Donald Trump's 'insane' climate change policy will destroy more jobs than it creates, says global warming expert

US energy department report says less than 200,000 work in coal, oil and natural gas, compared to more than 650,000 in wind, solar and biofuels

Peter Walker
Thursday 30 March 2017 01:48 BST
Donald Trump signed the executive order surrounded by miners at the Environmental Protection Agency
Donald Trump signed the executive order surrounded by miners at the Environmental Protection Agency (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)

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Donald Trump will speed up global warming and will potentially destroy more American jobs than he creates, a climate change expert has warned.

Tom Crowther, who recently led a global warming report that is already being adopted by the United Nations, also said the US President’s short-sighted approach was “brutal” and “insane”.

The billionaire tycoon signed an executive order as part of the administration’s plan to roll back Barack Obama’s climate change measures.

Dr Crowther, back in December, said average temperatures are forecast to increase by 1C by 2050 and that global warming is beyond the “point of no return”.

His report, which was celebrated by academics across the globe, said climate change scientists had not previously taken account of harmful carbon gasses emitted from the soil: known as ‘positive feedback’.

“Certainly Trump’s policy will bump that number up and will accelerate climate change and that’s devastating,” said Dr Crowther, speaking to The Independent.

“It will speed up those feedbacks that my paper was talking about.”

Dr Crowther, a 30-year-old from north Wales who is now a Marie Curie fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, said even Barack Obama’s approach to climate change was deemed by scientists to be sub-par.

The Democrat leader promised to cut CO2 emissions by 26 per cent before 2025, in keeping with the Paris climate deal, but critics urged him to speed up.

“If Obama’s administration wasn’t doing enough, if that was against people’s constitutional rights, then this has to be seen as a drastic crime against the people of America and the world,” said Dr Crowther.

The former Yale University academic also said Mr Trump’s policy would destroy more jobs than it creates in the long run, because global warming will terrorise industries that are tied to the land.

How soil carbon loss could accelerate global warming

Mr Trump’s executive order seeks to reverse Mr Obama’s “war on coal”, but a US Department of Energy report in January claimed the renewable energy sector employed far more than the fossil fuel sector.

It said 187,117 worked in coal, oil and natural gas, while more than 650,000 worked in wind, solar and biofuels.

“It’s only going to put the US at a massive disadvantage as the rest of the world moves forward,” said Dr Crowther.

“If, as a lot of studies suggest, that renewable energies employ more people than coal and other natural gases, then sticking with natural gas is reducing the potential for job creation.

“But also indirectly, continued use of fossil fuels drives climate change, which causes degradation of land, and of agricultural, forestry, and fishery industries, which rely on millions of jobs. So I would say it’s ridiculously short term and short sighted to progress with coal industries."

Mr Trump’s executive order, signed on Monday, initiates a review of the Clean Power Plan which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.

The 70-year-old has remained silent since his inauguration on whether the administration will withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement since his inauguration.

“As Trump withdraws from all of these agreements, our once in a lifetime chances of offsetting the devastating impacts of climate change just continue to slip away," added Mr Crowther.

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