As Trump Talks Energy, Media Should Recall His Preposterous Track Record

››› ››› DENISE ROBBINS & KEVIN KALHOEFER

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is expected to discuss energy policies during a May 26 keynote speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. When reporting on his remarks, media should keep in mind Trump’s long track record of extreme and half-baked positions on energy and environmental issues, including repeatedly denying climate change science, vowing to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, and pledging to “renegotiate” the landmark Paris climate agreement.

Trump To Give Speech About Energy

Trump Scheduled To Deliver Keynote Speech At Petroleum Conference. Trump is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference co-hosted by the North Dakota Petroleum Council in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 26. Reuters reported that his remarks “may reveal for the first time how he will approach the energy sector if elected.” [Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, accessed 5/26/16, Reuters, 5/25/16]

Trump Would Dismantle EPA, Unravel Critical Global Climate Agreement

Trump Has Called The Environmental Protection Agency A “Disgrace” And Said He Would Dismantle It. In October 2015, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would “cut departments” if he were elected President, and Trump replied in part: "Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations.” Wallace then asked, “who’s going to protect the environment,” and Trump answered: “We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.” Additionally, during the CNN/Telemundo Republican debate held in February, when asked how he would pay for his proposed tax cuts, Trump replied that “we’re going to get rid of so many different things,” including “Environmental protection -- we waste all of this money. We’re going to bring that back to the states.” And during a Fox News town hall in April, Fox host Sean Hannity asked Trump if he would eliminate any federal departments as President, and Trump responded: “Department of Environmental [sic], I mean, the DEP [sic] is killing us environmentally, it’s just killing our businesses.” [Media Matters, 10/18/15; 2/25/16; 4/4/16; Grist, 2/27/16; Talking Points Memo, 4/5/16]

Trump Says He Would “Renegotiate” Historic Paris Climate Agreement. In a May interview with Reuters, Trump stated that he would renegotiate the Paris climate agreement “at a minimum.” From Reuters:

"I will be looking at that very, very seriously, and at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum I may do something else," the New York real estate mogul said in an interview with Reuters.

"But those agreements are one-sided agreements and they are bad for the United States."

Trump said he did not believe China, the world’s top emitter of the carbon dioxide gas that many scientists believe is contributing to global climate change, would adhere to its pledge under the Paris deal.

"Not a big fan because other countries don’t adhere to it, and China doesn’t adhere to it, and China’s spewing into the atmosphere," he said.

Trump’s claim that China will violate the agreement is completely baseless; experts say China is already well on its way toward meeting its obligations under the Paris agreement thanks to major investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. [Reuters, 5/18/16; Media Matters, 5/18/16]

Trump Is A Climate Science Denier

Trump Has Repeatedly Called Global Warming A “Hoax”:

  • During a campaign rally last December, Trump stated that global warming is “a hoax,” adding, “it’s a money making industry, okay? It’s a hoax.” [News Universe, 12/30/15, via League of Conservation Voters]
  • On January 29, 2014, Trump tweeted: "Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!" [Twitter.com, 1/29/14]
  • On January 26, 2014, Trump tweeted: “Any and all weather events are used by the GLOBAL WARMING HOAXSTERS to justify higher taxes to save our planet! They don't believe it $$$$!” [Twitter.com, 1/26/14]
  • On January 25, 2014, Trump tweeted: "NBC News just called it the great freeze — coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?" [Twitter.com, 1/25/14]
  • In a January 2014 interview with Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Trump railed against the “global warming hoax,” pointing out cold winter weather in New York and Texas and asserting: “I think the scientists are having a lot of fun.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/6/14]

Trump: “The Only Global Warming I’m Worried About Is Nuclear Global Warming.” Trump stated during a May 2016 Republican presidential town hall:

When I hear Obama get up and say the biggest threat to the world today is global warming, I say, is this guy kidding? The only global warming - the only global warming I'm worried about is nuclear global warming because that's the single biggest threat. [CNN, 3/29/16]

Trump: “I Am Not A Great Believer In Man-Made Climate Change.” In a meeting with the Washington Post editorial board, editorial page editor Fred Hiatt asked Trump if he thinks “climate change is a real thing? Is there human-caused climate change?” Trump responded:

I think there’s a change in weather. I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I’m not a great believer. There is certainly a change in weather that goes – if you look, they had global cooling in the 1920s and now they have global warming, although now they don’t know if they have global warming. They call it all sorts of different things; now they’re using “extreme weather” I guess more than any other phrase. I am not – I know it hurts me with this room, and I know it’s probably a killer with this room – but I am not a believer. Perhaps there’s a minor effect, but I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change. [The Washington Post, 3/21/16]

Trump Tweeted Global Warming “Was Created By And For The Chinese In Order To Make U.S. Manufacturing Non-Competitive. On November 6, 2012, Trump tweeted:

Trump Has Attacked Renewables While Promoting Fossil Fuels

Push To Develop Renewable Energy Is “A Big Mistake,” “Just An Expensive Way Of Making The Tree-Huggers Feel Good About Themselves.” In his book Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, which was published in November 2015, Trump wrote:

There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy--so-called green energy--from renewable sources. That's a big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don't buy that--and I don't--then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves. [Crippled America, p. 65, 11/3/15 via Google Books]

Trump Claimed Wind Is “A Very, Very Poor Form Of Energy.” In a March 2012 interview with Fox News’ On the Record, Trump stated:

