Setting aside how closely (or poorly) our president represents the American people and our values, lets us look at his policies, namely his solar energy policy.
Trump is apparently quite content ceding America’s lead in solar energy to China. Trump’s 2019 budget proposes slashing the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy-efficient funding by about 75% and killing the ARPA-E* all together. he has held back $91 million in 2017 ARPA-E funding. meanwhile, 81% of the tax cuts doled out by the GOP controlled Congress (Toomey, Kelly, and Thompson voted yea) of the “excess” created by budget cuts went to the wealthiest 1%, on a permanent basis – this we get a clear look at of this Administration’s priorities.
Swampy, scandal laden EPA Chief Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Department of Energy’s Rick Perry – who as a Presidential candidate wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy – are Trump’s lead men in his solar energy policy.
Last January, Trump imposed a 30% tariff on imported solar equipment, which has hurt solar panel sales agent and installer jobs- America has twice as many jobs in solar as in coal- and it is the consumer who will pay the tariff’s extra charge.
China’s solar energy is booming. American government has traditionally subsidized basic research; Chinese government invests in both basic and applied science. china’s Huawei Technologies is the world’s largest producer of telecommunications equipment. It’s two square mile campus employs over 180,000. It is China’s epicenter for its solar energy industry. In 2017, it spent $13.8 billion on R&D, 15% of its income. Its main product is a suitcase size solar converter that changes solar energy’s D.C. into A.C. It controls 20% of the world market and it is growing. It’s solar science labs, solar energy farms, advanced solar batteries, electric cars, second generation solar roof cells/panels, and improved solar gird system has pushed China to the top.
Trump has called climate change to a Chinese ‘hoax”. Clean-air regulations have been rolled back. Trump withdrew us from the Paris climate agreement and he has pushed for increased use of fossil fuels, particularly coal. He has authorized additional off-shore oil and gas drilling and opened up national lands for exploitation.
Meanwhile, glaciers melt, oceans rise, eco-system changes threaten flora and animal lives, weather extremes are occurring more frequently, and the o-zone continues to deteriorate.
Trump’s energy policy ignores science, shuns our fellow G6 nations, is short sighted, and is backward looking.
China is beating us in innovation as we struggle with a leader who refuses to do the homework his position requires and accepts advice from only those who voice loyalty to him.
We need to pay attention.
* Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: to promote and fund research and development of advanced technologies