Trump has declared war on our climate — we won’t let him win

Trump has declared war on our climate — we won’t let him win
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Seth McFarlane: Fox News makes me 'embarrassed' to work for this company  'Art of the Deal' co-author: Trump would act like Kim Jong Un if he had the same powers MORE declared recently in his State of the Union that his administration had “ended the war on American energy and clean coal.” In fact, what Trump actually did was declare war on our climate. We won’t let him win. 

Hiding behind rhetoric about our nation’s “crumbling infrastructure” isn’t a plan that makes America great. It’s a plan that makes America more polluted, worse off, and less prepared for the difficult century ahead.

Listen to mayors and governors across America and they’ll tell you that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing their communities. Whether it’s sea level rise in Miami or drought in Phoenix, the climate crisis is eating away at the foundational stability that our cities, states and country depend on. 

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Last year was the most costly year of weather disasters in American history, but it won’t be the last. Every credible scientific study shows that the damage caused by extreme weather like hurricanes and wildfires will only increase if we don’t take immediate action now. Reducing our carbon emissions and building 100 percent renewable, climate resilient communities should be one of our top priorities as a nation.

 

Instead, Trump and the Republican Party are offering an infrastructure plan that would make the climate crisis worse. At a time when we need to be moving towards 100 percent renewable energy, Trump is doubling down on fossil fuels. Instead of building climate resilient infrastructure, Trump is stripping away environmental reviews for pipelines. Instead of building sea walls, Trump wants to waste billions on a border wall with Mexico.

But it’s not just what Trump is proposing in his plan, it’s what he’s leaving out. By marrying his administration to fossil fuel companies like Exxon, Trump is foregoing the greatest job creation opportunity in American history: the renewable energy revolution.

Upgrading our economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy would be an enormous industrial undertaking that would create millions of jobs in the process. Trump’s plan leaves all of those jobs on the table.

Imagine all the work that needs to get done. Retrofitting every building in the country, building thousands of wind turbines with American-made steel, installing millions of solar panels,  rebuilding our mass-transit systems, creating a nationwide high-speed rail network, the list goes on and on.

A truly visionary president would propose a “Green New Deal,” a massive federal investment to create a new renewable energy economy that works for all of us. A Green New Deal would improve on the original New Deal with worker training programs, grants for local communities, and a call to action for our young people to create a more just and sustainable world.

It would make smart, targeted investments to make sure that the benefits of a new renewable energy economy went to those communities, often low-income and people of color, who have been worst impacted by pollution and climate change. It would bring our country together.  

At the federal level, we already have an example of the type of legislation this sort of plan would require with the “100 by 2050 Act” introduced last spring by Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyMSNBC reporter: Detained immigrant children 'effectively incarcerated' in Texas facility Dems unveil push to secure state voting systems Juan Williams: Trump's immigration outrage MORE (D-Ore.) and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) Sanders If Congress takes no action, the Social Security trust fund will become depleted in 2034 Ex-campaign manager: Sanders is still eying another presidential bid DNC chair backing plan to cut superdelegates opposed by Dem lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.). That bill laid a compelling way to achieve the goals above through clear targets, government investments, and smart regulations.

But since we can’t expect anything from Washington as long as Trump and his cronies are in charge, we need to take this vision out of the beltway and back to our communities across the country.

Now is the time to pass local resolutions that ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure and commit our towns and cities to a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy for all. 

Together, we can provide the vision that our president lacks. Our parents’ generation raced to the moon. Our generation is racing to make sure we can survive on our planet. This isn’t something that can wait, we need it fast. Without real leadership in Washington, we must turn to one another and build the fossil free world we deserve.

May Boeve is the executive director of 350.org, an international climate change campaign.