EPA head Scott Pruitt’s decision has been called a handout to profit-driven polluters that sacrifices the future of the planet
JAISAL NOOR: On Tuesday, EPA head, Scott Pruitt will announce the repeal of the Obama administration’s clean power plant; guidelines that represented a major part of the administration’s effort to reign in CO2 emissions. Speaking in front of coal workers in Kentucky on Monday, Pruitt said the war on coal is over. The Trump administration has not outlined how it plans to replace the regulations. The move comes despite recovery efforts underway across Latin America and Texas and Puerto Rico from a flurry of catastrophic hurricanes that although were not caused by climate change were made worse by it, according to experts. The Trump administration’s move had been widely criticized including by Food & Water Watch who said in a statement, “By itself, the Clean Power Plan wasn’t enough to ensure a climate stability, but it was certainly a step in the right direction. Trump’s decision to scrap the plan is a shameful handout to profit-driven polluters at the expense of our immediate public health and a livable future in our planet.” In lockstep with the fossil fuel industry, Trump and Scott Pruitt are doing everything they can to turn back the clock on our energy future. Instead of ending the clean power plant, we need to strengthen it, making its goals more ambitious and the means of achieving them more robust. Faced with the Trump administration’s climate denial, a number of states like California, Hawaii, New York and Maryland have adopted or are considering adopted 100% renewable energy goals by the year 2035. The Real News has also interviewed a number of climate experts and asked them if the Obama administration’s clean power plant went far enough. BOB POLLIN: If we take climate science seriously, the Obama initiative, which was attempting to establish a 30% absolute reduction in emissions from power plants as of 2030, that was a very serious positive step. And it was one, of course, that was recognized throughout the world and was a major force in promoting a global agreement in Paris with respect to all countries taking serious steps. PAUL JAY: People like Jim Hansen from NASA have said if you’re going to start anywhere, start with coal. CHRIS WILLIAMS: And I would say that this plan just ratifies what’s already happening in the US economy. It’s neither groundbreaking nor historic because the percentage declines in emissions from the power sector are already on track to happen as a result of wider changes to do with low cost of natural gas and the retirement of old coal plants and the fact that you’re giving states with dirty energy more and more time to change, and flexibility around that question including counting nuclear power towards your clean power credits. I think illustrates that this is neither groundbreaking nor anywhere near the kind of thing, action we need to avert dangerous climate change. DAPHNE WYSHAM: Not only is it essentially just making a big deal out of something that was already in the works but at the same time we have Obama continuing with his all of the above energy strategy, which includes opening up the Arctic which is absolutely must be off-limits for drilling if we’re to avoid dangerous climate change in addition to expanding offshore oil and gas drilling around the country, and continuing to export massive quantities of coal. What we need is not, as Chris said, we don’t need more time. We need a rapid scale-up along the lines of a World War II-type mobilization towards 100% renewable energy economy and zero emissions by 2050. JAISAL NOOR: Stay tuned on Tuesday for more on this story. This is Jaisal Noor.