Nothing like starting the week out with good news. Donald Trump decided when he ran for office that the substance of his administration would be to reverse engineer each and every thing that Barack Obama had ever achieved — irregardless of whether to do so was counter productive or not. Trump’s clean energy rollback is probably the most harmful backwards move that Trump has made, all things considered. But guess what? People aren’t going along with it. The auto industry is following California’s lead towards the future of energy-efficient automobiles, federal regulations or not. Salon:

The latest blow to the Trump clean energy rollback was an announcement by California and four major automakers — including Volkswagen, the world’s largest — that even if the president can persuade the courts to allow him to roll back the Obama administration’s improved regulations on pollution and efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, these companies would guarantee that their U.S. fleets meet a set of slightly modified standards devised by California for the model years 2022-25.

While Ford was the only U.S. automaker to sign, it’s still a huge step. (And Ford is hardly a bit player.) General Motors appears to be seeking more credit for its significant investment in electrification, and Fiat Chrysler, having turned itself into a niche brand that proudly produced the world’s best 20th-century cars — Jeep SUVs and Ram Trucks — simply whined. (Chrysler still doesn’t know how it will comply with the much laxer 2020-21 rules.) Toyota may be watching to see what GM does.

The agreement made clear that the Trump administration’s refusal to negotiate with California was rooted in its own stubbornness, not California’s unwillingness to make a reasonable offer. It further made clear that the auto industry feels deeply threatened both by the prospect of a US auto market split into two segments — one following strong California innovation rules, the other locked into yesterday’s auto technology. It also highlighted the degree to which clear mandates in other markets — particularly Europe and China — are maintaining the pace of progress toward clean, electric vehicles, and a recognition that U.S. automakers must keep up regardless of whether federal standards require that.

In other words, the car companies are moving forward sanely and productively, irregardless of whether Trump wants to stay locked in the past, with old energy technologies. Speaking of which, Trump’s lies to the coal miners about “all their jobs coming back” isn’t going to hold up for much longer, either.

And what of the other flank of the Trump assault on climate progress: His promise to bring back “beautiful” coal? The last month has seen a slew of announcements making utterly clear that the coal industry is on the way out as a source of electric energy. The Energy Department has conceded that coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation will continue to plummet – from more than 50% a few years ago, to 30% in 2017 and a forecast of only 24% this year. The largest coal power plant to fall thus far —  American Electric Power’s behemoth Rockport, Indiana, facility — has announced it will shut down. An all-Republican body of utility regulators in Georgia required Georgia Power not only to shut down much of its coal facilities, but also to embrace renewables, rather than natural gas, as the replacement. One analyst called this “the worst month for coal power in decades.”

The irony here is delicious. The utility regulators in Georgia are all Republicans and yet they still cannot maintain the self-serving fiction that the coal industry and the miners’ jobs are coming back. The miners were manipulated to vote for Trump because people like Franklin Graham were saying that, “there’s no self respect in computer programming. The men want to do the same jobs as their fathers and grandfathers.” Added to that, was the lie that Obama had “shipped the jobs overseas.” No. The jobs have folded, due to attrition, and cleaner forms of energy being developed worldwide. Technology and world markets are not going to stand still because Trump saw fit to lie to a segment of the U.S. work force. The march of progress can be impeded by the venal, and it certainly has been in this case, but it can’t be stopped. It will be amusing in 2020 when Trump tries to worm his way out of this one. Promises made, promises kept? The slogan should be changed to “bullshit slung, bullshit boomerangs.” That’s Donald Trump in a nutshell.


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    • They’re trying to kill wind and solar, though. There’s a proposed offshore wind area in New England that Himself and his loyal minions are delaying – and the companies trying to put in the turbines are unhappy, because the tax credits they’re supposed to get for doing it are going to go away at the end of the year.

    • People with brains know what they must do, and they’re doing it. Trump’s idiot base may be waiting for the coal mines to reopen and if they’re that naive, I do feel for them. I mean that. I’ve seen towns where there’s one industry, a mine, a factory, whatever, go broke and it’s tragic. People are uprooted, lives are impacted for the worse. It must always be borne in mind that the wheels of progress stop for no one. The energy alternatives you mention are the way of the future and that’s that.

  1. It’s articles like this that make me quote my favorite line in Matrix Revolutions: “About time we had some goddamn good news.”

  2. You know who else likes highly efficient vehicles?
    People who have to shell out their hard-earned dollars at the gas pump, that’s who.
    This is a win for everyone except the petrol industry.
    I bought a plug-in electric two years ago and will never go back to driving a fossil-burner.
    Truck Fump!!

      • Mine didn’t cost that much more than a gas-powered car, factoring in tax rebate (which Rethugs are trying to kill), and license costs which crooked Illinois Dumbocrats already killed.

        Public charging for any vehicle not sporting a Tesla badge is still a bit short, but it is improving.

      • To find out where you can plug in, go to and enter your zipcode.
        BTW, there are dozens of Leaf, Bolt and Tesla cars in my neighborhood, which has single family houses. I have only seen one house that has a charge station in the garage, most of the time the cars are simply sitting in the driveway or the street. I suspect most of them have access to charging at work or are simply using a fast charge station once in a while.
        With over 200 miles range, our Bolt only gets plugged in every couple of weeks, or when we need to leave town.


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