Right now, green energy is way behind the times. You look at the windmills that are destroying shorelines all over the world. Economically, they’re not good. It’s a very, very poor form of energy. Solar, as you know, hasn’t caught on because, I mean, a solar panel takes 32 years — it’s a 32-year payback. Who wants a 32-year payback? The fact is, the technology is not there yet. Wind farms are hurting the country. [FoxNews.com, 3/16/12]

Trump On Oil Spills: “ You’re Going To Have An Oil Spill. You Clean It Up And You Fix It Up And It’ll Be Fine.” Trump said in a March 2011 interview:

I think it's incredible that we're going slow on drilling. I think it's beyond anything I've ever seen that we're going slow on drilling. there are always going to be problems. You're going to have an oil spill. You clean it up and you fix it up and it'll be fine. [Devonia Smith Political Transcripts Examiner, 3/16/11]

Trump On Fracking In Pennsylvania: “They Took Those Beautiful, Beautiful Natural Resources.” As The Fuse noted, Trump “has been an early and vocal supporter of fracking.” The Fuse quoted Trump criticizing New York State for banning fracking and praising Pennsylvania for allowing the practice:

Trump reiterated his support for fracking in New York in a speech in March 2016, stating, “Did you know, if they fracked in New York, New York would lower its taxes, would have no debt, would have made a fortune. Instead, Pennsylvania took all the money. They took those beautiful, beautiful natural resources, they took them out.” [The Fuse, 5/12/16]

Trump Unrealistically Claimed He Would Restore Coal Industry. At a speech delivered to an audience of coal miners in West Virginia, Trump claimed he would reopen shuttered mines and get coal miners back to work as president, pledging, “We’re gonna put the miners back to work. We’re gonna get those mines open.” However, multiple experts and fact checkers have rebutted Trump’s statements, explaining that Trump’s promise to restore coal industry employment is unrealistic, due to inexpensive natural gas, reduced demand for coal exports, and advances in mining technology. [Scientific American, 5/10/16; Media Matters, 5/11/16]

Trump’s New Energy Adviser Is Also Extreme On Energy And Climate

Trump Named Rep. Kevin Cramer As Energy Adviser. On May 13, Trump announced that he had picked Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) as his energy adviser. Reuters reported that Cramer will write a detailed report on his energy policy ideas, which will “emphasize the dangers of foreign ownership of U.S. energy assets, as well as what he characterized as burdensome taxes and over-regulation.” [Reuters, 5/13/16]

Cramer Is A Vocal Climate Science Denier. Slate’s Phil Plait noted that Cramer not only has“a long record of climate change denial,” but denies climate science to a“staggering” degree. Plait wrote (emphasis original):

[Cramer is] part of the tiny, tiny head-in-the-sand deniers who won’t even acknowledge the planet’s heating up. That line in the video where he says, “We know the globe is cooling; number one we know that” is from 2012, just a few years ago. We’ve known since long before then the planet is heating up, and the past few years the warming has gone into overdrive; each of the past seven months have been the hottest of those months globally. To actually say out loud that the Earth is cooling would make Orwell blush.

But he wasn’t done; he also added, “… the idea that CO2 is somehow causing global warming is on its face fraudulent.”

Holy. Baloney. He’s not just denying global warming, he’s denying a link between carbon dioxide and the planet’s increasing temperature. For the record, carbon dioxide being a greenhouse gas has been a matter of scientific fact since 1896. [Slate, 5/20/16]

Bloomberg: Cramer “Said He Would Go Further Than Trump” And “Walk Away” From Paris Climate Agreement Completely. In an article headlined “Kevin Cramer’s Ideas for Making American Energy Great Again,” Bloomberg reported of Cramer:

The self-described climate-change skeptic said he would go further than Trump, and walk away from President Barack Obama’s agreement to sign the Paris climate accord.

"I’m not Donald Trump, but I know that’s a bad deal," he said. "I’d be all for just pulling out." [Bloomberg, 5/19/16]

New York Times: Cramer Listed Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Rule, And Methane Emission Standards As “Regulations That Mr. Trump Might Do Away With If He Were President.” The New York Times reported that Cramer listed the following rules that Trump “might do away with if he were president”: “the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, currently pending in the courts, as well as a federal rule intended to protect waterways and wetlands, and a regulation setting standards for methane emissions that the Environmental Protection Agency completed last week.” [The New York Times, 5/20/16]

Cramer Joined Legal Efforts To Block Clean Power Plan. Vice News reported that Cramer was “one of dozens of members of Congress who signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon emissions from electrical plants by 30 percent by 2030.” [Vice News, 5/19/16]

Cramer Will Reportedly Advise Trump To “Roll Back” Clean Water Act And Clean Air Act. E&E News reported:

The North Dakota Republican, an energy adviser to Trump, told E&E Daily yesterday that he "fully intends" to discuss the U.S. EPA-Army Corps of Engineers Clean Water Act jurisdictional rule in more detail with the presumptive White House nominee.

[...]

If he were to advise Trump as president, Cramer said, he would suggest that he "tackle the Clean Water Act itself" rather than simply address the question of which waters fall under the scope of the law.

"[Let's] bring more clarity and specificity, more prescription to [the Clean Water Act], as well as the Clean Air Act and other broad authorities that have provided this opportunity for this type of mischief by administrations, be they Republican or be they Democrat," he said.

[...]

Cramer said he would expect the statutes to be rolled back in the first 100 days of a Trump administration, or over the two-year course of a Republican-held Congress. [E&E News, 5/24/16]

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