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If a marketer talked enthusiastically about "healthy delicious cyanide," what would you think?
You may wish to apply those judgments to mentions of "beautiful clean coal" by President Donald Trump, who used the phrase in Tuesday's State of the Union address.
Trump claimed his administration had "ended the war" on "beautiful clean coal," while noting correctly that U.S. energy production has increased.
While coal production has risen slightly, the bulk of U.S. energy production growth belongs to natural gas and oil, via new extraction techniques that use hydrofracturing (aka "fracking") and shale-oil recovery.
For the record, coal is the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive fuel used to produce electricity.
The same day the president spoke those words, his administration underscored its love for fossil fuels and contempt for renewable energy by proposing a 72-percent cut to funding for clean energy research projects of all sorts.
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As The Washington Post describes, the Trump administration is "poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019."
The paper's report is based on draft budget documents it had acquired before they are released.
The DoE had asked for more funding for clean-energy programs in its request to the White House, cognizant of the fact that the Chinese government is working hard to dominate global production of photovoltaic solar cells and lithium-ion battery cells, as well as electric cars.
The Post notes that while Congress may restore some or all of the cuts, the budget document submitted by the administration offers a statement of its intentions and policy priorities.
Proposals to decimate clean-energy funding align with previous positions taken by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a fossil-fuel enthusiast who has said he does not believe carbon dioxide emissions are the main cause for the earth's record-setting warming, as accepted climate science concludes.
Renewable energy has very little carbon footprint per kilowatt-hour, and 1 kwh produced in the most-efficient combined-cycle natural-gas powerplant has just over half the associated carbon dioxide as one produced in a coal plant.
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Carbon dioxide, of course, is the emission most responsible for human contributions to climate change.
As CityLab noted, unlike President Obama before him, President Trump did not mention climate change—nor the threat the Pentagon and other agencies agree it poses to both the U.S. and the world—in his State of the Union address.
He said the country had "endured fires, floods, and storms" without pointing out that climate change has exacerbated those extreme weather patterns
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