It is well known that the president is a big fan of coal. It plays a central part in his energy program.
In fact, he has repeatedly called for an increase in the mining and burning of coal. He has promised to revitalize the coal industry and bring back coal-mining jobs. During campaign appearances in coal country leading up to the midterm elections, his supporters passed out placards proclaiming “TRUMP DIGS COAL.”
Energy sector analysts point out that other sources of energy are cleaner and have become cheaper than coal, but that has not diminished the president’s passion for coal. He has directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to implement a program to subsidize the use of coal. Perry, the candidate who famously forgot the name of the agency he now runs during the 2016 presidential debates, is working on a plan to keep coal-fired plants running with taxpayer help.
And, the president is not afraid of ruffling a few feathers in the process. During meetings in Germany and Poland in November and December, his people touted the benefits of burning coal at meetings designed to fight climate change. While participants from almost every country were pointing out the planet-killing effects of burning coal, our guys were in there pitching for that much-maligned substance. It took some moxie to stand up for a fuel whose pollution contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths around the globe every year.
In a little-noticed report issued by the U.S. Geological Survey on Black Friday, it was disclosed that about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in our country come from coal and oil extracted from federally-controlled lands. The president wants to open up additional federal lands for extraction of fossil fuels.
Another federal report released the same day warned that damage from climate change is intensifying across the country, thanks to greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels--coal and oil. The president pooh-poohed the findings of his own governmental agencies. Apparently, it is full-steam ahead with heating up the planet.
This has created a real dilemma for Santa Claus. According to some sources, Santa has placed the president on a naughty list, partly for global warming issues but also for having a standoffish relationship with the truth and a too-close relationship with a bunny and a star of prurient movies. In the president’s defense, his friends Vladimir the Russian and MBS, a Saudi prince who turned a Saudi human rights advocate into hamburger, were higher up on the naughty list.
The coal-burning/global-warming issue is personal for Santa because he lives and works at the North Pole. It is not a secret that global warming is melting the ice at Santa’s workshop and he is sore that he will eventually have to move his operation or close it down. I suspect that St. Nick would rather see coal workers given meaningful training for jobs with a future, rather than false hope for the resurgence of a dying industry headed for the ash heap of history. That could save his home and protect the workers at the same time.
In any event, Santa normally puts lumps of coal in the stockings of people who are on his naughty list. But, if the purpose of doing so is to admonish the naughty person, what do you do with the delinquent who actually loves coal and lots of it? It presents a real dilemma for the Jolly Old Elf. My thought is that we ought to take the coal away from our leader--leave it in the ground. That would help Santa and all of the rest of us to breathe easier.
Jim Jones is a former Idaho attorney general and a former Idaho Supreme Court chief justice. previous columns are available atwww.JJCommonTater.com.