So far, Trump’s presidency seems to be run on the mindset of “Let’s get rid of whatever Obama did when he was president,” spanning issues from healthcare to the environment. On Tuesday, President Trump signed another executive order and said goodbye to Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Obama set forth the Clean Power Plan in order to regulate the amount of pollution that comes from power plants and to supplement renewable energy efforts. Trump’s claim that the Clean Power Plan is an attack on the coal industry illustrates he is unwilling to move America forward.
Part of Trump’s reasoning for rescinding the Clean Power Plan is that it hurts American coal jobs. When Trump signed the executive order he said, “My administration is putting an end on the war on coal … We will put our miners back to work.”
Although Trump wants the American people to believe this will help the coal industry the truth is the coal industry faces greater proponents than the Clean Power Plan. The use of natural gas to generate power in the U.S. has been on the rise since 1990 because of its affordability. In April 2015 natural gas production surpassed coal production for the first time.
In addition to being more economical, natural gas produces almost half as much carbon dioxide as coal when it is burned. Holding onto the coal industry would be counterproductive to reducing the United States’ contribution to global warming.
If the coal industry continues to decline, then there will be less coal mining jobs, but the increase in clean energy initiatives makes up for this deficit. Energy Economic published a study in 2016 that found the growth in solar energy jobs could compensate for job loss in the coal industry.
Living in the past where coal is gold and climate change has not been theorized yet — as President Trump wishes to — hinders America’s efforts to create a sustainable environment for the next generation.