Death of the Clean Power Plan

President Trump signed an executive order today to dismantle the clean power plan.

The Clean Power Plan is a policy Obama passed in 2015 to reduce pollution from power plants, the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution. It aims to reduce carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants by 32% by 2030. The plan requires states to use low-emission fuel sources to meet standards.

We have not quite covered energy topic yet but to summarize –
i) Coal industry hasn’t been a major source of employment for a long time. According to Energy Department analysis coal mining now accounts for fewer than 75,000 U.S. jobs.
ii) By contrast, renewable energy now accounts for more than 650,000 U.S. jobs.

coal mining jobs trends NYT

Here is a scientific article on this executive order.
Bloomberg article

Based on what you know about climate change from this course and given this information, do you think this order might bring coal jobs back?  Do you think the economy will benefit from this executive order or do you think the environmental costs of the additional unchecked pollution and increase in carbon dioxide concentration will outweigh the economic benefits? Do you think the US will be energy independent as a result of this type of executive order?

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20 thoughts on “Death of the Clean Power Plan

  1. Unfortunately, given the facts from the articles, there are still too many questions to be answered in order to foresee whether eliminating the Clean Power Plan will rejuvenate enough jobs in the coal industry or lowering the average Americans’ electric bill.

    At face value, I am, of course, in favor of creating jobs when possible and lowering my bills. However, my concern with eliminating the Clean Power Plan is whether the increase in the oil industry would cause the climate changes to occur more rapidly with the emission of the increased fossil fuels.

    Although our electric bills may be lower (which cannot even be proven at this time given the contradictory studies), there may be increased costs down the road with regard to health bills as we cannot predict what the increased fossil fuels in our air will do to us. Also, speaking as a mother, it does occur to me that if the fossil fuels emission gets too bad, our children will have to make drastic, quick changes in order to reduce the emissions which would most likely be very costly.

    I think Americans, such as myself, are doing our parts with reducing our energy by using solar panels on their homes. However, I cannot imagine the US every being energy independent, whether as a result of this type of executive order or not.

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  2. There are a number of unknowns when it comes to this issue. However, I do not think that people will benefit from President Trump’s executive order. According to Scientificamerican.com NERA found that the Clean Power Plan could cause double-digit electricity price increases in many states. This is concerning and puts our economy at risk.
    I do not think that Coal Jobs will be brought back. The Clean Power Plan’s mission is to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry. Therefore, I believe that employment will reduce because of the shrinking industry sector. Although jobs are decreasing in the industry sector, they could spike in the solar sector, wind sector, and energy efficient sector.

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  3. I think that they should bring back coal jobs because the US needs as many jobs as possible. I know that there issues with peoples heath back when there were coal jobs leading us to end that too many lawsuits from workers. But I feel with the type of technology we have today that we could create a good mask for them to be safe in.

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  4. Based on my new found knowledge about climate change from this course and the given information, I do not think this order will bring coal jobs back. The reason being is I believe we Americans believe that we are too job for those jobs and we’ll look at coal jobs as beneath us. I think the environmental costs of the additional unchecked pollution and increase in carbon dioxide concentration will outweigh the economic benefits. I don’t care if the country benefits economically if we literally are polluting our country for economic and capital gain, I think it is stupid for us to do honestly. I do not think the US will be energy independent as a result of this executive order, I think our president will make us become dependent on one source of energy and it will kill our energy resources.

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  5. Trump does not believe that global warming is a thing so him undoing the Clean Power Plan put in place by Obama makes sense. However, I do not believe that this order will bring coal jobs back. To start off with many mines now use heavy machinery and don’t need the amount of bodies working in the mine that they once did. I also believe that some plants will continue on the path that they are already on to use more renewable resources and to find a cleaner source of energy, because to many living a healthy life is important. While people could gain jobs from this and benefit the economy, I think that they renewable energy market has taken care of that, as it supplies over 650,000 jobs for people in the US. They job supplied by the coal industry would not be worth the damage that the unchecked pollution and increase in CO2 will cause. I think that is up to the US as individuals to continue on the path Obama wanted, rather than taking Trump’s easy way out, simply because this planet can only take so much and we are already pushing it past its limits to a point we may never be able to turn around from.

