Art & Entertainment Editor
After the surprising upset of Trump’s election, many Americans are worried for a multitude of reasons: How will he treat Muslim Americans and Mexican-Americans? Whom will he nominate to the Supreme Court? Whom will he appoint to his cabinet? How will he treat America’s allies? Will he overturn Roe v. Wade? The list of issues can at times feel endless. But one of the most troubling issues is his lack of concern for the environment and climate change.
President-elect Trump has stated before that he does not believe that climate change is real, and believes that it is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese in an attempt to hurt the American economy and American workers. President-elect Trump also stated that he is going to end the “war on coal” and lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale oil, natural gas, and clean coal. This is alarming, just as the Earth's rising temperature is alarming. It seems that if Trump does go through with his plans, American could no longer be a leading force in pursuing clean energy and combating climate change; in fact, this might make America a leading force in contributing to climate change. At least America will be great in something, right?
However, there may be some hope. The coal industry has been on declining swiftly for a number of years. Which is good news for the environment, but not the greatest news for those who have jobs in that field. This is simply because that coal-fired plants cannot keep up with America's energy needs. This is not because Americans are using more energy, but because coal is becoming obsolete.
“As recently as 10 years ago, coal-fired power plants provided half of America’s power needs. Today that number is closer to 30 percent — and falling. Coal is not likely to fade entirely from the scene any time soon, but informed analysts see its share of the U.S. energy mix dropping to less than 20 percent in the not distant future,” said David Schlissel in his article “Coal will not recover,” published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Those numbers are not sufficient enough to make America an energy independent nation, as president-elect wants to do.
Nonetheless, it is not just coal that is on its way out with the new era. Oil now has a growing competitor: lithium batteries. Oil has been a sign of economic and geopolitical power over the last century; the drive for oil has immensely shaped the world in ways that can not even begin to realize, wars have been fought over this black gold. It the fuel in vehicles, oil’s biggest purpose. Yet with electric cars on the way, lithium batteries will soon be at the forefront of travel. This new worldwide energy revolution has been off to a slow start, but it’s about to get a whole lot faster. Electric cars being priced more affordably, the ever-growing air-pollution regulations, and a global will to end climate change, is all going to launch the world further into the new energy revolution. Germany has promised to ban all combustion engine cars from being on the roads by 2030. Norway and the Netherlands are going even further by working on legislation that will ban all sales of gasoline-powered engines in the country by 2025. With the huge demand coming for electric cars, The Wall Street Journal has reported that gasoline demand will be reduced by 5 to 20 percent over the next two decades, assuming that EVs (Electric Vehicles) gain more than 35 percent market share by 2035.
This is all happening simply because of the rapid technological advancements in the clean energy field, according the International Energy Agency: “Renewable energy reached an important turning point last year with record new installations of emissions-free power surpassing sources that burn fossil fuel.” Their reports also show that over the next five years, renewable energy will become the world's fastest growing source of electricity. Surprisingly, this report came out before the Paris-Agreement. The Paris-Agreement is a treaty, ratified by 110 out the 197 countries present at the convention, to cut carbon emission by 55 percent. President-elect Trump however, has vowed to back America out of this agreement when he takes office. It seems that not only American’s are concerned about the Trump Presidency. China has promised to stop sending the U.S. iPhones and cars, and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that Europe should impose a carbon tax on American imports if the United States pulls out of the Paris-Agreement. It’s not just Americans who are worried about the Trump Presidency. Only time will tell how America is going to fit into the world’s energy revolution--and time may be running out of time.