- - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Trump has nullified many of Barack Obama’s climate change fantasies and the sky is still up there. But judging by the uproar from voices in the climate change industry, only an unexpected miracle is keeping the firmament in place. As cooler heads keep an eye on the thermometer in the months and years to come, America can balance legitimate concerns about pollution against the necessity of exploiting affordable energy.

The president made good on his campaign pledge to rein the “green” state, with the requisite executive order signed at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington. “The action I’m taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom, and allow our companies and our workers to thrive, compete, and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time,” Mr. Trump said.

The order directs the EPA to begin unraveling the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which imposed restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and clouded the future of coal as a source of energy. It repeals the previous administration’s Climate Action Plan, which made radical environmental protection a priority throughout the federal government, and lifts an Obama moratorium on new leases for coal mining on federal lands.

Gloom and predictions of doom descended on the land at once. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, painted a future in dark and mournful colors: “Donald Trump’s executive order would let dirty power plants spew unlimited pollution into our air while ignoring the climate crisis, unraveling protections that are designed to save billions of dollars, and thousands of lives. In fact, Trump’s sweeping order is the single biggest attack on climate action in U.S. history, period.” He didn’t say whether the president’s order mandates abusing children and kicking puppies, but calling in the kids and the dogs might be a good idea.

Mr. Trump has promised to create jobs to enable working stiffs to share the American dream, and he has shown a particular passion for bringing back mining jobs eliminated by Mr. Obama’s “war on coal.” The green lobby demands that green energy jobs exceed fossil fuel jobs by a margin of 2.5 to 1 nationwide. But not all energy jobs are equal.

Fossil fuels still — still — produce 81 percent of the nation’s energy; renewable sources, including wind, solar, biofuels and other green technologies produce only 10 percent, and nuclear generation provide 9 percent. These are figures compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, revealing that a fossil-fuel work force less than half the size of the work force of the renewable energy industry generates nine times more energy. That’s the difference between work and make-work.

Climate change lobbyists should chill. It’s the rare American who prefers sooty air and oily water to blue skies and crystal-clear rivers and lakes. Only shivering ice-cave dwellers would cheer the forecasts of global warming. With 50 percent of Americans sharing climate concerns, according to Gallup, there’s no shortage of scouts watching for trouble in the air.

A keen-eyed builder like the Donald looks for results. With family median income flat for the better part of a decade, and greenhouse gas emissions in decline, a revival of the American economy requires a kick-start. It begins with eliminating foolish restraints on America’s abundance of energy.


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