During the same interview, Pruitt also erroneously suggested “China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030.” Actually, they have 2030 emissions curbing targets, which they are working toward now. In particular, China appears to be working incredibly hard to achieve these goals.
He also suggested that the country can use “clean coal”, a low-carbon footprint fuel that actually does not exist.
There are two notes of hope here, though. Firstly, as we have previously pointed out at IFLScience, the entire planet is working to cut their carbon emissions. Imperfectly, for sure, but it is, for the first time in history.
From superpowers like China to major businesses and even the petrochemical industry, almost everyone agrees that coal and oil are falling out of favor. The economic and environmental costs just are not worth it any more, and market forces are ensuring that renewable sources of energy – in particular, wind and solar – are becoming increasingly cheap.
Secondly, America is actually on track to surpass the emissions cutting targets set out during the Obama administration. Trump may have recently signed an order that rescinded much of these climate change prevention measures, but it’s essentially already too late – thanks to the spread of renewables around plenty of US states and the decline of the coal industry, America is over a decade ahead of schedule in this regard.
So Pruitt can wax lyrical about a new era in environmental deregulation, he can talk about how coal is going to make a comeback, and he can bluster on and on about how the Paris agreement is a bad deal for America.
The reality, however, is that he and others in the Trump administration are on a very lonely island here – and the tides of change are rising around them, and fast.