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  6. I believe based on what I know about climate change from this course and given this information, coal jobs will not come back with this order. I believe that the negative effects of coal mining outweigh any possible positive effects. Coal mining would produce a very minimal amount jobs in the grand scheme of employment at the cost of putting people at risk of disease and death from emissions. Many people were effected by black lung disease, but it was not until the 1950s that the disease was understood. The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 was put in place by Congress to reduce dust, and create the Black Lung Disability Trust. The mining companies agreed to a clause that after 10 years of mining, if severe lung damage was found the workers would get compensation. The Trust was financed by a federal tax on coal, and by 2009 $44 billion had been distributed to miners and their widows. The economy will be losing money by bringing back coal mining jobs because of the environmental costs and increase in carbon dioxide concentration. The EPA requirements for building a new power plant would result in severely expensive production. Coal energy is not as efficient or clean as renewables. The coal industry being brought back will only add to global warming instead of cutting down on CO 2 emissions. The demand for coal is just going to continue to decrease with the rise of technology and environmentally conscience people. The Clean Power Plan could have been beneficial in lowering public health care costs, avoiding infrastructure expense, and avoiding unwanted costs from extreme weather events. I think that the United States does not have the resources in the surplus supply that it needs to be energy independent. This executive order does not take into account that the modern industries are wanting to progress forward with natural gases, rather than regressing backwards to the coal mining age.

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  7. I do believe that this order will bring coal jobs back. I do think that the economy will benefit from this executive order. I also think that the environmental costs of the additional unchecked pollution and the increase in carbon dioxide concentration will outweigh the economic benefits. At the same time, the US being independent with energy resources is huge. This is a very controversial topic and it’s easy to see why.
    The United States needs to be free from debt to other countries and being able to support ourselves would be an incredible thing. But at what cost? We need to think of the future and our future generations. While this might bring in jobs and more independence to the US, it’s going to be harmful for the Earth in the long run. If it were up to me, I would not have passed this order.

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  8. Coal is an energy source that produces lots of emissions into the environment. I think that with this plan we may see a slight re-surfacing of coal powered plants and coal jobs; however, I don’t think it will be drastic. I think that with the environmentalist today and with the Clean Power Plan the larger plants have begun to, or already have changed their ways to be more environmentally friendly and produce less emissions. Even if the Clean Power Plan was revoked I think going back to coal would be like going into the past and we have so much more technology now that is better for the environment. That said, I think that the cost to the environment will outweigh the economic benefits. I think that with this type of an executive order from President Trump the people are not going to be happy. Reducing emissions and making a cleaner environment has large importance today in preserving our earth for future generations. I think that the US may start to adapt new ways of energy in order to eliminate the central power. They may become energy independent.

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  9. Coal has never been a major employment area. With the clean coal plan now over I do think that their will be more jobs created but not enough for permanent job growth in the area. Coal is on the rise in America and with less regulation now there will more investment towards that energy resources. The environmental costs of this order are not worth the increase in coal energy. I do not think that the US will be energy independent from this executive order. It is disappointing that now the increase in pollution and carbon dioxide will not be stopped. The look over could cause huge problems in the future. Our money should be invested in green energy that does not put so much pollution out in to the world like wind, solar, or hydropower. All three have less of a cost on the environment and create more jobs in the job market. We are a top user of energy in the world and would need to create a lot more energy in order to be energy independent.

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  10. While the executive order may not further decrease coal mining jobs, I do not believe it will bring additional coal mining jobs to the economy either. I believe the environmental costs of increased pollution and carbon dioxide concentration will outweigh the economic benefits. Additionally, since the plan was designed to lower carbon dioxide emissions, while increasing the use of renewable energy, we are taking a step back. Since the Clean Power Plan was aimed at combating global warming, and has since been overturned by President Trump, I do not believe the United States will be energy independent as a result of the executive order.

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    • Trump would need to change a lot more then just dismantle the clean power act to bring back a high usage of coal. The U.S has already made substantial gains in the clean power industry. The price reduction of the installation and equipment required has enabled even the average homeowner to contribute to clean energy. While Trump may be making decisions based on who had given him support during his election he cannot turn back time. The technology will continue to get better and clean energy will be what the people are getting behind. Coal while antiquated and dirty is abundant but will not generate new employment.

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  11. I do not think that this order will bring coal jobs back. I think that the pollution and the amount of carbon dioxide that will enter the environment is not worth bringing these jobs back either. I think that it’s important to decrease our carbon footprint and this is one way that we can do this. I think that we should invest our money in some type of green energy where we won’t be polluting the environment since we do have the resources available to do so.

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  12. Getting rid of the Clean Power Plan will not bring back as many U.S. jobs as would be needed to benefit from the pollution. A 32% cut in pollution over the course of 15 years is a drastic and beneficial plan that keeps the future in mind. Focusing on jobs is a plan for the near future and keeping Americans stable and out of poverty. I think that this plan was beneficial in cutting down pollution and the job market for coal is not big enough to outweigh the pollution. Like stated above, there are so many more jobs in renewable energy, so why bring back a finite market when you have infinite power source?

