The Trump administration made its debut at a United Nations conference on climate change on Monday by giving a full-throated defense of fossil fuels and nuclear energy as answers to driving down global greenhouse gas emissions….President Trump, who ran on a pledge to revive the American coal industry and whose cabinet includes a number of prominent oil and gas enthusiasts, sent his team here with a clear message — that extracting and using significant amounts of oil, gas and coal would be a priority of the administration.
If Trump wanted to skip the conference, that would be fine. He’s already committed to pulling out of the Paris agreement anyway. Or, if his team attended but didn’t say anything, that would be fine too. Or if they attended but talked only about the (very) few things they’re doing that are climate friendly.
But to attend a climate conference and use it as a stage for telling everyone that the United States is going to produce lots and lots of coal, and fuck you if you don’t like it? What kind of person does that? Does Trump really think that Appalachian coal miners are ever going to hear about this—or care about it if they do?
It would be great if Trump announced a massive new push to develop carbon sequestration technology that could be exported to poor countries still reliant on coal. But he hasn’t done that. He just blathers about “clean coal” as if that’s the natural state of anything that comes out of US soil. I’m not sure what the point was of giving everyone in the world such an obvious middle finger, but then, I’m not Donald Trump.