Officials attending a UN climate change conference are livid that officials with the Trump administration are using the talk to hype up how fossil fuels can help reduce global warming.
An adviser to President Donald Trump is expected to take part in a pro-coal presentation during the so-called COP23 conference in Bonn, Germany. Participants believe it’s “beyond absurd” to champion fossil fuels at an event designed to brainstorm solutions to climate change.
“It is undeniable that fossil fuels will be used for the foreseeable future, and it is in everyone’s interest that they be efficient and clean,” a White House spokesman told reporters Monday, referring to Trump’s efforts to promote fossil fuels at the G20 meeting this year.
Activists were not buying that position.
“Fossil fuels having any role in tackling climate change is beyond absurd. It is dangerous,” Andrew Norton, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, told reporters about Trump’s reasoning. The conference is “no place for pushing the fossil fuel agenda,” he said, adding that the White House must pitch a more realistic approach.
U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, meanwhile, have fallen about 12 percent since 2005, due primarily to the increased production of natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing, according to a report earlier this year from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA’s report attributes falling CO2 emissions to “decreased use of coal and the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.” Natural gas emits about half the CO2 of coal power and is already cheaper than coal in many locations due to fracking.