This week in climate change, climate solution advocates are analyzing the prospects for action in the administration of President-elect Donald Trump. Earlier this week, Trump issued a video message on the status of his transition. He touched on energy as part of his promise to create “wealth and jobs” for Americans. “I will cancel job killing restrictions on the production of American energy including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs,” he promised. Yesterday, in a meeting with the New York Times, Trump’s response to a question on the connectivity between human activity and climate change: “I think there is some connectivity. Some. Something. It depends on how much.” With regard to the Paris Agreement, he said “I’m looking at it very closely. I have an open mind to it.” Trump’s transition team leaders for the Department of State and the Environmental Protection Agency are both climate deniers.
On a positive note, former South Carolina Congressman J. Gresham Barrett spoke at length in an interview with Southeast Energy News to discuss the launch of the Palmetto Conservative Solar Coalition, an organization dedicated to removing barriers to the solar market in his home state. “Conservatives want the freedom to choose how they get their energy,” Barrett said. He explained how his coalition plans to “address a wide range of issues including protecting common sense, economy-growing, policies like net metering, and working to ensure that there is no tax increase on South Carolina homes and businesses that produce their own energy.” Barrett, who is also a pastor and his church’s stewardship director, pointed to his faith in the “biblical mandate to care for God’s creation and protect our children’s future” as a touchstone in his work.
Retiring Florida Rep. Curt Clawson (R-FL-19), whose district includes hurricane vulnerable parts of South Florida, added his name to a climate change resolution sponsored by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY-19). The so-called Gibson resolution recognizes climate change is occurring and calls for a balanced approach to respond. While Gibson is also retiring at the end of the Congress, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) has indicated she will reintroduce the resolution in 2017.
In a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on the future of nuclear power, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) pointed to the need to ensure the viability of nuclear energy, especially in a low-to-no carbon economy. “Many Americans say climate change is a threat and humans are a significant cause of that threat,” he said. “If I had 20 fire marshals of repute telling me my house is burning down, I might get fire insurance…we should get some insurance against climate change.” Alexander warned that the proposed shut down of eight reactors over the next five to seven years, plus the recent closure at a plant in Nebraska, “will result in a three percent increase in carbon emissions.”
Friends, hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving week. Be sure to take time to express gratitude to those working for climate change solutions.