Another assault on clean power by Trump
It’s truly unfortunate that the environmental movement has become the exclusive domain of the American left. There is nothing more intuitive than wanting to protect one’s natural surroundings. Everybody wants their kids to be drinking clean water and breathing clean air. Lest we forget, it was Richard Nixon, hardly a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, who set up the Environmental Protection Agency.
Forty years later, however, things are very different indeed. A cultural shift over the past couple decades has led to a situation where one side of the political spectrum has become entirely contemptuous of environmentalism, dismissing virtually any concerns about the environment as left-wing propaganda.
Donald Trump has taken this worldview to the extreme. He has dismissed climate change as a “hoax” cooked up by the Chinese and appointed an oil industry lackey to head the agency that Nixon set up four decades ago.
It’s one thing to believe that climate change is not an emergency or that the government doesn’t need to interfere in the market to promote green technologies. But Trump is now interfering in the market on behalf of fossil fuels, even when it doesn’t make any sense economically.
While Trump’s attempt to save the coal industry via an obscene proposal to guarantee it profits was thankfully thwarted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, he has since moved ahead with another counter-productive policy: levying major tariffs on imported solar panels.
U.S. manufacturers are lauding the move as a way to protect American jobs from cheaper imports, but the overall effect will harm American consumers, workers, not to mention the environment.
While Bloomberg reports on a number of solar industry players who say they are not concerned that the move will have long-lasting damage on the expansion of solar, there seems to be little doubt that it will slow the growth of clean power. For instance, ClearView Energy Partners estimates that the cost of major utility-scale projects will rise 10 percent as a result of the move.