Are You Ready to Resist Trump and Join the Clean Energy Revolution?
By Ryan Schleeter
President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued one of his most anti-environment executive orders yet. And coming from the same president that fast-tracked the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and wants to defund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that's saying something.
With this order, Trump has instructed the EPA to reverse or re-examine some of the most important climate actions of the Obama era—like limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, halting coal leasing on public land and critical protections for climate-impacted communities.
But for all his efforts to prop up the fossil fuel industry, the best Trump can do is delay our inevitable transition to clean energy—not stop it. And while he does that, it's up to all of us to to minimize the devastation his administration will inflict on our climate and communities. Here's what to watch for.
Trump's executive order shows that he's just a fossil fuel industry stooge with a presidential pen. Read: https://t.co/RrA5vy844b— Greenpeace USA (@Greenpeace USA)1490728446.0
Handouts for Coal Companies
During his time in office, President Obama used executive power to make big steps toward phasing out fossil fuels in favor of clean, renewable energy. The Clean Power Plan and coal leasing moratorium were two of the hallmarks of his climate legacy—now Trump is undoing both of them.
The Clean Power Plan addressed carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, setting the goal to reduce carbon emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The coal leasing moratorium, meanwhile, halted the sale of federal lands to fossil fuels companies for coal mining until the U.S. coal program could be overhauled with a specific eye towards climate impacts.
By attempting to undo both in a single executive order, Trump is making it perfectly clear that his administration puts fossil fuel CEOs before the American people. But we're skeptical that he'll actually succeed and so are global energy markets.
The rapid growth of clean energy jobs—coupled with the economic decline of the coal industry, even despite subsidies that continued under the Obama administration—means that Trump is fighting both basic science and economics on this one. Renewable energy is already delivering more jobs than a fossil fuel economy while protecting our health and climate for future generations.
#Trump Promises to Bring Back #Coal as Two More Coal Plants Set to Retire https://t.co/LOIADqqZVG @SierraClub @BeyondCoal @maryannehitt @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1490102678.0
Costs for American Communities
Trump's executive order isn't just short-sighted for our economy—it will also have devastating impacts for communities on the frontlines of climate change and fossil fuel exploitation.
The White House's staunch climate denial is depriving millions of Americans of the aid they desperately need to protect themselves from the worst impacts of climate change. Our most vulnerable communities cannot afford another Katrina or Sandy (or Matthew or Ike or Andrew or Irene).
And by giving corporate handouts to coal companies, Trump is further delaying a just transition to a clean, sustainable economy for the workers hurt most by the failing coal industry—and it's not the CEOs. Reinstating coal leasing on public lands will not bring back coal jobs, guarantee a fair return to taxpayers or accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. It will only make progress more painful for coal country and fuel the climate crisis.
And to top it off, Trump is also attacking the very idea that climate change comes with costs associated (reminder: it does). He's instructing federal agencies not to account for the social cost of carbon in policymaking, which could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.
Here's How We Fight This
Like the rest of the half-brained policies that have come from the Trump White House so far, this executive order is very likely to be challenged in court. Given this administration's track record (ahem, Muslim ban), that gives us hope that this attack on climate and environmental protection won't stand.
But if that's going to happen, we still need to show up in force. And in just one month, we'll have a chance to do that in a big way.
On April 29—day 100 of the Trump administration—we're marching for jobs, justice and the climate in DC with the People's Climate March. Three years ago, more than 400,000 people took to the streets of New York City for the inaugural march, but with the stakes even higher and the climate movement even stronger, this year is shaping up to be even bigger.
3 reasons you should join the People's #ClimateMarch this April. https://t.co/WAIeVQvLAZ #ResistOften https://t.co/rTnzbTblOh— Greenpeace USA (@Greenpeace USA)1490389442.0
Join us this April if you're ready to resist Trump's attacks on climate progress and fight for the clean energy future we deserve.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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