part of the new President and his top cabinet picks that climate change is a hoax, despite clear and overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. Solving the climate crisis should be the top priority of our president, but instead Trump’s priority appears to be protecting the interests of the fossil fuel industry, even as people of Appalachian coal country are already transitioning to the green economy.
As noted in a recent report from the Department of Energy, jobs in the renewable energy industry, led by solar, are on the rise. In fact, solar creates more electricity jobs than oil, gas, coal and nuclear combined. If we are serious about creating jobs in this country, we should be leaders in developing new, clean energy technology and training a diverse workforce in pursuit of these well-paying jobs.
We should not fall back on dying, dirty industries that threaten the health of our children and families and will send us back to the dark ages.
Despite its flaws, the Clean Power Plan was the most important step forward the U.S. had made towards addressing carbon emissions. In his actions today, the president is not only harming our environment, but he is directly impacting the most at-risk communities in the US and around the globe. Rural communities across the South are already facing a glut of resource extractive industries that put both their health, economic stability, and quality of life at risk.
Communities are now being told that it is their burden to face the escalating impacts of a changing climate, from drought to sea level rise to catastrophic flooding and wildfires.
Climate change is not just an environmental issue that will impact us all at some point in the future. It is an issue affecting the health and well-being of the most vulnerable in our society right now, including that fact that it is disproportionately impacting communities of color.
At the end of the day, the truth will prevail. Trump might get away with fooling some of his supporters that climate change is a hoax or that we have to compromise our environment to save jobs, but in the end, he isn’t fooling the atmosphere or changing the fact that many investors and companies are already creating US jobs while turning a profit from clean energy.
We are no stranger here at Dogwood to government attempts to defy climate science. For the past three years, we, along with our partners and leading scientists have been working hard to expose the truth that burning trees in place of coal to generate “biomass” electricity will actually increase carbon emissions, thereby accelerating climate change. This fact stands in direct contrast to attempts by the US Senate as well as outdated laws in the European Union that designate burning trees as climate friendly.
While you can pass a law that contradicts science, you can’t fool the atmosphere.
Just last week, we published a report detailing how carbon emissions from logging are a major driver of climate change. Just because the government doesn’t account for or acknowledge these emissions, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. The sooner we embrace the truth the better off we will all be.
At the end of the day, no matter what Trump says or does, climate change is real and he can’t make it go away with a tweet or the stroke of a pen.
Around the world a critical mass of government leaders, scientists and advocacy groups working hard everyday to address what has become the defining issue of our time. Chances are that this last-ditch attempt by those with a vested financial interest in dirty energy might stall progress in a few areas. But progress at the global, state and local level will continue, as will business innovation focused on clean energy solutions and forest protection.
Today we stand arm in arm with our frontline communities, renewable energy entrepreneurs, national climate leaders, and scientists. Together, we will resist the false profit over people narrative that has kept wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few and dominated decision-making for too long. Ongoing public pressure on this administration, Congress and at the state and local levels are as important as they have ever been. Citizen action matters. Trump is going to find that just like the immigration ban and health care, undoing climate progress will be met with fierce resistance and won’t be easy.