As the transition process begins from the Obama administration to the Donald Trump administration, the press and clean energy advocates are anxious as to whether progress toward a renewable energy future will be undone.
Rest assured, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief Gina McCarthy insisted in a speech to the National Press Club, that progress achieved in battling climate change and expansion of the solar and wind industries will not unravel under new energy policies proposed by president-elect Donald Trump and his transition team.
“We’re in a spectacularly different place today than we were when President Obama took office. Before, developing countries pointed a finger at us. Now, they are wondering if the US will turn its back on science and be left behind. The choice is ours,” said McCarthy. “The inevitability of our clean energy future is bigger than any one person or nation. It must be guided by a simple, profound truth: we don’t have to choose economy or environment. We can, and must, choose both.”
McCarthy stated that under the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and the 2015 Paris Climate Accord the US has cut carbon emissions 24 percent below 2005 levels and the reduction plan is 7 years ahead of its 2030 goals.
“24 states had lower emissions in 2015 than their 2022 annual goal, including states like Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. The Energy Information Agency estimates that almost 70 percent of new utility-scale generating capacity expected to come online in 2016 will be zero-emitting, mostly solar and wind,” McCarthy said.
She discussed how Obama’s policies have invigorated job growth, investment and development of clean energy sources like solar and wind through the establishment of renewable energy policies on federal and state levels. Yet she reiterated that the transition toward a clean energy economy is not the result of the CPP entirely, but only a part of a transition that has been underway since the historic signing of the Clean Air Act of 1970.
Even though the CPP policies and actions have proven successful, detractors like coal companies and conservative states have organized to fight clean energy policies and EPA regulations, and such obstacles could continue. For instance, in October 2015, 24 states filed a lawsuit against the EPA citing that the CPP over stepped its authority to undermine the coal industry and would ultimately hurt the local and state economies by eliminating jobs. Similarly, in February (2016) the US Supreme Court temporarily blocked the implementation of the CPP after clean energy advocates had gained support for the program at the state and federal levels.Tweet