About Pence’s “War on Coal”

At Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, alleged that over the past seven and a half years, President Obama has waged a “war on coal.” To hear Gov. Pence tell it, government regulation has caused the decline of coal mining communities across America, and a Trump administration will swoop in to save these communities. The problem is, neither claim is true, and both are dangerous.

Let’s clear the record. For decades, the coal industry has faced economic challenges ranging from mechanization to corporate mismanagement to unstoppable market forces, including access to much cheaper natural gas. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has, out of pure political expediency, preyed on the understandable concerns of coal communities. It’s a deplorable tactic that provides no proposals to help the employees of a struggling industry transition to a more sustainable energy economy, a shift most Americans want in order to protect today’s children from the worst impacts of climate change.

The truth is the coal industry’s decline has spanned more than five presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, whose administrations saw among the most precipitous loss of coal jobs in U.S. history.

At Tuesday’s debate, Gov. Pence repeatedly claimed voters should elect Donald Trump in order to end the Obama administration’s so-called “war on coal”. Translation: A Trump-Pence administration would end pollution limits on dirty coal-fired power plants, endangering health and accelerating climate change.

On the campaign trail, Trump himself repeatedly vows to bring back coal by eliminating environmental and worker safety regulations he erroneously claims are killing the industry. But if Mr. Trump and Gov. Pence think they are making a clever power play for swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, they’re plain wrong. Voters can tell when politicians stoke their fears for political gain. Plus, Pennsylvanians and Ohioans alike overwhelmingly favor clean energy like solar and wind over dirty energy sources.

In the battle for America’s energy future, Hillary Clinton is the real fighter. In addition to her plan to dramatically expand clean energy production, her $30 billion plan to revitalize coal communities would build on President Obama’s efforts to provide miners and their families with alternatives to a dirty and dangerous coal industry. Clinton’s plan would award competitive grants in areas like entrepreneurship and small business development, housing, and education and job training programs. Coal communities deserve this kind of assistance as America transitions to a cleaner energy future.

Gov. Pence should abandon the tall tale of the “war on coal.” In Pennsylvania alone, the clean energy industry employs almost as many Americans as the entire coal industry does nationwide, and voters know it. If Gov. Pence cared about the nearly 70,000 hard-working Americans whose livelihoods in the coal industry are at risk in a changing 21st century economy, he would drop the political charade, quit pandering to the Koch brothers and the GOP donor class, and focus on real solutions to help communities move forward.

Beyond Blue and Red, Latino Voters Are Thinking Green

alternative_energiesWhen I began trying to rally Latino leaders around climate change in 2004, I raised a few eyebrows: “Does she know the number of Latinos without health insurance? Don’t Latinos really only rally around immigration reform? Aren’t jobs and the economy so much more important?

With the plethora of important issues facing Latino communities, I wasn’t surprised that the informal consensus was climate change was not a Latino issue. Among Latinos, however, we knew we cared deeply.

Today, there is new consensus: Our issues are interrelated, and climate change is one of them.

Polls from the past few years show that Latinos have consistently been ahead of the curve in understanding the impact and risk that climate change presents. For many striving to build a solid future for their families, living paycheck-to-paycheck or unable to access health insurance, an extreme weather event could be what pushes them over the edge.

The impacts are also real. One in two Latinos still lives in counties that frequently violate air quality standards. Higher temperatures lead to smoggier days that will only make this worse and accelerate the already evident uptick in asthma attacks and the impacts on families like missed work and school days.

Latino workers are also heavily impacted since we make up a large part of the outdoor workforce in the construction, agricultural and landscaping trades which are all more likely to be exposed to poor air quality and dangerous or even deadly heat waves.
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Climate Change and Trump’s Muddled Mess of a Morning

It’s been an odd morning for Donald Trump and his position(s) on climate change. Called out by Hillary Clinton in front of tens of millions of viewers last night for his climate denialism, Trump immediately tried to distance himself from some of the more absurd things he’s said about it.

Good luck.

Trump has repeatedly and forcefully denied mainstream climate science for years in speech after speech, interview after interview, and tweet after tweet. He’s called climate change a hoax, a scam and “bullshit.”

His denial of and disregard for the rapid warming of our planet is also on full display in Trump’s energy policies laid out during this campaign. Instead of investing in a clean energy economy and the jobs it brings, Trump wants us to burn more fossil fuels and open up public lands and our pristine oceans to even more drilling – activities we know contribute most to man-made climate change.

But this morning as Americans began to fact check comments made in last night’s debate, Trump and his campaign surrogates tried to sing a new tune. Mike Pence suggested Trump’s charge that the Chinese originated a climate change hoax was just a big joke, calling Trump’s tweets “flippant.” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump actually does believe in global warming, but added that he still doesn’t believe the accepted climate science that warming is caused by human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels.

Donald Trump has a history of saying whatever he thinks his audiences want to hear. Perhaps he’s just waking up to the reality that Americans want to hear about a clean energy future, not one tied to the dirty fuels of the past. We’ll know if he begins to change his energy policies as frequently as he’s altered his tax policies throughout the campaign.

The bottom line is the changing climate is a threat to our health, prosperity and national security. That’s why the world’s most respected institutions and organizations – from the U.S. military to the Vatican – agree that governments, including our own, must act boldly and quickly to avoid the worst impacts of unchecked global warming.

The NRDC Action Fund yesterday launched this video [link] to highlight Trump’s pointed question to a crowd at a recent campaign rally: “Who believes in global warming?”

The answer? Just about everyone but him.

Trump climate inaction would “bury our future”

September 26, 2016


Contact: NRDC Action Fund, Denis Dison, (202) 717-8293, ddison@nrdc.org

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2016 – Tonight’s presidential debate showcased the stark contrasts between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the central environmental challenge of our time – global climate change.

NRDC Action Fund President Rhea Suh made the following statement:

“Trump’s plan to make America dirty again would bury our future in the dirty fuels of the past. Clinton will stand up to the dangers of climate chaos. Her vision means millions of good-paying middle class jobs to make America the clean energy superpower of the world.”


The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund therefore needs to be identified as from the NRDC Action Fund.

The Candidates on Climate: High Stakes – Clear Choice

paris-1-5-degreesAs Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare to face off Monday night in the first of three scheduled presidential debates, there may be no core issue over which the candidates differ more completely – or more consequentially – than climate change.

It’s hard, in fact, to point to two candidates in living memory with sharper differences on a matter that touches, or will touch, every facet of our lives, from where we live and what we eat to how we earn and spend our money.

If you think climate change is a hoax hatched in China, then, boy oh boy, has Trump got a deal for you. If you’re concerned about rising seas, widening deserts, withering heat, raging storms and other hallmarks of climate chaos, you’re going to want to give Clinton a listen.

Clinton understands that we have an obligation to protect future generations from these growing dangers by acting now to avert the worst impacts of climate catastrophe.

She’s set out a comprehensive portfolio of responsible policy proposals to build on the progress of the past eight years to ensure further gains going forward. She wants to end fossil fuel subsidies that cost taxpayers an unconscionable $4.7 billion a year. And she’s articulated a powerful vision of job growth, efficiency and prosperity from making our country the clean energy superpower of the 21st Century.

Trump said in 2012 that climate change is a hoax invented, he asserted, by the Chinese – like firecrackers, perhaps, or moveable type. He later said he was joking. Four years later.

Not only does Trump have no plan of his own for fighting the central environmental challenge of our time, he’s promised to scrap what’s already working, like President Obama’s historic plan to clean up the dirty power plants that account for 40 percent of our carbon footprint; or the global climate accord inked last December in Paris, which Trump has vowed to “cancel.”
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