WASHINGTON – President Trump insisted today he’s an environmentalist – but he had a peculiar way of showing it.
After skipping a key meeting of world leaders at the G-7 summit on climate change, Trump said he would not jeopardize the profits of the oil, coal and natural gas industries by promoting clean, renewable energy.
In a news conference at the end of the summit, Trump told reporters, “I’m an environmentalist. Most people don’t understand that.”
“I wonder why?” asked EWG President Ken Cook. “If he’s an environmentalist, I’m the prime minister of Greenland.”
Trump said his administration has taken major steps to increase U.S. energy production, including recent moves to open up drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet. I've made that wealth come alive,” said Trump. "I’m not going to lose that wealth. I’m not going to lose that on dreams. On windmills."
In April, wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources for the first time generated more energy in the U.S. than coal-fired power plants, according to an analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Looking ahead, the U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates the bulk of new electricity generation will come from wind and solar.
Transitioning away from coal and other dirty energy sources would also mean big improvements in Americans’ health. A new study by analysts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Washington found that doubling the amount of renewable energy in nine Rust Belt and mid-Atlantic states could yield $20 billion in public health benefits.
“Trump’s dismissal of renewable energy and embrace of fossil fuels is a shameful reminder that the president of the United States stands virtually alone among the world’s leaders in ignoring the dangers of global warming,” said Cook. “Going all in on renewables will create high-paying jobs, cut carbon pollution and help avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”
Since taking office, Trump has aggressively sought to repeal domestic policies the Obama administration implemented to decrease carbon dioxide emissions. In 2017, Trump pulled out of the Paris climate pact, leaving the U.S. the only nation not part of the global agreement to slow greenhouse gas pollution.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.