On Thursday, President Donald Trump‘s administration proposed rolling back yet another Obama-era climate rule: it suggested loosening restrictions on future coal power plants.
The Environmental Protection Agency‘s latest proposal follows a new string of reports from scientists about the effects climate change will have on the U.S. economy and the world at large. The U.S. and almost 200 other countries convened in Poland this week for a climate summit.
Trump and his administration have been repeatedly slammed and mocked for stubbornly insisting on pushing for coal as a means of energy, instead of relying more on renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. Energy industry pundits overwhelmingly agree that coal is an outdated type of fuel and that dependence on natural gas and other resources is much more logical given the progression of technology and the U.S. economy. Now, coal companies and advocates are undoubtedly overjoyed by the EPA’s latest announcement.
Under Barack Obama, carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) pollution from future power plants was restricted.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.), the Senate majority leader, supported the EPA’s move in a speech on the floor Thursday.
“This is a crucial step toward undoing the damage and putting coal back on a level playing field,” declared McConnell, whose state is one of the largest coal producers in the nation.
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Many Democratic lawmakers, however, are likely to oppose the agency’s actions, especially progressive House members who helped the party retake the majority in Congress in last month’s midterm elections.
David Doniger, the senior strategic director for clean energy and climate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, blasted the Trump administration for moving against what he believes is an inevitable trend.
“This is just one more foolhardy move by the climate-denying Trump administration,” Doniger told Politico. “No one will build new coal plants in the U.S. either way. But the science is clear that even existing coal plants have no future without carbon capture and storage.”
Recent climate change studies showed that rising world temperatures could cost the U.S. around 10 percent of its GDP, and that many of global warming‘s most serious effects could be felt as soon as the year 2030. Trump recently said he doesn’t believe in “man-made” climate change because he’s too intelligent.