The Trump Administration isn’t known to be the most environmentally-friendly. But that’s why many 2020 Presidential candidates and current government representatives are pushing environmentalist agendas.
What comes as a surprise to many, however, is that the Trump Administration is trying to compile a list of climate change victories, claiming that the administration is putting an end to the war on coal by implementing clean coal technologies.
Why Is Trump Is Doing This?
Environmental concerns are growing among Americans. In fact, some 73% of registered voters believe global warming to be a critical problem. Also, some 59% believe human activity to be a contributor to global warming. And that’s why politicians often strategically propose environmentally-conscious policy, in part to maintain voter appeal.
However, Trump’s supporters are notorious for not supporting renewable energy. With the idea of “clean coal”, Trump appeals to both the ignorant left as well as the right.
What is “Clean Coal”?
“Clean coal” is the process of storing carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal underneath the earth to prevent it from going into the atmosphere. This process is not only unrealistic but also extremely expensive. In fact, such a proposal would incur a projected cost of $62 billion for a 27% reduction in emissions. For renewable energy, this same amount would cost $30-40 billion less.
What is Trump’s Motive?
Trump’s sudden environmental interest has an obvious political motive, but more importantly, what he’s done policy-wise has been both environmentally and economically harmful. With politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attracting younger voters by proposing ideas such as the Green New Deal, Trump understands the importance of being environmentally aware and how compiling a list of accomplishments would help drive up votership in 2020.
Empirically, the Trump Administration has never aimed to be environmentally friendly, nor has it effectively been environmentally sustainable. On the contrary, Trump pulled the United States from the Paris Agreement, allowing corporations to emit large amounts of carbon dioxide without ramifications.
We’ll have to see whether Trump will truly be environmentally-friendly in his policy-making.
Madeline is a writer for the Energy section at The Rising and a Environmental Sustainability and Psychology student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.