Trump's Energy Policy Shows Global Vision
Perhaps no other policy has felt such a distinct change in direction during the Trump Administration than America’s energy policy. It’s a truly global vision that can have lasting impacts on this country and the world. Trump has taken energy from Obama’s Carter-style hand wringing to repositioning America as the world’s dominant energy producer and supplier. America’s position as the lynchpin in the global energy system is central to administration’s approach to both economic prosperity and national security.
While his opponents often deride the President’s “America First” mantra, his steadfast position that he will never surrender our sovereignty to unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracies has helped fuel this shift on energy policy. His decision to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate accords enables us to use our energy industry to the benefit of our friends and allies around the world.
We are shipping liquefied natural gas to Poland and coal to Ukraine, while rolling back Russian control of their energy supplies. Trump understands that the best way to counter Russian aggression is to limit their energy dominance of Europe.
No other country has the combination of fossil fuel reserves – coal, gas and oil – and the innovation and entrepreneurial drive to bring them to market than the U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has spoken of America leading a global alliance of countries wanting to make fossil fuels cleaner. The latest round of the UN’s never-ending climate talks in Poland has been an occasion for the administration to showcase Trump’s views on the importance of cheap, affordable energy to our allies and their economies.
The Trump Administration held a side-event at the conference on cleaner fossil fuels. It was a bold move that sent a direct message to China.
The aim of this year’s UN climate talks is to agree to a process for implementation of the Paris agreement. As the President predicted, China is already demanding that developing countries are treated differently from developed nations. The President was prescient here. If America stayed in the pact, our businesses and workers would be saddled with billions of dollars of extra costs while China, India and others get a free ride.
Unlike the Obama Administration, Trump won’t carry Beijing’s water to the detriment of the U.S. economy and position in the world. That’s a big win for American energy.
The President also recognizes that unlike previous Chinese leaders, President Xi is openly projecting Chinese power around the world and is using energy as an avenue to increasing influence. China is spending $1.3 trillion on its Belt and Road initiative to finance and build energy and transportation infrastructure across Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. These projects embed Chinese personnel in strategic locations around the world and the debt used to finance them turns host countries into pawns on the superpower’s chess board.
Trump knows America’s response isn’t with bombs and missiles. It’s with our coal, gas, oil and our resolve in becoming the world’s top energy producer. It’s with the know-how and the human capital we possess to bring them to market.
Every developing country needs low cost, reliable energy and no country knows how to make fossil fuels better and cleaner than the United States.
President Trump also understands the lengths multi-lateral institutions like the World Bank will go to drive an energy and environmental policy that is based on a failing European model. The World Bank was founded with American money. America is the World Bank’s largest shareholder and recently, the U.S. Treasury agreed to pump in an extra $3.8 billion in return for it making long-needed reforms. It’s time it helps advance American interests starting with the Trump’s vision for our energy future.
The World Bank refuses to finance coal plant infrastructure and upstream oil and gas development. Only last month, the World Bank pulled its financing from its sole remaining coal project in Kosovo. Twenty years ago, America rescued Kosovo from Serbian aggression but it remains a fragile state, with 45% unemployment. It is totally reliant on an old, high emissions coal plants for virtually all its energy. An American-backed consortium using American equipment has been working on replacing them for over 10 years.
Next door in Serbia, China is financing the expansion of a large coal plant just as the World Bank undermines U.S. interests all while taking American taxpayer dollars. Great American companies like General Electric and Black & Veatch are losing out on major contracts.
It might shock some to know that leaders of many other countries support President Trump’s energy realism. Australia has refused to follow the UN’s directive to abandon its significant coal reserves. Developing nations need new, cleaner, state-of-the-art coal energy to lift their people out of poverty into a brighter future. Nobody has put it better than President of Trump when he speaks of exporting American energy all over the world, creating countless jobs for our people, and providing true energy security to our friends, partners, and allies.
He should be supported in advancing this vision, regardless of party. It will benefit not just America, but people around the world seeking more freedom and prosperity.
Tom Basile is a columnist, commentator and former host of “Sunday in America” on SiriusXM radio. He served as director of communications and public liaison for the Environmental Protection Agency during the Administration of George W. Bush.