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Despite Trump Vows, Coal Industry Falling as Wind Power Surges in US and Worldwide

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/19/despite-trump-vows-coal-industry-falling-wind-power-surges-us-and-worldwide

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The transition form hydrocarbons to renewable sources for our energy was something that was being promoted over 40 years ago. Instead of beginning the transition at that time the nations of the world decided they would continue relying on hydrocarbons as a major energy source.

That 40 years has wreaked havoc with the environment in more ways than the GHG emissions on their own and has lead to political conflict and wars the world over so as to control those sources. Just imagine how much better off we would be if we made that choice all of those years ago.

Given that example of history and of how wrong it was to take the hydrocarbon path, it is absolute insanity to make that same choice again.

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The Reagan administration got in office by cheating, secretly negotiating with Iran the “October Surprise” to not release the USAmerican hostages during the campaign, to hurt Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid. The hostages were released 20 minutes after Reagan’s inauguration.

Once in the Oval Office, Reagan’s team then secretly sold powerful rocket weapons to “our avowed enemy Iran” (the US promoted war and destabilization between Iraq and Iran, while the Carter Doctrine declared Middle Eastern oil reserves to be within the national security and military purview of the USA). The Reagan Administration used the proceeds of the illegal black-market sales to Iran, to fund the illegal Contra War in Nicaragua (Congress had explicitly blocked funding for the Contras). They got caught red-handed in the “Iran-Contra Scandal”, but a corrupt Congress let Reagan slide without impeachment, and Presidential pardons by Bush the Elder got other Administration crooks off.

Carter was no saint at US foreign policy, or ecological policy. But had we made a small shift in the opposite direction in 1980, a shift toward renewables that Carter had already begun (symbolically placing PV solar panels on the White House roof, which Reagan symbolically removed on his first day in office), compared to the stooge neoliberal/neocon front-man Reagan, and the now 40 years of accelerating havoc wrought, rather than the road to utter catastrophe that ensued as Reagan “deregulated” the economy and “privatized” government functions along with the dwindling commons. Launching 40 years of bi-partisan neoliberal/neocon rule that we still suffer under even with the irrational narcissistic bullying stooge Trump installed.

As Cole indicates, perhaps the single worst crime of the neoliberal/neocon coup in the USA that was launched by the people who used Reagan as their affable front-man… perhaps the single worst outcome was the willful genocidal ecocidal collaboration with fossil fuel interests to block acknowledgement of climate disruption.

It’s precisely the kind of corruption by specific interests that Eisenhower warned too late about in his farewell address coining the phrase Military-Industrial[-Congressional] Complex.

This putrefying corruption needs to be outed, and ended. Perhaps the climate catastrophe provides the shock of recognition that humanity needs to comprehend the nature of the systemic rot.

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But how will the U.S. be able to democratize (steal) wind and solar from other countries?

The only thing I worry about with wind is all the birds they kill and the EM fields they create around them. Solar is the way to go, wind Is transitional. And why does no one ever talk about magnets? There are roller coasters that run on magnets. Why not trains? They practically eliminate friction and have no emissions. C’mon people. Hemp and magnets for an economy that works.

It’s great to see renewables coming on line and coal being replaced.

But the sad reality is, CO2 emissions are still going up.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel.
More internal combustion engines added to the mix daily.

 I fully agree with the intelligent views posted here regarding this topic. 
 I would like to contribute a human story, as this issue impacts our environment, the working poor, and many species, in addition to corporate greed and ineffective energy management, to simplistically tip the iceberg of this issue..
 I am a coal miner's daughter, and want to share my father's words and story.
 My father thankfully is alive, but in poor health.

My father is in his 70’s, which for a coal and uranium miner is a long life indeed! Of all of the men my father ever knew from working these fields, only himself and one other gentleman are alive today. Most of the men began dying off from their 40’s-60’s from various forms of cancer, or lung diseases, including my grandfather. My father has cancer, black lung, and heart disease, and considers himself “lucky”, as last year he was awarded black lung benefits that will transfer to my mother if he dies before her. His benefit for this sacrifice is $1000 dollars a month, which will almost double my Mother’s income so that she may survive on social security, with $1300 as her benefit amount from a lifetime of working, often two jobs.
My father makes $200 more than her in social security, having dedicated his life to toxic industries for little over $1 an hour in the 70’s.
He is “grateful” that he is able to provide her this comfort with his black lung benefit.
This to me is heartbreaking and appalling that a man is so used and grateful for a pittance for a lifetime of hard dirty work, statistically aligned to kill him painfully.
Additionally, Medicare makes seniors pay for every doctor visit or prescription, pay for another form of insurance as a condition of benefits, denies food stamps to most elders, and basically takes back so much money at the end of life from people that pay in from their wages.
They are the lucky ones, as social security may become obsolete soon.
I digress a bit, but want to point out the human cost of working in America, and the sad reality that coal is deadly to the employees.
Great idea to push for this destructive energy source, Mr. Trump! I dare you to send yourself or your offspring into this hell hole profession!
The primary reason coal went out of favor is that many coal industries went bankrupt due to the human toll of premature death that eventually they became responsible for compensating!!
This is truth…

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I like Cole and his hopeful take in a pretty hopeless situation (not enough being done fast enough).

But the Trump-centric focus is a misstep - Trump mainly embodies longstanding positions and attitudes and policies of the US right - political, corporate, and popular - as well as its those of its liberal, anti-GND enablers.

Yesterday, the NYT nominated Warren and Klobuchar less for any political position than for their ‘proceduralist’ approach to politics - at the same time, rejecting the transformative populism of the Sanders movement, which not only can beat Trump, but can sweep people up into demands for radical climate action now. The NYT’s liberal attitudes thus are as responsible for the failure to enact a national GND as the views of the right.

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