Last week, President Donald Trump sent a group of fossil fuel industry representatives to the U.N. Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany to promote “beautiful, clean coal.” It didn’t go well.
The U.S. delegation started by peddling one of the Trump administration’s favorite lies: clean coal. Almost immediately, people in the room — mostly Americans — stood up, sang an altered version of “God Bless the U.S.A.,” turned their backs to the panel of White House officials and walked out, The Intercept reports.
The event then continued before a room filled mainly with journalists with Trump administration officials and their chosen partners — natural gas, coal, and nuclear companies — promoting a global vision for continued coal production along with a scale-up in nuclear and natural gas.
The fact that the presentation revolved so heavily around the so-called clean coal shouldn’t come as a surprise. The phrase has been one of President Donald Trump’s go-to talking points since early on in the campaign trail. At a rally in Phoenix this summer, he announced that, “We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal. … They’re going to take out clean coal — meaning, they’re taking out coal. They’re going to clean it.”
The conference, which ends on November 17, has brought together 25,000 participants to discuss climate change-related issues and the progress signatory members are making towards fulfilling CO2 and other pollutants reductions.
By using the event to lobby for coal, the Trump administration is prioritizing economic growth over human survival. This should disturb anyone interested in living in a world defined by anything other than climate catastrophe.
“Clean coal is a very, very dangerous word,” said Corinne Le Quéré, director of the U.K.-based Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, according to The Intercept. “I don’t think coal is clean at all,” she told the publication.
“Coal is dirty and produces a lot of emissions. It doesn’t produce as much energy for the emissions as oil and gas. Period,” she added.
Under Trump’s presidency, the U.S. stands alone on the world stage in its outright endorsement of climate denial, and most Americans are at odds with the Trump administration’s position.