“Ain’t Gonna Happen.”: Trump’s Pathetic, Backwards and Doomed War on the Planet

January 25, 2018

Worried about Republican lust to despoil, poison and pollute offshore areas?
Listen to veteran journalist Keith Schneider’s 4 minute analysis above, and you won’t need a chill pill.

As in so, so many examples we have from the Trump administration, just because they say it, does not make it so.


President Donald Trump and Republicans have tried again and again during the past year to turn back the clock on energy — pushing policies that would help fossil fuels stave off advances by solar and wind.

But they have repeatedly come up short.


Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to force electricity customers to subsidize ailing coal plants ran aground early this year. The Senate rebuffed efforts to water down tax credits for solar and wind power. And Trump’s move this week to impose a tariff on imported solar panels should put only a crimp in the growth of sun-powered energy, analysts have said, despite the outcry it’s generated from most of the U.S. solar industry.

Trump spent his campaign promoting an “America First” energy policy that translated to more oil, gas and especially coal — even as he slammed solar as expensive and hammered wind turbines as ugly. But after growing rapidly during the Obama years, wind and solar energy may have come too far for even a pro-fossil-fuel administration to stuff back into the barrel — especially after creating tens of thousands of jobs in red and blue states alike.

In addition, Trump and his appointees face limits on their authority. And in some cases, he has taken a compromise position, for example by choosing a solar tariff low enough to ease the damage to U.S. companies that rely on access to low-cost panels from abroad for solar power plants and rooftop arrays.

“I believe that the wish of the administration to generate again new jobs in old technologies is clearly determining their policy agenda, but that policy agenda has so far not been able to match up against the realities of the unrelenting pace of the energy transition,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean-energy advocacy group.


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is facing criticism from the White House for his unexpected decision to exempt Florida from the administration’s sweeping new proposal to subject essentially all federal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling, according to news reports.

One White House official accused Zinke of going “rogue” by abruptly removing Florida from the list of states only one week after the Interior Department released its five-year offshore drilling plan, Axios reported Sunday. Oddly, Zinke announced his decision to let Florida off the hook on Twitter, instead of through more formal channels.

By announcing a change in the proposal only a few days into the process, Zinke demonstrated that the administration isn’t following the required procedure, legal experts argued. The move also raised flags about whether the decision was arbitrary or capricious, two things prohibited by administrative law.

“It’s anyone’s guess what’s going on in Donald Trump’s head, but what we do know is that while Secretary Zinke makes empty promises and tries to govern by tweet, coastal communities are left guessing about whether or not they will be subjected to the dangers of offshore drilling,” Lena Moffitt, senior director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign, said Monday in an email. “This debacle has further highlighted Donald Trump and his administration’s incompetence and failure to take the health, safety, and economic well-being of coastal communities seriously.”

In response to Zinke’s move to exempt Florida, both Democratic and Republican governors have called for their coastal states to be spared from the offshore drilling expansion. On the Atlantic Coast, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), a strong Trump ally, is the only governor who has said he favors offshore oil and gas drilling. Zinke has pledged to meet with other governors after they publicly asked for their states to be taken off the list, but there has been no word on any other possible exemptions, even though they’re objecting on the same grounds as Florida Gov. Rick Scott.


On Monday, President Donald Trump slapped a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and panels.

But while the White House said the goal was to punish China for an industrial policy aimed at taking over the global solar market, the harsh reality is that the president is going to end up punishing the states that voted for him the most. On top of that, U.S. taxpayers are actually going to end up paying for half of any tariff.

Analysis provided to ThinkProgress by GTM Research concludes, “new and emerging state markets are disproportionately affected [by the new tariff], with southern states like Texas, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina amongst the most impacted by the tariffs.” All of those states voted for Trump in the 2016 election.

MJ Shiao, GTM’s head of Americas Research, explained in an interview that the states hurt the most by the new tariff are the “hot markets that are on the cusp of becoming economic for solar,” or that just became economic thanks to the steady and rapid price drops for solar cells and panels. Those states are disproportionately found in the South and Southeast.

Christian Science Monitor:

For all its tough trade rhetoric in the past year, especially against China, the Trump administration’s first enforcement actions of 2018 will have a measured and temporary impact.

In the most closely watched case, involving solar panels, new tariffs announced Monday will slow adoption of the technology in the near term – and create a new set of winners and losers. Many fans of solar power are understandably voicing loud concerns. But industry analysts don’t expect the tariffs to cause long-term damage to the fast-growing industry of wiring up the United States with solar power.

Homeowner installation costs will go up about 4 percent, says ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington-based research firm. For utility-scale installations, costs will go up about 10 percent, it says.

“At the end of the day, it won’t have any major implications for the industry from a manufacturing perspective,” says Angelo Zino a senior industry analyst with ‎CFRA Research. “Things could have been a lot worse.”

In short, the tariff won’t kill solar power, but also won’t create momentum for new investment that could push the industry forward.


4 Responses to ““Ain’t Gonna Happen.”: Trump’s Pathetic, Backwards and Doomed War on the Planet”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Schneider gets it! I am enjoying watching the inhabitants of the Dumpster Fire that is the Trump maladministration pour gasoline on themselves. Yep, getting the red staters fighting among themselves is a no-win—–all the campaign BS designed to get “the base” behind the destruction of the environment will ultimately be rejected once the noses of individuals start getting bent. Make popcorn!

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    BTW, Norway’s $1 trillion fund is to consider divesting from oil and gas stocks to protect Norway’s economy from oil price risk => Norway’s wealth fund to divest from fossil fuels

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