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  13. ​President Trump’s decision to want to take back the Clean Power Plan can be detrimental to the future of our environment and not as helpful to the economy as he may think. The renewable energy industry has boomed in the past years and continues to grow at a steady rate. With these increasing rates of clean energy use, jobs in this sector are also increasing with them. Bringing back coal energy is only going to hurt the environment in the long run and bring back all of the costs that Obama was saving to begin with such as cost of healthcare and energy bill costs per home. Not to mention that if we bring back coal to a great extent and more fossil fuels are being released at extensive levels, we could be at risk for future potential extreme weather events that will cost us even more.
    Believing that revoking this plan would spike jobs in the coal industry is unrealistic with the decreasing demand for coal and technologically improving era. Jobs are no longer high in demand for the coal industry and the jobs gained would not be a greater benefit that outweighs the significant negative impacts of environment and economy that this will cause. Furthermore, people really have to think about the future availability of coal. There isn’t just a never-ending source of coal, it is a finite energy source. Once it’s used up (which would unsurprisingly be sooner rather than later if it is brought back and used at excessive rates), there will be even less jobs and no source at all. I believe that we cannot be dependent on one source of energy, however increasing the use of coal as energy is not in the best interest of not only the U.S. but the world as a whole and renewable, cleaner energy sources should be used as much as possible and fossil fuels should be used minimally.

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  14. In my opinion, this order could be good for coal workers of West Virginia and Wyoming, which are two of the states in America who have the most mining jobs. But, overall this order is terrible for the United States. Yes, it might create a handful of jobs but the United States, economically speaking, has more interest in growing its alternative energy sector. Again, states such as West Virginia will benefit from it but other states like California or Florida, it will not matter for them. Certain states will increase their investments in the mining industry most likely, but not enough state will do it which will not necessarily impact the United States. Since the United States exports about 7% of its mining coals, I do not think the economic benefits will be outweighed. This order’s goal in my mind is to create capital for corporations who own the mining fields to invest in new forms of energy since coal is a finite resource. Overall, on the short term, this order is good for the American economy but President Trump needs to plan for the long term by investing much more in alternative energy in order for the United States to be fully energy independent for the future generations of this country.

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  15. Ultimately I think the US will greatly suffer from the dismantling of this plan. Clean, renewable energy is the way of the future, period. We have seen from centuries of burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil that they are extremely dirty forms of energy, making the atmosphere and water supplies more acidic, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the water, land and atmosphere, and contributing significantly the overall rise in global temperature. It seems clear to me, spend money to make money. The more we invest in clean energy now, the less expensive energy becomes in the future and the less we need to contribute to the adverse effects of extra pollution. As far as bringing back coal mining jobs, who’s to say? Although now that we know the associated health risks as well as potential for bodily harm on the job, I can’t imagine too many people will be running back to the coal mines to earn a living.

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  16. I do believe this order will bring back coal jobs to American citizens. However, I do not believe that the amount of coal jobs that will be brought back will amount to the 650,000 jobs that were brought by renewable energy. The coal industry has not been a huge contributor for years when it comes to jobs. For someone who does not believe in global warming, like President Trump, the attempt to bring back the coal industry makes sense. The coal industry is very dangerous, but it has been proven to work in the past. The only problem with bringing back the coal industry besides the environmental issues, is that most power plants are turing to natural gas instead of using coal for fuel. Another problem with bringing back the coal industry is that medical technology has advanced and it is now known the problems that come with mining.
    I do not believe that the economy will benefit from this order only because power plants are changing the way they fuel with natural gas and other forms of renewable energy. Just because this order allows coal to be used again, does not mean that plants will have to change the way they have been getting fuel the past few years. I believe that this order will make the U.S. energy independent.

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  17. Based on the new gained knowledge from this course i do not think coal jobs will be coming back to the U.S for a multitude of reasons. First, the economy right now is growing and people are investing in greener energy sources and coal could be seen as the cheaper way out. If we were to hit a small recession in the economy and we were no longer able to afford the expensive energy sources then we could potentially bring back coal jobs. I do think we could benefit from this order because it gives us a fall back plan. This could make us more dependent on other countries for this resource and could cause potential conflicts of interest.

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  18. This is a mistake to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. No one knows whether Global warming would be a problem now if we act 50 years ago with the information that we know now. Jobs are important, and I get that it may benefit the unemployed, but it shouldn’t outweigh the importance of minimizing of carbon admissions. Coal hasn’t been a major draw for job since trains were invented, so it a stupid to do away with the Clean Power Plan. Further more, there will not be a big increase in coal mining because that type of power is outdated and will soon be forever part of history. Clean and renewable energy is the future and do fight against it is bone headed.

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  19. The United States is in a time of desperation when it comes to jobs. Coal mining is one way to bring those jobs back. Many people back in the 1900’s dies from health issues from coal mining. Today is a lot different then back then. There are precautionary measures that can be taken in order to prevent that danger. Essentially, after reading, it think the environmental costs of increased pollution and carbon dioxide concentration will overpower the economic benefits. Because the plan was designed to lower carbon dioxide emissions, while increasing the use of renewable energy, we are making a mistake.

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