Energy policy based on backward thinking

President Donald Trump’s so-called energy policy is bad for America. It is nonsensical and based upon fallacies.

Let’s look at his decision to pull out of the Paris Accord. The president contends we need to renegotiate a better deal for America.

There is nothing in the Accord to negotiate; it is entirely voluntary for each nation. Trump ignores the advice of the overwhelming number of scientists who agree that climate change is not a hoax. NASA concludes that 97 percent or more of climate scientists agree.

NASA also lists as its sources such institutions as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of American and the U.S National Academy of Science.

Trump says the Paris Accords would only create a 2.5 percent decrease in global temperature. The President fails to realize that any decrease is a success compared to increasing warming. A 2.5 percent decrease in temperature would amount to a significant improvement.

The president claimed that environmental regulations have gotten out of control, and he is attempting to gut the Environmental Protection Agency but offers no supporting evidence. Government surveys have indicated that in many economic indicators, green states consistently outperform other states.

While Trump supporters might applaud his efforts to deregulate the environment for the sake of increased jobs, they should take note of the errors and falsehoods behind his philosophy. Let’s begin with the falsehoods.

Newly appointed head of the EPA climate change-denier Scott Pruitt recently claimed that 50,000 new jobs in the coal industry have been created under the Trump Administration.

PolitiFact called Pruitt out for that statement, saying 1,300 jobs were added since the fourth quarter of 2016. It appears Pruitt used data that included the logging industry. Coal jobs peaked in 1920 and have been declining since, according to the Brookings Institute. The long-term model of the coal industry has been increased production with fewer workers.

The Trump energy policy will not turn around the moribund coal industry. Trump proclaimed that “President Obama has done everything he can to kill the coal industry” when in fact the coal industry is on its last legs for a multitude of reasons, the least of which are regulations.

Production is expected to decline this year by as much as 40 million tons, per the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

The reason is wholly market-related. Coal prices, according to the aforementioned organization, are failing to increase enough to benefit shareholders or to stimulate new investment. The organization also said coal exports remain weak, and little or no regulatory relief can be expected since capital continues its flight from coal.

The institute summarized coal’s value as in decline because of market competition from natural gas, wind, solar and gains in energy efficiency.

Since there is no such thing as clean coal, and since new jobs created by alternative energy industries greatly outnumber those in coal, it is shortsighted, at best, to pull back the reins on alternative energy creation.

Doing so will only serve to place our economy in a weakened competitive state.