Not a Joke: Trump to Run on Environmental Record

April 8, 2019


Donald Trump is preparing a novel campaign strategy for a president who’s pulling the U.S. from the international Paris accord on climate change, cheer-leading for coal, one of the dirtiest source of power, and suggesting that wind turbines cause cancer.

He’s going to tout his environmental credentials.

Administration officials are developing talking points on climate change and cultivating a list of environmental “success stories,” from cleaner air to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, said a person familiar with the plans who asked not to be named describing internal deliberations.

“President Trump believes you can grow the economy and protect the environment,” said Judd Deere, a deputy White House press secretary.

In attempting to demonstrate that the U.S. is getting greener while still rolling back what Trump sees as job-killing constraints on industry, a key cheerleader may be Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Today we have the cleanest air on record, and we are ranked No. 1 in the world for access to clean drinking water,” Wheeler said at the Washington Auto Show on April 4. “As we continue to reduce pollution, we’re also reducing burdensome regulations.”


Within months of taking office, Trump tasked the EPA with redoing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that aimed to slash greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants, and directed the Interior Department to resume selling coal on federal land, ending a moratorium imposed by former President Barack Obama. The agency is also easing Obama-era limits on methane from oil wells and standards throttling greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.W

But supporters say Trump has environmental achievements to celebrate too.

“Deregulation does not always mean rolling back rules,” said Wheeler. By modernizing, simplifying or streamlining regulations, the administration is creating “greater certainty” and empowering the public “to innovate and create cleaner and safer technologies,”

Wheeler noted that from 1970 to 2017, conventional air pollution in the U.S. fell 73 percent, even as the economy grew more than 260 percent, Americans traveled more miles, and the U.S. used more energy.

The Trump administration can also point to expanding use of natural gas, both domestically and exported overseas, where it can displace more carbon-intense energy sources. “That is a pretty substantial story that they can tell, not only about our decarbonizing in the U.S. power sector, but also globally, sharing those technologies around the world,” said Rich Powell, executive director of ClearPath Action, a group seeking to accelerate clean energy innovation.

18 Responses to “Not a Joke: Trump to Run on Environmental Record”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Considering current global warming, natural Gas is no more better than existing coal plants when the leakage rate is above 2% . Dr. Howarth’s estimate for average, full-cycle methane leakage rate from natural gas operations is 4.1%.

    A gas well remains a gas well, even when production is long ceased, the well is just being plugged. As shale gas exploration needs an ever growing amount of wells being drilled just to keep production flat, we will see a vast growth of the amount of gas wells. 5% of gas wells leak from day one. After 14 years, 50% of the wells are leaking. So it’s only a matter of time when methane will be released into the atmosphere from these gas wells. Fossil methane is 87 times as potent as CO2. The same applies to the methane called “by-product” at shale oil fields.

    Currently there are about 900,000 active oil and gas wells in the US.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      Very strong atmospheric methane growth in the four years 2014‐2017: Implications for the Paris Agreement

      Plain Language Summary

      The rise in atmospheric methane (CH4), which began in 2007, accelerated in the past four years. The growth has been worldwide, especially in the tropics and northern mid‐latitudes. With the rise has come a shift in the carbon isotope ratio of the methane. The causes of the rise are not fully understood, and may include increased emissions and perhaps a decline in the destruction of methane in the air. Methane’s increase since 2007 was not expected in future greenhouse gas scenarios compliant with the targets of the Paris Agreement, and if the increase continues at the same rates it may become very difficult to meet the Paris goals. There is now urgent need to reduce methane emissions, especially from the fossil fuel industry.

      Here we have the likely reason => Global spike in methane emissions over last decade likely due to US shale

      At the moment we can see a natural gas race all over the world. That’s why lobby groups want to sell gas as a so-called “bridge fuel” which would be better for the climate than other fossil fuels. But as we can see, natural gas only accelerates global warming.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      US Natural Gas ‘Revolution’ is a Bridge to Nowhere

      Natural gas as a “bridge” to a low carbon future has been debunked by the International Energy Agency, the UN Environmental Program and economists alike. For every coal-fired power plant converted to a natural gas co-generation plant, a return on the investment happens over a 25-30 year time period. The money that could have gone to the long-term truly low-carbon renewables — wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectric — stays with the devil we know. It’s like steadfastly eating red meat 24/7 — even though we know it’s not good for us — we just can’t seem to order that more healthy fish dish.

    • doldrom Says:

      Luckily the vast growth of fracking wells will be kept in check by the fact that the debt funding it will run out of morons to fuel it further as it becomes clear to more and more people that it is not profitable.

