The Trump administration’s decision to scrap the Clean Power Plan, and replace it with a scheme that will allow at least 12 times the pollution, is irresponsible and will do nothing to meet moral and legal obligations to lower carbon emissions.
Despite this brazen effort to prop up the coal industry, free market forces will continue to displace coal in favor of natural gas and renewables. Pandering to coal state residents with false promises of a coal comeback is self-serving and cruel.
Scrapping the Clean Power Plan, along with this administration’s effort to roll back auto fuel efficiency and emission standards, and a host of other pollution control rollbacks, together constitute the biggest assault on America’s air quality since President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law 48 years ago.
Equally problematic, is the administration’s total abandonment of efforts to address climate change. Ignoring a very real problem, which is already having significant impacts and proving costly, is not conservative. A comprehensive, common-sense policy to reduce carbon emissions is greatly needed, and Republicans in Congress need to finally step up.
Thirty years ago President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, two of the world’s greatest conservative leaders, were both boldly calling for action to address climate change. Thatcher warned that we must “remember our duty to Nature before it is too late.” In the three decades since, the science has gotten more certain, the impacts have become obvious, and yet today’s pretend “conservatives” have prioritized special interest politics over their moral obligation to safeguard our planet, or as Reagan put it, “this magical planet that God gave us.”
The current administration would do well to heed President Reagan’s wise words. He noted the following:
“If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”