Donald Trump’s big speech on energy policy covered a lot of ground. In 45 short minutes, the presumptive GOP nominee promised to rescind the Obama administration’s executive orders regulating carbon emissions, drastically increase domestic oil drilling, force TransCanada to build the Keystone Pipeline, protect the quality of our air and water (but without any new regulations), prevent Hillary Clinton from abolishing the Second Amendment, end the epidemic of violent crime plaguing America’s major cities, build a border wall to keep Mexican immigrants from taking jobs from hardworking North Dakotans, and keep wind turbines from “killing all the eagles.”
Trump’s relentless focus on all these critical aspects of “energy policy” left him no time to address peripheral issues, like, for example, “global warming.” Granted, the Paris climate agreement did get a brief mention, but only as an example of why we should never give “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use.” (Trump promised to “cancel” the agreement right after he takes office.)
As Vox’s Brad Plumer notes, Trump’s energy policy is pretty much Mitt Romney’s energy policy “only with more exclamation marks.” Which is unfortunate, since Romney’s energy policy — which was already apocalyptically bad four years ago — makes even less sense today. Even if we assume climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese, that still doesn’t solve the other major obstacle to both the Keystone Pipeline and a dramatic expansion in domestic production: Oil prices are way too low for either to be economically tenable.
Nonetheless, Trump tried to pitch his plan for accelerating climate catastrophe as a populist crusade to increase economic opportunity.
“Hillary’s agenda is job destruction. My agenda is job creation,” Trump declared, before promising he would give people currently in poverty “everything” they’re looking for.
The Donald also promised that his energy policy would improve living conditions for the long-suffering avian American population.
“Wind is killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles, one of the most beautiful, one of the most treasured birds,” Trump said, arguing that America should increase its use of safer forms of energy, like coal and natural gas.
All in all, the speech was Republican orthodoxy, delivered without an ounce of subtlety — which, to be fair to the Donald, yields some rather fun one-liners.