With his bombing of Syria, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) may (or may not!) slow down his destruction of the United States. Congress won’t be revoking any orders from President Obama within two weeks because they’ve left town on their junkets. Meanwhile, the environment is winning in some areas of the United States.
A few weeks ago, DDT signed a number of orders to exacerbate climate change with the excuse that it would create jobs and save money. The bad news for him is that the increase of clean energy is moving along like a speeding train. In the United States, clean energy jobs outnumber oil and gas jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, a ratio that grows each year. Only nine states have more jobs in fossil fuels than in clean energy. Massachusetts is currently considering a bill that would mandate the state obtain all of its energy—electricity, transportation, and heating—from renewable resources by 2050, and 25 U.S. cities are committed to transitioning to renewable energy, some of them making this decision after the presidential election. Ironically, the top five wind-energy producing congressional districts have GOP representatives in Congress.
Last year, one in every 50 new jobs in the nation was in the solar industry that employs 260,000 people, double that from 2010 employments. Coal mining jobs number under 100,000 although the National Mining Association, a trade group, counted 195,494 coal-mining jobs in 2012 that included miners, support activities, and transportation. That high number has shrunk in the past five years. Since 2012, the world has brought more power online from renewables than fossil fuels.
Last year, the European Union had 86 percent of its electricity capacity from renewable sources, and Canada gets more than 80 per cent of its power from emissions-free sources and nearly two-thirds from renewable energy. India hopes to add 175 gigawatts of renewable electricity in five years, the equivalent of Canada’s entire electrical system. China adds enough solar panels to cover three soccer fields every hour. Planning to become the world leader in clean energy, China will invest $361 billion in renewable energy and create 13 million clean energy jobs by 2020.
Earlier this spring the utilities that own the massive 2,250 megawatt Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, one of the biggest polluters in the nation, will close it by 2019. Even better, the utilities may be out by the end of the year because the plant can’t keep running unless the Navajo Nation agrees to extend the lease.
In Alaska, PacRim Coal suspended all its permitting processes for a proposed $600 million Chuitna coal mine because it lost investors. The state’s largest strip mine would have destroyed 30 square miles of salmon river and forest. Cheap natural gas and growth of renewable energy is causing coal mines to stall throughout the nation.
Low oil prices have caused Exxon to leave 3.5 billion barrels of its fuel in the tar sands, following the same practice as that of other companies such as ConocoPhillips, Statoil, and Royal Dutch Shell. Instead, Statoil plans to develop a gigantic offshore wind farm off the coast of New York State.
Washington state blocked plans for the nation’s biggest coal export terminal. The Millennium Bulk Terminals project, proposed for Longview, that would export Montana and Wyoming coal to Asia.
Pawnee (OK) is filing a class-action lawsuit against dozens of fossil fuel companies, accusing them of knowingly causing destructive earthquakes by injecting wastewater underground. Since the fracking frenzy in the state, Oklahoma has had thousands of earthquakes with almost all of them traced to the process. Most of the homes in the town, population 2,300 , have been damaged from cracks in walls, foundations, and storm shelters to short-circuited electrical outlets. A 2015 study by the U.S. Geological Survey indicated that fossil fuel production is causing these earthquakes.
The Pawnee Nation is also suing after an earthquake damaged near-century-old tribal buildings.
For the first time, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection admitted a correlation between fracking and earthquakes.
Maryland’s GOP governor, Larry Hogan, has signed a bill to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state. The law follows New York that banned fracking in 2015 and Vermont in 2012. Florida is considering a ban. Environmentalists in Maryland are moving on to protect the Chesapeake Bay where DDT wants to cut over 90 percent of federal funding to restore the bay.
Small California towns are defeating fossil fuels:
- Benicia rejected a huge crude-by-rail project from Texas’ petroleum giant Valero after it wanted to send Bakken crude through the town.
- Oxnard is fighting California Energy Commission plans to put a large gas-fired power plant on a local beach. Now choked with power plants, landfills, and a toxic waste Superfund site, the town plans a deindustrialized beach and restored coastal wetlands.
- Santa Paula, near Oxnard, has decided to oppose a gas-fired plant after a company sets their sites on that town following Oxnard’s rejection.
- Arvin elected a 23-year-old councilman as mayor because he promised to protect the city’s water and air. A future plan is to ban fracking.
- San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors rejected a Phillips 66 crude-by-rail plan to bring oil into its Nipomo Mesa refinery in a location that had long supported refinery projects.
The importance of developing renewables is growing throughout the United States.
- An increasing number of people in the United States oppose opening federal land for oil exploration, now 53 percent up from 34 percent just five years ago.
- Another Gallup poll shows that 59 percent of the people are more concerned about protecting the environment and limiting human pollution that energy production cost.
- Over 70 percent prefer the development of alternative energy to that of oil, gas, and coal; and about two-thirds favor higher emissions standards, including the enforcement of regulations. Only 35 percent of the respondents favor fracking.
- Among voters, 78 percent think climate pollution should be regulated and/or taxed.
- A new survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that large majorities of registered U.S. voters want the federal government and businesses to do more to address climate change.
- Most voters think the U.S. should transition to using more renewable energy and fewer fossil fuels.
- Renewable energy is heavily supported across party lines, with 85 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of Independents, and 76 percent of Republicans agreeing that the U.S. needs more of it.
- Sixty-nine percent of U.S. voters also want their country to participate in the Paris Agreement, a landmark climate deal reached by nearly 200 nations last year.
- And 66 percent say the U.S. should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions whether other countries join in or not.
Looking to the future, the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is now solar powered because it saves money.
A recent NASA study by NASA shows that rising sea levels may be almost eight inches during the past century, almost twice what they thought it would be. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40073-as-seas-around-mar-a-lago-rise-trump-s-cuts-could-damage-local-climate-work One place at great danger if nothing is done to slow down climate change is DDT’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach County (FL). One of DDT’s budget cuts is the $73 million program Sea Grant along with $177 million for other NASA projects to protect communities. Other places that will probably be underwater by 2100 are AG Jeff Sessions’ hometown, Mobile (AL), and Ben Carson’s Detroit will lose drinking water to toxic algal blooms. But they’re all old and don’t care because they’ll be dead by then.