From President-elect Trump's campaign statements to the choices of his advisors, we have every reason to be very concerned about his intentions when it comes to climate change. It is likely that we will be facing a Trump administration attempt to reverse the climate progress achieved by President Obama—and the world—over the last 8 years.
Such radical actions would not make economic, security or political sense. Climate change is the central crisis of our time. Our planet has been telling us, in every way it knows how, that we must act swiftly to slow, stop and reverse climate change. The last few years have been the hottest on record. Storms, wildfires and droughts all take a terrible toll on our communities. Spanning party divides, seven in ten Americans want real action to fight climate change. Climate action benefits everyone.
Tens of millions of Americans will not allow attempted reversals of climate action go unchallenged. Any attempts to reverse climate progress will feel the heat from NRDC and our allies—in court and through massive public opposition. We will be there at every turn to hold the new President accountable.
And internationally, the U.S. risks condemnation and surrender of our current status as a global leader. There will be a steep price to pay if Trump attempts to abandon the Paris climate agreement, undermine the Clean Power Plan, or throw open more public lands to fossil fuel leasing.
Not only does attempting to turn back the clock on climate progress not make sense, the path forward is coupled with the opportunity to create millions of good-paying middle class jobs, increase our security, increase our energy independence and maintain U.S. status as a respected world leader. This is an opportunity that the next Administration denies at its peril.
Denial won’t help our communities survive climate impacts. Denial won’t build America into a clean energy leader with 21st century jobs at home and respect abroad. Denial won’t make us more secure.
So when we hear about plans to dramatically ramp up fossil fuel production, we can see that this would go counter to making America stronger. It is our own communities that will pay the steep price of dirty energy through toxic air pollution, drinking water contamination and climate change. Further, oil is tied to the global market in ways that mean we will never be energy independent with oil as our mainstay. And bipartisan groups of military leaders have clearly shown the national security risk that climate change poses.
Clean energy is inevitable: it is the direction in which the market and technology is already heading. The question is not if but how fast. Speed matters when it comes to curbing climate change. It matters for the future of our economy and the well-being of our children.
Propelling our clean energy future, we see prices for wind and solar falling dramatically. We see utilities and states moving towards clean energy because it makes economic and technologic sense as well as being better for public health. We see electric vehicles on the rise. And we know that homegrown solar and wind and the savings from energy efficiency are the best way forward for true energy independence, while also helping the pocketbooks of people throughout America.
Leadership in clean energy also means leadership in a growing global clean energy economy. Countries around the world continue to move to curb climate change and put clean energy in place. The election of Trump came while global leaders were meeting in Morocco for the international climate conference of the parties to the Paris agreement. After the election, the major coal exporter Australia ratified the treaty and a China representative made it clear that China’s global leadership on climate would continue with or without U.S. partnership. Even Exxon said that the Paris agreement is important to address the serious risks of climate change.
Climate change is barreling ahead and the need to curb climate pollution grows ever more acute. A U.S. administration that expands fossil fuel production and turns back climate pollution regulation is a government that is out of step with growing appetite for clean energy, out of step with state and cities climate actions, and out of step with the direction the rest of the world is taking.
Here at home and around the world, the resolve to fight dirty energy and climate change continues to grow. However much damage can be done by a Trump Administration that goes the path of slowing progress and doubling down on expensive and dirty fossil fuels. If they take that path, Trump and his party will bear responsibility for producing a toxic, climate-destroying legacy. The ball is in their court.