Are Trump’s energy policies incoherent?

Donald Trump

Personally, I’m a little confused as to how Donald Trump is not only running for President, but is actually in quite a favourable position. This is the man that believes he “cherishes” women, but has been known to refer to them as dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. My ‘womanly’ opinions aside, I wanted to see what this guy has to offer the energy industry if he were to come in power. As predicted, I wasn’t hugely impressed nor surprised.

It’s been noted that Trump’s policies are fairly vague. He may well be a successful businessman (some disagree with this when comparing Trump’s success trends to the Wall Street stock market over the years), but the one thing that is consistent with Trump’s policies is that they’re rarely ethical and most of them relate back to one benefit: Money.  

He’s all for fracking, coal mining and constructing more airports, things that are highly controversial if you take the environment into consideration. According to Trump, there is no better time to invest in hydraulic fracturing because of the low natural gas prices America is experiencing. He fails to take into consideration the issues of air pollution. Fracking may diminish coal’s market share of energy supply, but it’s definitely not a clean energy. Also, fracking is not fully understood and needs a great deal more research before its revealed just how much it can affect the health of the local community, an issue that the UK is also facing in relation to fracking. The research currently present shows that there are already ozone issues related to fracking. Natural gas in comparison to Renewable Energy contains much more harmful airborne fine particulates.

Trump is also hot on the US becoming energy independent as soon as possible. The US still relies heavily on oil from the Middle East and this is still a major contributor to the USA’s energy security. The US consumes a great deal more oil than it actually produces, not to mention the fact oil prices have dropped significantly over the last 12 months. Although improving, they are still worryingly low in comparison to previous years. I don’t think, however, that this is Trump’s craziest pledge. The idea of an independent energy industry couldeventually be realistic, but for him to assume this can occur so quickly and after comparing this with the current state of the Oil and Gas industry is a rash suggestion.

If the US is looking to be energy independent, it would need to cut down on its external imports, which is exactly what Trump wants to achieve to encourage this policy. Canada in particular, provides a substantial amount of oil to the US, which Trump wants to prevent. The US does have potential for oil extraction, but there are some more realistic ideas that in my eyes, are much more achievable, such as “Energy Resilience”, also known as electrification. But this of course, is leaning more towards the views of Trump's opposition Hilary Clinton and to a future of clean energy. If I was in the US working in the Renewable sector, I’d find it incredibly frustrating to see my industry booming, only to find my country abandoning one of its most promising economies. Furthermore, the US is at less risk of being affected by supply and demand issues occurring globally if it multiplies its supply sources, as it has been doing. This is how the US can sustain its energy security.

According to The Daily Caller, Trump was quoted saying “I’m in favour of nuclear energy, very strongly in favour of nuclear energy” To the risks of potential nuclear disasters similar to those of Fukushima and Chernobyl, he compared this to the way we continue to use planes as a form of transport after a plane crash occurs. However, he still favours natural gas and believes there are important issues related to Nuclear energy that are still very much apparent. Again, I feel this is unclear.

To conclude, my issues with Trump’s energy policies do not lie in the policies themselves, rather in the backing (or lack of) provided. As someone working across the energy sector, I want all of our sectors to be successful on a global spectrum, which I appreciate is not technically possible. I do find it a little annoying to see the renewable industry in the US to be growing so rapidly, only to lead to one aggressive businessman disregarding this by only backing natural gas and oil. Trump overlooks the benefits of clean energy because it’s not quick dollar and correct me if I’m wrong, but I get the impression he doesn’t give two hoots about global warming. In 2012, he tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Of course, like many other presidential candidates these views can change and this may not be a timely reflection of his opinions on global warming. But to deem the concept of global warming as complete rubbish, is a dangerous opinion.

What are your thoughts on Trump’s energy policies? Please leave a comment or get in touch I would love to feature your thoughts in my next post.

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