Two Roads Diverge

Two news stories from yesterday paint pictures of which road can be taken with respect to battling climate change. The first road leads us to Copenhagen, where it is reported the goal of leadership is to be net carbon zero in the city’s mpact on the planet.

The city has new building codes which require eco-friendly approaches. There are schools with solar panels on the walls, buildings with greenery on top that utilize rainwater effectively, e.g. They also have numerous bicycle and walking paths, which support the 62% of the commuters who pedal to work.

The second road leads us to Washington, where the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is going to repeal the Obama Clean Power Plan. This plan gave the flexibility to states on crafting individual plans to bring down carbon emissions beneath 2005 levels.

Pruitt said the “War on coal is over” as he announced the change in Kentucky. What he fails to realize, it is over. Coal has been dying off and being replaced by cheaper and cleaner options. Natural gas drove the first dagger into coal and continues to do so. Trump’s own plan will drive it deeper.

But, we should not ignore that wind and solar are growing by double digit rares over the last five years and will continue to do so. In fact, in Pruitt’s home state of Oklahoma, they are one of the top wind energy states in the country.

Fortinately, cities around the world are leading the way on battling climate change, as they are the biggest polluters. And, they are learning from each other. States are also leading the way – several states will enable the US to meet the Clean Power Plan requirements by themselves.

Let me conclude with a quote from the CEO of a solar energy company at a conference in NC, the second largest solar energy state. He told legislators to “Just stay out of the way and we will blow past the Clean Power Plan requirement.” That is the question – we need Trump and Pruitt to just stay out of the way.

14 thoughts on “Two Roads Diverge

  1. Dear Keith,
    The good news is that our judicial branch, the court systems have been a check on the president’s administrations many reversals of climate change regulations. I will be blogging on this.

    The president and his administration are putting forward policies that are counter to US national interests and do little to nothing to create additional jobs just to throw red meat to their base who are climate change deniers.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, I look forward to your post. What should be voiced more is Trump has put forth executive orders to protect coal owners not the employees. When his first proposed budget eliminated funding to retrain displaced coal miners, that told you everything you need to know about the the lack of veracity of this man. Keith

  2. Whatever the Trump Admin’s obsession with coal is really about (follow the money), it is conveniently framed as a concession to a small group within Trump’s constituency. I.e., see how Trump care’s about everyone?

    The problem is, long-fought battles for rights, privileges, and protections are often won… in the form of a small concession, and only when the objective is no longer a prize. In this case, as you say, Keith, coal “is over.”

    Mere political posturing and marketing The Brand.

    Copenhagen and other cities, on the other hand, exhibit admirable leadership in the pursuit of worthy environmental goals that actually help solve problems and open doors to new prosperity. Notice how the people’s majority will enjoy the resulting benefits. Very exciting and no-nonsense-good at the same time.

    • JoAnn, based on his nature and history, Trump’s plan has more to do with optics than substance. Wheres, Copenhagen’s plan is more about substance than optics. Climate change planning has to be long term in nature and has to have buy-in to survive changes to leadership. This President’s modus operandi is to tear up every contract, which will make it less desirable to enter one with our country, if each President will tear it up. This is why most Presidents honor our commitments, a word foreign to Trump. Keith

    • I can’t imagine Trumpest staying out of the way of anything, so he’ll just get mown down. I just heard that he’s challenged Rex Tillerson to an IQ test. Only a moron could think that one up! America needs this man out of power before he destroys all credibility in the US government. Meanwhile, it will be people doing real work that moves America into a ‘greener: future.

      • Colette, his remaining quiet is not an option, I know. But, we can dream that he would be thoughtful and choose his words wisely and judiciously. I am reading a book my daughter gave me called “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman” about how people who live off the land and waterways are doing their best to conserve it. These are folks whose voice should be heard more. Pruitt is just a mouthpiece for the fossil fuel industry, always has been. Keith

      • Yes, climate action will be taken forward by the people, with or without Prez.

        I didn’t know about the IQ challenge! Took a look. Apparently Mensa then offered to host the IQ test. All very funny if we were talking about fictional characters.

      • JoAnn, this is similar to when Trump wanted to compare transcripts with Obama. He was not the best of students, so he would have likely lost that bet. One thing is for certain is he does not like to do homework on issues as President and it was leaked that his briefings have to be very very brief or he will lose interest. I have this vision of his briefing looking like People magazine. Keith

  3. It sounds like Copenhagen is certainly leading the pack … what great things they are doing! Scott Pruitt’s “war on coal” comment is about as dumb as they come, but look who we’re talking about and who his boss is. Trump & Co. can roll back regulations, but they cannot force power plants to buy and burn coal, and they cannot stop states from creating their own clean energy plans. Good post … thank you!

    • Jill, Copenhagen is doing exciting things, but they are not alone. I wrote about the book “Climate of Hope” a few months ago which shows the many collaborations between cities that has been occurring for several years.

      Tonight on PBS Newshour, the coal owner Bob Murray was singing praises of the repeal. Letting him talk, he provided numerous unproven and fallacious talking points. But, even he can’t talk people into buying coal with cheaper natural gas and the higher present value costs of coal over renewables. If he would have said these lies on Fox, the audience would have lapped it up. Keith

      • Just another example of a person, in this case Bob Murray, placing their own self-interest above the good of the nation, and the entire planet. You are right … they cannot force power plants to buy their coal. I hope Murray ends up with a huge pile of mined coal that he cannot sell anywhere! You are better than I, my friend, for I would have likely thrown the remote through the television screen if I had seen that! 😉 Yes, I am a temperamental ol’ biddy sometimes.

      • Jill, PBS just let him babble on. He discussed Antarctica was actually shrinking and he noted several times that he had 4,000 scientists who said climate change was a hoax. After several minutes of this, I mentioned to my wife he was not speaking too many truths.

        Murray is a litigious man suing anyone who says he is not being truthful, including John Oliver. You may want to Google him and read more about him.

        When he accused the climate change scientists of making money off this, it became laughable as the fossil fuel industry has benefitted from trillions in government subsidies.


  4. I hear that even China is plowing money into solar in their efforts to mitigate horrible air pollution. It feels very weird for our country to be stepping backwards in an unmistakable bid to allow former third world countries to take the lead in world innovation.

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