      • Sir Charles Says:

        I don’t think so. Despite the fact that at least half a trillion of $$$ have been burnt in the last six or so years they still keep on drilling. Now Trump et al are pressurising Europe to buy US LNG. Europe is building new LNG terminals despite the fact that we need to reduce GHG emissions. There is a natural gas race going on. And the shills are successfully lobbying EU politicians with arguments like “bridge fuel” and “security of supply”. All bonkers. We need less fossil fuels, not additional new natural gas infrastructure.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        This must be Straw Man day on Crock. Nationally, fracking produces two-thirds (67 percent) of the natural gas in the United States, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and approximately 50 percent of the nation’s oil. It’s not the fracking that matters, it’s the fact that we keep drilling for gas and oil PERIOD—and burning them, and mining and burning COAL.

        Production and consumption numbers of all fossil fuels are going up—who cares whether it comes from fracking or Granny is skimming it off the puddle in the back yard or out of a pipe she stuck in the ground?.

        Two good pieces about fracking oil and gas.

        • Sir Charles Says:

          No straw man at all. Fracking is far more invasive, requires far more drilling sites and releases far more methane into the atmosphere than conventional oil and gas exploration. I agree, we have to stop any fossil fuel extraction ASAP, but shale gas and oil are as bad as tar sands if not worse. Same applies to coal seem gas which is mainly produced in Australia.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Maybe you missed my point or I wasn’t clear. Fracking IS as bad as you say, but the HUGE elephant in the room (besides our fat-assed fake president), is still the very slow decline in the burning of fossil fuels. I would also dispute that fracked oil or gas is worse than tar sands on a barrel per barrel basis—-got any figures on that?

          • Sir Charles Says:

            Please watch the video I posted in the OP and read the article linked above. Shale gas exploration is releasing more than 40% more methane into the atmosphere than conventional exploration. I think this is significant. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 87 times as potent as CO2.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I don’t need to watch the video or read more articles or be told that methane is a potent GHG. I’ve studied the issue for years and read whole books about it. Yes, its release from drilling, fracking, and refining IS a worry, but the warming caused by burning fossil fuels may soon push us past the tipping points that will cause the release of large quantities of methane from subsea clathrates and permafrost, and that will make leaks from fracking look like a small burp.

            BTW, here’s a good site with info on methane hydrates and methane. Like Shale Gas Ireland, it has been inactive for a while, but it has lots of good info.


          • Sir Charles Says:

            Also consider the lower Energy Return On Investment (EROI) for shale gas and oil and you see why I come to this assumption that shale gas/oil is as bad as tar sands.

            The EROI for discovering oil and gas in the US has decreased from more than 1000:1 in 1919 to 5:1 in the 2010s, and for production from about 25:1 in the 1970s to approximately 10:1 in 2007 (Guilford et al., 2011). Alternatives to traditional fossil fuels such as tar sands and oil shale (Lambert et al., 2012) deliver a lower EROI, having a mean EROI of 4:1 (n of 4 from 4 publications) and 7:1 (n of 15 from 15 publication)


            Most unconventional energy sources have much lower efficiencies than conventional gas and oil, which operate at a combined energy-returned-on-investment ratio of about 18:1. Shale gas, for example, performs at about 6.5:1 to 7.6:1—a bit better than the 2.9:1 to 5.1 for tar sands oil. Corn ethanol, with an EROI of about 1.3:1, sits at the bottom of the barrel for investment pay off.


          • dumboldguy Says:

            Irrelevant. It’s not economics and EROI that matters but that tar sands are the dirtiest fuel on earth in all ways—extraction, refining, burning—-compared to oil, natural gas, and even coal.

          • Sir Charles Says:

            In energy economics and ecological energetics, energy returned on energy invested (EROEI or ERoEI), or energy return on investment (EROI), is the ratio of the amount of usable energy (the exergy) delivered from a particular energy resource to the amount of exergy used to obtain that energy resource.


          • Sir Charles Says:

            Here two good resources where the reader can find manifold information about fracking. from air and water contamination to earthquakes and health or climate impacts…

            => Shale Gas Bulletin Ireland

            => PSE Study Citation Database – Library

    • Sir Charles Says:

      Here the slides of the lecture by Dr. Robert Howarth in the video above:


  2. Keith McClary Says:

    Today’s BadAstronomer (Phil Plait):

    “… in that gorgeous image. The city lights of the United States are below, to the south, with the Great Lakes made obvious by their lack of light. … Dominating the view, even surpassing the vast waters of the Hudson Bay, is the aurora borealis … And then my eye wandered west, and I saw a weird clumpy glow … and I knew immediately where and what it was.
    Where is North Dakota. … So much fossil fuel gas is being extracted in North Dakota that, to VIIRS, just the excess being burned is brighter than a major metropolitan city. It turns out about a third of the gas extracted is burned away this way, adding vast amounts of CO2 to the air while doing … nothing. ”

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