by Ken Boddye
Yesterday we learned that the Trump Administration is preparing to withdraw us from the Paris Climate Accord. As David Axelrod told CNN, this is being done as a political move to keep campaign promises made to his base during last year’s election.
Couldn’t he have broken this one and instead kept the one about NOT cutting Medicaid?
Withdrawing from the agreement has more repercussions than the obvious. Yes, this marks an end to the U.S. being a leader on limiting carbon emissions, which puts us back on a collision course to not having a planet anymore. That’s bad enough. But it gets worse — it also creates a power vacuum among the nations still in the agreement; one that China is already seeking to fill. China has already begun a fundamental shift toward solar, and they’re plan could very well be to eventually start cornering the market on energy.
Just think about it: them having a strong position in the export of goods AND energy to other country. Thanks, Trump.
At the same time, Republican Candidate for Virginia Governor Ed Gillespie has been touting his own energy plan, which is basically as terrible as you’re imagining. Per his campaign website:
I will champion agriculture – Virginia’s first industry – and redouble efforts to expand exports and open new markets for Virginia products. I will fight back against onerous federal actions, rules and regulations that limit Virginia’s ability to safely utilize our bountiful natural resources. I will work with the Trump Administration and our Republican majorities in Congress to expand the production of safe, reliable and affordable energy in the Commonwealth, including the development of oil and natural gas reserves off our deep sea coast and stopping the regulatory assault on our coal sector.
Yes, you read the words “safe,” “oil,” and “coal” all in the same sentence. In 2017. After the BP oil spill, mine-related health epidemics, and pipeline problems we’ve had over the years. Offshore drilling is apparently a swell idea to Ed, and he’s hungry to work with Republicans in Congress to cut those pesky regulations. The ones that keep us from killing our planet further.
This is yet another reason why our elections here in Virginia this year are so important, Kos readers.
The Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and all 100 House of Delegate (lower state house) seats are up for election this year. The next Governor and House of Delegates will have a massive role in deciding Virginia’s energy future as Trump continues to walk away from Climate Justice.
A surge of awakened Democrats with grassroots power is just what we need in order to counteract all of this, and ensure we get the right people in place on June 13th and November 7th.
A strong Democratic Governor backed up by a Democratic-dominated House of Delegates could set the tone for the next four years by:
- Giving the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) the teeth it needs to properly enforce existing regulations here in the commonwealth.
- Strengthening existing regulations and protections to make up for the weakening of the EPA. A few weeks ago, Governor McAuliffe signed an executive order to begin cutting carbon emissions in Virginia. We should be following his lead.
- Moving away from the energy monopolies of Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, which currently have a stranglehold over the commonwealth’s energy sector. This includes allowing for true community solar and opening the state up to companies like Tesla.
- Banning fracking and offshore drilling outright, and standing against pipelines like the fracked-gas ones currently being constructed in the commonwealth.
- Creating thousands of jobs by creating programs that retrofit infrastructure and public buildings with solar panels, wind turbines, and high efficiency windows and roofs.
Virginia has what it takes to become a leader in energy independence, and shift toward a 100% renewable energy grid in a couple of decades. We just have to have the will to fight for that kind of progress. And it starts with you.