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Trump team holds pro-coal event at Bonn climate conference

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ThinkProgress

It’s like “promoting tobacco at a cancer summit.”

ABOUT 200 PROTESTERS DISRUPTED A TRUMP ADMINISTRATION-HOSTED EVENT ON COAL AND NUCLEAR ENERGY AT THE U.N. CLIMATE TALKS IN BONN, GERMANY ON NOVEMBER 13, 2017. CREDIT: AP PHOTO

About 200 protesters disrupted a Trump administration-hosted event on coal and nuclear energy at the U.N climate talks in Bonn, Germany November 13, 2017. Credit: AP photo

Rather than presenting a strategy for meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement, the Trump administration’s delegation to the United Nations’ climate conference in Bonn, Germany, is using the talks to promote the U.S. coal industry.

At a U.S. government-sponsored event on Monday, for example, officials invited a top executive from St. Louis-headquartered coal giant Peabody Energy to help tout the benefits of burning coal in meeting the world’s energy needs.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who serves as the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for cities and climate change, said Monday that “promoting coal at a climate summit is like promoting tobacco at a cancer summit.”

Dave Banks, Trump’s special assistant for international energy and environment, countered that climate activists fail to understand world energy demand.

“This panel is only controversial if we choose to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the realities of the global energy system,” Banks said.

Holly Krutka, vice president of coal generation and emissions technology at Peabody Energy, included a slide in her presentation that stated “coal remains an essential part” of the world’s energy mix.

“The question and the discussion today needs to be not about if we will use coal, but how,” Krutka said. “And at Peabody, we are working to make it cleaner everyday through the deployment of technology.”

The phrase “clean coal” refers to expensive and mostly non-commercial technologies that reduce pollution and capture carbon dioxide when coal is burned.

Even Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, the country’s largest privately held coal-mining company, doesn’t believe in that. “Carbon capture and sequestration does not work,” Murray said in July. “It is neither practical nor economic.”

At the climate talks, officially known as the 23rd United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, participating nations hope to hammer out the details of exactly how to implement the Paris agreement.

The talks are taking place as the United States has ceded the world stage on climate action, an attitude typified by the Trump administration’s decision to officially announce its intent to withdraw from the agreement in June.

Climate protesters interrupted the panel discussion as Barry Worthington, executive director of the U.S. Energy Association, was emphasizing the importance of U.S. energy production.

The protesters sang a rendition of “God Bless the USA” that pointed to fossil fuel executives as responsible for rolling back action on climate. During the interruption, attendees displayed a banner that said “We the People,” with “Fossil Fuel CEOs” crossed out.

Worthington defended Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, arguing that fossil fuel companies face financial pressures from government regulators and their shareholders.

“We’re achieving the emissions reductions goals without having the regulatory burden” of the Paris agreement, he said.

catherine mcKenna coal tweet

As the Trump administration held its event, Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of Environment and Climate Change, tweeted that burning coal is “responsible for 41 percent of our global emissions” and that “phasing out coal represents a massive opportunity.”

In his statement issued Monday, Bloomberg said that half of all U.S. coal plants have been retired over the past six years, “thanks to market and community forces and leadership by cities and states.” That trend will continue no matter what happens in Washington, he added.

Last week, Bloomberg announced plans to donate $50 million to the European Climate Foundation to fight coal plants and fund research into the effects of burning coal on public health. In October, Bloomberg pledged an additional $64 million to support efforts by the Sierra Club and other groups to move the nation’s power sector off coal.

mike bloomberg fossil fuel tweet

Hundreds of cities and businesses, joined by a handful of states, promised to uphold the country’s commitments with or without the federal government.

Those cities, states, and businesses  —  collectively called the We Are Still In coalition  — are presenting a compilation of existing sub-national climate commitments to the United Nations at this year’s climate conference in Bonn. The coalition has opened a large tent pavilion outside a venue in Bonn.

Thanu Yakupitiyage of environmental group 350.org is coordinating a U.S. people’s delegation at the Bonn talks. “We stand as communities united against the Trump Administration’s fossil-fueled agenda. Despite the overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change, the Trump Administration continues to spread their lies even at these climate talks,” Yakupitiyage said in a statement Monday.

The U.S. People’s Delegation, including SustainUS, Sunrise Movement, 350.org, and other partners, is calling for a just transition to 100 percent renewables in all cities and states and a halt to all new fossil fuel projects.

Source: ThinkProgress. Reproduced with permission.  

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  • john

    They must look like fools.

    • mick

      they must like looking like fools

      • john

        I do not get it.
        Do you consider that copy into here {the Trump administration’s delegation to the United Nations’ climate conference in Bonn, Germany, is using the talks to promote the U.S. coal industry.}
        or what.
        Anyone who actually thinks that perhaps the direction the present administration looks like fools?

        Oops I get it ok already your said ” they like looking like fools”
        except they actually think they do not.
        We are living in an age where as I have said before
        “We are living in the age of the educated idiot”

        • mick

          the funny part is that peabody have just clawed their way out of bankruptcy now they go into truly hostile territory to flog the most expensive (bar nukes)form of energy, beggars belief bye the bye ive been trying to send an abc online article about ,foreign agents being required to come clean, while lobbying to clownavan ie this means you paisan

        • Joe

          ‘Educated Idiot’…luv that description…we are being governed by a party (LNP) full of ’em.

  • Chris Fraser

    They tried ignoring the energy revolution, they tried lies and propaganda, they tried to throw their weight around with political inertia and they tried sabotage, but they will always keep holding onto their fantasies.

  • DevMac

    “climate activists fail to understand world energy demand”

    The fossil fuel lobby fails to understand the existential threat of climate change.

    • Joe

      The FF Lobby dudes do understand but wilfully ignore it. Exxon knew for decades the link between FF and climate change. And how did these Trump Coaler dudes manage to hold a get together in Bonn?

      • Miles Harding

        They have friends there — specifically, our own government :((

    • Ian

      Also fail to consider the opportunities for energy efficiency

  • John McKeon

    I haven’t finished reading this article yet, but I have to say this: The fossil fuel lobby have got ……. thick hides. I mean really really very very thick hides.

  • Ken Dyer

    One can only hope that the American people kick Trump out sooner rather than later so that some sanity can return to the advance of renewable energy and inexorable climate change.

    • MaxG

      Too late… the neolibs are dismantling the planet the and the people are complicit of this loonies. IT is the people voting for these criminals. Al Capone was a Saint compared to these clowns.