Quantcast

Trump Team Plans 'Sideshow on Coal' at UN Climate Talks

Trump at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, West Virginia on Aug. 3, 2017. SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

No one really expects the coal-friendly Trump administration to take significant action on climate change, but this is just trolling.

A new exclusive from Reuters claims that the president's team will "set up a side-event promoting fossil fuels" at the global climate summit this December, aka COP 24, in Katowice, Poland.


Citing three sources, the American officials will "highlight the benefits of technologies that more efficiently burn fuels including coal," Reuters reported.

This sounds similar to what the U.S. delegation did last year at the COP 23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany. The so-called "clean fossil fuels" event was widely criticized for promoting "false" global warming solutions such as nuclear power, "clean coal" and carbon capture and storage or CCS. Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, compared it to "promoting tobacco at a cancer summit."

The Katowice panel, scheduled possibly for Dec. 10., will include proponents of coal, natural gas and likely nuclear power, a source involved with planning the event told Reuters. There are currently no plans to include a representative from the renewable energy industry, the source added.

"Quite frankly, the U.S. is the only party to the convention that appears to be willing to push a rational discussion on the role of cleaner, more efficient fossil (fuels) and the role of civilian nuclear energy," the source told the news service.

The panel will be led by Wells Griffith, Trump's international energy and climate adviser, and include a U.S. Energy Department representative, according to Reuters.

The White House and the State Department, which represents the United States at the COP talks, did not respond to Reuters' request for a comment.

COP 24 will be dedicated to the implementation of the Paris agreement, which has been ratified by a vast majority of the world's governments.

The all-important Katowice summit will be held just months after a dire climate report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned that the world has a very narrow 12-year window to drastically reduce consumption of fossil fuels and ramp up renewable energy sources such as wind and solar to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Trump, however, infamously intends to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and continues to push polluting, planet-warming fossil fuels. Just last month, the president said the climate will "change back again."

Under the terms of the Paris agreement, the earliest the U.S. can officially exit the pact is the day after the 2020 election.

Sponsored
by [D.Jiang] / Moment / Getty Images

By Alena Kharlamenko

Tofu is a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets.

Read More Show Less
KarinaKnyspel / iStock / Getty Images

2018 saw a number of studies pointing to the outsized climate impact of meat consumption. Beef has long been singled out as particularly unsustainable: Cows both release the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere because of their digestive processes and require a lot of land area to raise. But for those unwilling to give up the taste and texture of a steak or burger, could lab-grown meat be a climate-friendly alternative? In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from the Oxford Martin School set out to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Three scissor-tailed flycatcher fledglings in a mesquite tree in Texas. Texas Eagle / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Gary Paul Nabhan

President Trump has declared a national emergency to fund a wall along our nation's southern border. The border wall issue has bitterly divided people across the U.S., becoming a vivid symbol of political deadlock.

Read More Show Less
PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images

By Daniel Ross

Hurricane Florence, which battered the U.S. East Coast last September, left a trail of ruin and destruction estimated to cost between $17 billion and $22 billion. Some of the damage was all too visible—smashed homes and livelihoods. But other damage was less so, like the long-term environmental impacts in North Carolina from hog waste that spilled out over large open-air lagoons saturated in the rains.

Hog waste can contain potentially dangerous pathogens, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. According to the state's Department of Environmental Quality, as of early October nearly 100 such lagoons were damaged, breached or were very close to being so, the effluent from which can seep into waterways and drinking water supplies.

Read More Show Less
This picture taken on May 21, 2018 shows discarded climbing equipment and rubbish scattered around Camp 4 of Mount Everest. Decades of commercial mountaineering have turned Mount Everest into the world's highest rubbish dump as an increasing number of big-spending climbers pay little attention to the ugly footprint they leave behind. DOMA SHERPA / AFP / Getty Images

China has closed its Everest base camp to tourists because of a buildup of trash on the world's tallest mountain.

Read More Show Less