“Coal is not coming back. While the president is taking big action, he is doomed to fail.”
Move to roll back Obama-era climate measures
TRIP VAN NOPPEN, Earthjustice president
UNITED States President Donald Trump declared an end to a “war on coal” on Tuesday, as he moved to curb rules that underpin American emissions targets and a major global climate accord.
Following through on an election promise, Trump signed an order to review some of Barack Obama’s climate legacy, declaring an end to “job-killing regulations”.
He ordered a review of emission limits for coal-fired power plants and eased up restrictions on federal leasing for coal production.
He said the measures herald “a new era in American energy, production and job creation”.
Critics said rolling back Obama’s Clean Power Plan was unlikely to result in a boost to production or create substantial numbers of jobs.
America’s coal industry has long been in decline, with natural gas, cheap renewable energy, automation and geology making the fuel a less lucrative prospect.
In 2008, there were 88,000 coal miners in the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Today, the number of coal miners has fallen around 25 per cent.
But, some experts and environmental groups warned Trump’s order could be the opening salvo of an effort to undermine internationally agreed targets under the Paris Climate Accord.
Curbing emissions from coalfired power plants was a pillar of America’s commitment to cut carbon emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025.
“It will make it virtually impossible” for the US to meet its target, said Bob Ward, a climate specialist at the London School of Economics.
“Whether we stay in (the Paris deal) or not is still under discussion,” a senior US administration official said.
Energy giant Exxon Mobil has asked the Trump administration not to scrap US’s participation in the pact, and veterans of the Obama administration played down the impact of Trump’s actions.
Obama’s former chief environmental adviser described the executive order as “terrible”, but said “it isn’t the ball game”.
He said any damage could be mitigated in the courts and states, which are tasked with coming up with emissions reduction plans.
“Even if the Trump administration wants to pretend... that climate change is not a big deal, people all over the world think it is a big deal,” said Todd Stern, who led US climate negotiators from 2009 to 2016.
California and New York — two of the most populous states — had already said they would press ahead with climate mitigation plans.
During the 2016 election campaign, Trump donned a hard hat and embraced miners from Kentucky to West Virginia, promising to return jobs to long-ravaged communities. He won both states by a landslide. AFP
President Donald Trump holding an executive order on ‘energy independence’ in Washington on Tuesday.