While Trump may be trying to take the U.S. backwards by returning to fossil fuels as an economic driver, the rest of the world market is moving forward toward renewable energy, Janet Redman told the Real News Network, “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Trump has also promised millions of jobs will be gained in the fossil fuel energy sector, a number that Redman guesses he had to “pull out of thin air to make a big splash, as he often does.”
Jobs have been lost in coal country, Redman said, and rural communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio are certainly feeling a crunch as the sector shrinks. But the problem is not overregulation, as Trump says, instead it’s a global decrease in demand for coal.
Trump claims he wants to cater to people who have lost their jobs in the coal sector, but he has rejected the kind of just transition policies that would help them, Redman said, like the 30 billion dollars that could be used to retrain these folks to learn skills in producing renewable energy.
Lately, Trump has pulled back from saying that he’s going to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and instead would “give it a fair shake.”
“Saying he’ll ‘consider’ the agreement isn’t a victory,” Redman said. “It’s him pulling back from the edge of ridiculousness and we should be careful not to consider that a compromise.”
Redman said Trump’s list of advisers reads like the list of invites to an American Petroleum Institute Ceremony. It includes names such as Forrest Lucas, an oil executive, Sarah Palin, infamous for ‘drill, baby, drill,’ Harold Hamm, a fracking mogul and billionaire, and Rick Perry, who’s invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Trump ran on a campaign that appealed to people who were sick of a corrupt government and sick of feeling like the people on the inside were colluding with one another to rig the rules. But meanwhile, he is appointing people who are “deeply embedded in the fossil fuel industry,” Redman said. On the pipeline, for example, Redman said he is benefiting from it commercially.
“I think he’s going to alienate some of his own voters, some of the people in those middle states who said ‘we’re really sick of government officials making money off of the decisions that are hurting us,’ ” Redman said. “And pipelines will certainly hurt people in rural America.”
There is hope at the state and local level, Redman said, though the national scene will be mired at least for the next four years. Even as the clean power plan has been locked up in court battles, many states are moving forward with their own plans to reduce emissions from power generation, Redman said.
To defeat Trump’s plan to return to fossil fuels, “individual direct action on the streets, local municipal action, and state action is going to be increasingly important,” Redman said.