How Trump saves the world
— Who knows, but there’s at least a chance that President- elect Donald Trump could help save the world from global warming and, on top of that, from global warming alarmists with other means of doing harm. Consider the following: He is against President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which has the following faults: 1) It would cost consumers a fortune and save relatively little. 2) It would reduce temperatures by an insignificant fraction by century’s end. 3) It’s against the law.
In fact, the plan is in court now and the outlook is that it will be ruled unconstitutional. In producing the policy, the Environmental Protection Agency rather blatantly misinterpreted federal statutes to say it had the right to wipe out state laws all over the land, and it does not. Trump could get rid of it by executive order.
Without it, say those wanting to keep it in place, it would be hard for the United States to do its part in reducing carbon dioxide by amounts set forth in the Paris Agreement. There are, however, other answers, and the agreement signed by 193 nations includes multiple faults, not the least of them that it could thwart economic growth and thus kill people in developing countries.
The fact is, fossil fuels remain crucial to industrialization of the kind that can save hundreds of millions from destitution. Deny these fuels to the poor, and they stay poor. The richest countries say they will dish out billions of dollars to help, but much of that money would simply make corrupt, thieving leaders richer.
Trump wants to use dreaded coal. But he also wants to find ways to make the coal clean, and that’s possible, though not inexpensive. It is outrageous that the Obama administration is tightening rules reducing the use of coal. Minus what Trump hopes for, the mineral is on its way out anyway, and speeding up the decline simply means livelihoods are lost earlier than necessary.
A foremost cause of coal decline has been fracking that produces cheaper natural gas, shoving coal aside as it sends
far less CO2 into the atmosphere. Not i n f r equentl y, Obama brags about CO2 reductions under his watch, but it’s free-market fracking far more than governmental interventions that’s the champ. Fracking could have achieved more if the administration had allowed more drilling on federal lands, something Trump pledges to do. That move would also increase oil production, making us increasingly less dependent on Middle East oil
rump plans to rely on all energy sources to pick up the economy, and that includes wind power and solar, although he considers solar panels a fraud. He does want to end subsidies to renewable fuels, and he is absolutely right. Let the free market have at it instead, saving public money and more likely leading to breakthroughs. Tip of the day: Crony capitalism does not work.
Where Trump especially shines is in his support for nuclear power. Waste is far less an issue than it used to be. Nuclear power is pricey but could be considerably less so through regulatory and other reforms. Though new plants would not pop up immediately, nuclear power would lessen greenhouse gases more extensively than any other approach and keep the economy thriving.
A holdup, of course, has been fear of some terrible accident, but understand that plants are manifestly safe these days, and, as one fact you may have missed, radiation killed no one in Japan after a tsunami hit nuclear plants in Fukushima.
Trump recently surprised some people when he said he thought human activities may contribute to warming, but he had said it before. And even scientific skeptics believe in warming and human causes as a factor. The dispute is about sure-enough catastrophe addressed through dubious though costly means. There is no scientific consensus on this alarmist vision, and Trump’s ideas could be more effective than Obama’s.
Jay Ambrose is an columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.