Among the many uncertainties with a Trump presidency is what he will do about an issue many consider the globe’s biggest threat. Environmental watchdogs worry that a Trump administration will upend a growing movement toward renewable and clean energy development and efforts to mitigate climate change.
President-elect Trump has called climate change a “hoax invented by the Chinese,” promised to push more coal production, threatened to pull the United States from a global carbon-cutting accord and slash funding for emissions programs, and he says he will dismantle President Obama’s signature clean energy program, which is already stalled in federal court.
“Exercising leadership is not about retreating. It’s about setting a standard for others to follow,” said Jeffrey Bielicki, an energy and environmental policy researcher at Ohio State University. “Part of my concern stems from the lack of any substantive discussions during the race, so that brings with it a fair amount of uncertainty. The vast majority of knowledgeable people accept that we need to deal with the climate. And there are multiple ways to do it and we need to take multiple paths toward doing it.”
Michael Hartley, executive director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council, said Trump’s plans will become clearer as he forms his team, but Hartley is confident the new president will set a path forward that includes alternative energy.
“Let’s let him actually get settled and start putting together his transition team and his administration and we’ll see where we go,” Hartley said. “He’s a business guy. He understands that. Look at some of the things he said in his victory speech. It’s about providing jobs. … He said some things that should be seen as encouraging.”
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