Trump presidency: a new era for renewable energy in the US?


November the 8th 2016: the election of Donald Trump as president of the US may have determined a huge shift away from clean energy.
In the last years, the share of renewable energy in the American energy supply has increased substantially.
Installed wind capacity has grown by more than 40% in the US since 2011, according to the Georgetown Climate Center, with solar capacity ballooning by 577%.
The US Energy Information Agency has said new coal-fired power plants are “not economically competitive with renewables and other generation sources”, with existing facilities soon to come under pressure from clean energy.
Trump campaigned hard in coal country, promising to put miners back to work by slashing pollution restrictions, which would have forced the utility sector to use more renewable energy. Most of the coal industry’s biggest players have gone bankrupt over the last two years, in large part because of ill-conceived bets on the future of Chinese economic growth. Even coal barons who backed Trump admit the coal industry isn’t coming back.
Trump’s victory, however, threatens this trend, with the president-elect promising to abolish the Clean Power Plan, cancel all federal money for clean energy development and “unleash an energy revolution” by opening large areas to coal, oil and gas interests.
Actually, United States, which is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after China, ratified the Paris accord in September, through an executive order from President Barack Obama. The fact that it wasn’t backed by the Senate would make it easier for Trump to unpick the legislation.
Ahead of the November 8 election, Trump – who campaigned on a promise to return jobs and industry to America’s “rust belt” states such as Ohio and Michigan – vowed he would “tear up” existing climate treaties. Even as far back as 2012, he tweeted that global warming was “a hoax” and that it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”
 US President-elect Donald Trump made his comments on climate change to “The New York Times” on Tuesday 22th of November, saying he would re-examine a campaign pledge to pull out of the COP21 Paris Agreement.
At the meeting with the editorial staff of the NYT, Trump also reportedly distanced himself from the “alt-right,” a loose collection of far-right, nationalists and white supremacists who hailed his election, and rowed back on an election pledge to have his former election rival Hillary Clinton investigated. “I think it would be very, very divisive for the country,” “The New YorkTimes” reported Trump as saying.
Trump has also appeared to relent on former enmities, offering one-time bitter primary rival Ben Carson the Housing and Urban Development portfolio.
If Trump make good on his promises, the U.S. won’t be the only developed country flirting with a fossil fuel so dirty its emissions shroud cities like Beijing in dense, toxic smog. Japan; still reeling from 2011 disaster at the nuclear power station in Fukushima; plans to build a dozen new coal-fired plants, pollution from which could cause up to 10,000 premature deaths. Australia, which rolled back environmental regulations under “environmental vandal” Prime Minister Tony Abbott, struggles with some of the dirtiest coal-fired plants of any rich country.
It’s unclear, however, whether utilities will reverse the trend away from coal in favor of cheap natural gas and renewable technologies that are increasingly cost competitive.

At the same time the European Union has built global leadership in renewable energy with its ambitious policies and pioneering businesses. Renewables powered almost 16% of the EU energy sector in 2014. Today, 27% of the EU’s electricity is renewable and the share is expected to reach 50% by 2030. The EU’s framework to achieve a 20% share of renewable energy by 2020 has been instrumental in delivering this incredible growth and is at the core of Europe’s leading position.
The success of the European Union is an inspiration to countries around the world and as many as 164 states now have renewable energy targets.
As Europeans we may lead the green revolution and, hopefully, keep making the path for the US as well. We hope that US will continue to follow this transformation as the presidency Obama has done.

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