President-elect of the United States Donald Trump has a pretty clear stance on global warming, which is that as far as he’s concerned it’s something you should hope for when it gets really cold.
Unfortunately for him, the country which he’s about to lead has made rather a large number of pretty expensive commitments which say that not only is global warming very real, but that it needs to be stopped, and fast.
To counteract this, Trump has outlined a number of radical changes to the way that the US will approach global warming and renewable energy which, if carried out, will result in a “planetary disaster”.
Here’s what he plans to do:
1. Remove the USA from the Paris Agreement
Trump has said in previous speeches that if elected he would remove the United States from the landmark agreement in which 195 countries pledged to reduce their carbon emissions and in doing so keep global temperatures “well below” 2.0C above pre-industrial times.
No single country can stop the Paris Agreement, but as the second-largest greenhouse gas polluter the US’ involvement is absolutely key to the world having any hope of reaching those targets.
There is some glimmer of hope, the deal has been ratified by over 55 per cent of the countries involved which means it will take Trump his entire first term to actually follow through on his word.
2. STOP all payments to UN global warming programmes
Trump has said he will cancel the Obama administration’s $3bn pledge to helping poor countries fight climate change.
Instead Trump says he will use the money to “fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”
3. Remove all restrictions on America’s oil production
Donald Trump is a big fan of oil, and in particular American oil. So much so the President-Elect has said that he will “unleash $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil and natural gas reserves”.
That means more drilling, fewer regulation and the complete approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
4. He believes ‘clean coal’ is the answer
Trump has long been a huge supporter of ‘clean coal’ an incredibly trendy term which suggests that you can still use coal but without any of the horrific environmental side-effects.
The most common form of clean coal energy is where you trap the harmful carbon dioxide and store it. In theory it’s a great idea, in reality, it’s not.
No-one has actually managed to build a clean coal power plant at the scale that Trump is suggesting and those that are trying are being crippled by high costs. In fact the one company that has managed to make a clean coal plant work has come out and said it won’t be building anymore and instead will sell the captures CO2 to oil companies as a means of squeezing more oil out of the ground.
5. Don’t expect Trump to spend a single penny on renewable energy
In case you weren’t fully clear on Trump’s views by now here’s this gem from his 2015 book “Crippled America”:
“The whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is caused by carbon emissions. If you don’t buy that – and I don’t – then what we have is really just an expensive way of making tree-huggers feel good about themselves.”