In an executive order signed yesterday, President Donald Trump proposed sweeping changes to the way the country regulates energy production and emissions, including rolling back most major efforts to address climate change instituted under President Barack Obama.
Not so fast. Most experts are skeptical this new order will result in many new coal jobs in the short term, as those jobs face bigger threats from automation and cheap natural gas than they do from federal regulation. Several of the mandates could be suspended, rescinded or flagged for review to boost domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels.
But the matter has arguably become academic after the U.S. president signed an executive order to repeal the Clean Power Plan Obama had put into place to help the USA meet its ambitious targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 per cent by 2025 compared to 2005.
Trump's executive order did not attempt to withdraw a key 2009 EPA ruling that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide endanger the public's health and welfare.
Which of Obama's policies will be undone?
An overwhelming majority of scientists believe the use of oil and coal for energy is a main driver of climate change.
"As the U.S. is historically the largest polluter, its failure to meet global commitments will unravel the Paris Agreement that was signed by 195 countries in 2015 to fight climate change".
Baker Botts environmental partner Megan Berge said: "The executive order is the first step on what likely will be a long and uncertain road to shifting the federal government's role in climate regulation".
Dijksma is planning to hold a "Climate First" conference in the USA and said she received support from the European Union commission, Germany, France, Austria, and Luxembourg, at last month's environment ministerial meeting in Brussels.
During his confirmation hearing in January, Tillerson said he came to the conclusion years ago that "the risk of climate change does exist and the consequences could be serious enough that action should be taken".
The order will direct the EPA to start a formal "review" process to undo the Clean Power Plan, which was introduced by Obama in 2014 but was never implemented in part because of legal challenges brought by Republican-controlled states. The president's promises to boost coal jobs run counter to market forces, such as USA utilities converting coal-fired power plants to cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. The march is set to go from the Capitol to Madison Gas and Electric, which is now the biggest climate change contributor in the Madison community. "I think many of them like what's happening", said Barbara VanHanken with the Green Country Sierra Club. Pardee said rules under the Clean Power Plan are now in effect to build new or modify existing power plants, but the one regulating existing plants is frozen and being litigated in federal court.
However, the overturning of Clean Power Plan will forfeit important health benefits and undermine the longstanding American tradition of energy innovation and clean air progress, said Charles Driscoll, Professor at Syracuse University in NY.
Robert Murray, the CEO of the largest coal mine company in the USA and a prominent Trump backer warned that even with the new executive order, "He can't bring (the coal jobs) back".
Will the order really save jobs?