Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor says his boss’ headline campaign goal of reviving America’s coal industry “doesn’t make that much sense anymore.”
Speaking aboard Air Force One during Trump’s European tour last week, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn acknowledged to reporters that “if you think about how [much] solar and how much wind power we’ve created in the United States, we can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly.” And with natural gas—which Cohn erroneously described as “clean”—also available in abundance in the United States, “coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock.”
But the former Goldman Sachs investment banker got it exactly backward when he complained to reporters that “the Europeans have a much easier standard to abide by [under the Paris deal] than the standard we were left with by the previous administration. It’s a real un-level playing field.” While those last words are true, the advantage is all to the United States, which committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025. Europe has targeted 40% below a 1990 baseline by 2030.