A Massachusetts delegation, organized by CABA, is attending the COP23 UN Climate Talks in Bonn, Germany. The following piece is the first in our series on the climate conference.
Updates from COP23 Pt. 1: Trumping the “Clean Coal” Crusade
Dispatches from COP23
The UN climate negotiations kicked off today, with leaders from around the world converging in Bonn, Germany for COP23. With the major negotiations around nations’ specific contributions to the Paris Agreement still a year away, it is safe to say the most anticipated outcome from these talks will come from the Trump administration, which announced its withdrawal from Paris in July.
Just last week we learned that the U.S would be hosting a program in Bonn to promote global use of “clean coal” along with natural gas and nuclear energy as the solutions to the global climate change crisis. Barry K. Worthington, Executive Director of the United States Energy Association, will speak along with representatives from a coal company, a nuclear engineering firm, and a natural gas transmission firm.
This announcement has been met with a range of responses from delegates at the climate talks, from mild skeptics to those who are outraged by the Trump Administration’s announcement. The signals are clear from the global community: coal is not the clean energy future many envision.
The Trump administration made their intentions clear to the world that they will be moving aggressively against the overwhelming international and scientific consensus in the name of supposed economic progress and job creation. It’s important to note that the same “clean coal” technology solutions that will be presented next week, and have been praised endlessly by the President during his campaign and presidency, have been failing right here in the Commonwealth and in the nation at large.
In 2009, Brayton Point Power Station, the largest point source of carbon pollution in New England, began an estimated $1 billion construction project on major retrofits along with two 500 foot cooling towers to reduce environmental impacts from burning coal. Not only did Brayton Point remain the largest polluting power plant in New England, but earnings also plummeted by 93% from 2009-2012. This new state-of-the-art “clean coal” facility ceased all operations as of June 1, 2017. Brayton Point was not alone; Mt. Tom Power Plant in Holyoke and Salem Power Station have both shut down within the past 5 years.
Nationally, the top four coal producing companies have lost a combined $44 billion of Market Capitalization since 2011, and the price of coal has plummeted across the board. As the Trump administration and its representatives do their best to sell the planet on their backwards energy strategy, it’s clear to those of us in Massachusetts and the United States that these kinds of energy investments not only hurt the planet, but simply do not make economic sense.
The Climate Action Business Association will be providing updates daily during COP23 in Bonn, Germany. This year’s delegation is spearheaded by Executive Director, Michael Green and consists of policy makers from the Massachusetts State House. Representative Jim Cantwell, Representative Josh Cutler, Representative Jen Benson and Senator Michael Barrett will be joining Mr. Green at the climate talks. The delegation is supported by staff from Northeastern University. Follow CABA News and social media for the latest news and updates.