According to a new report from Bloomberg, the U.S. will seek to use money intended for climate change adaptation to promote the construction of new coal plants.
The plan, according to an anonymous official inside the Trump administration, is to use the Green Climate Fund to facilitate the construction of new coal plants abroad. The GCF is intended to provide funding for “low-emission and climate-resilient development” across the globe. According to its mission statement:
“GCF was established by 194 governments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, and to help adapt vulnerable societies to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.”
“Trump has made clear the U.S. won’t be sending any more checks to the fund as long as he is president, but the U.S. gets to keep a seat on the managing board for a year or more based on that previous $1 billion contribution.”
This means that even though the U.S. is no longer engaged in the fight against climate change, it retains the power to approve or veto GCF projects along with 23 other nations. The board has recklessly refused to impose a ban on funding for projects that call for increasing usage of fossil fuels.
Now the U.S. plans on exploiting its position on the GCF’s board to encourage the construction of “clean coal” and natural gas plants. Clean coal is a long-running pipe dream of the coal industry and the Republican Party. The idea is to use carbon-capturing technology to trap and store the carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Unfortunately, the technology doesn’t work.
Apart from oil, coal is arguably the worst source of greenhouse gases. As E.A. Crunden of ThinkProgress wrote:
“Coal itself releases more carbon dioxide when burned to produce electricity than any other fossil fuel — playing a staggering role in climate change. Mining for coal, moreover, is notoriously dangerous and takes a heavy toll on the environment.”
Green groups were quick to criticize the proposal. Karen Orenstein, the deputy director of the economic policy program at Friends of the Earth, said:
“This is not supposed to be a coal slush fund or a natural gas slush fund. This is a fund about sustainable development in the age of climate crisis.”
Trump was a vocal supporter of “clean coal” technology last year on the campaign trail. More recently, he premised America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord on the grounds that it would hurt U.S. coal workers.
Featured image via YouTube video.