I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a headline that the Trump Administration has made a new announcement, I generally assume that it’s bad news before I even read the article. This week on Sea Change Radio we dig deeper into one of those recent headlines, and see how bad the news actually is. The decision to impose a 30% tariff on solar panels and solar cells coming from overseas is a move that leaves most renewable energy advocates apoplectic. While some might point out that imposing the tariff could give an advantage to US-based solar component producers, many believe that the overall impact of this tariff will be to slow the expansion of solar power and to extend our reliance on fossil fuels further into the 21st Century. The Trump Administration points to the news that Chinese solar manufacturer, JinkoSolar, is building an American factory as “proof” that the tariff is the right move. But is this simply a straw-man argument? We discuss the ramifications of the change with Mother Jones environmental reporter Rebecca Leber and delve into the best and worst case scenarios of the policy decision. We also get Leber’s insight into the political future of EPA head Scott Pruitt, who is appearing before the Senate this week for an oversight hearing.
When someone sues an organization repeatedly and then gets put in charge of that agency it’s a pretty classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse. Welcome to the Bizarro World of the Trump Administration where the fossil fuel industry’s favorite son, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is poised to run the Environmental Protection Agency. The appointment of a climate change denier like Pruitt to run the EPA affirms, as NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen has put it, that “the US government is officially done with being evidence-based.” On this week’s Sea Change Radio, Mother Jones reporter Rebecca Leber gives us a closer look at the new head of the EPA, what his appointment means politically, what the repercussions could be for the climate and how states may be able to protect the environment locally.