Today Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. His inauguration speech will no doubt incite mixed reactions, as he declared his intentions to make America strong and promised a “new national pride” to “stir our souls” and “heal our divisions.” President Trump faces many challenges, but today he attempted to stir up hope for the future, trumpeting a promise to harness the “energies, industries, and technologies of tomorrow” in his speech. The only problem is that the new President has an abysmal record when it comes to that.
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump became President at the United States Capitol building. Looking ahead to the future, he touched on technology and energy near the end of his inauguration speech. “Now arrives the hour of action,” Trump said. “Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries, and technologies of tomorrow.”
What he means by that remains unclear, but given his track record, it seems likely that the energy of tomorrow doesn’t include clean energy. “Technologies of tomorrow” may sound hopeful, but Trump hasn’t shown much interest in technologies like solar panels or wind turbines, preferring to hint he’ll open doors for fossil fuels instead. He’s said we need “much more than wind and solar” and touted “clean coal,” shale gas, fracking, and even the Keystone XL pipeline.
Trump’s cabinet picks seem to reinforce the idea his presidency will focus on old industries rather than progressive technologies. They include former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt who sued the Environmental Protection Agency he now might lead 14 times, and Texas Governor Rick Perry who, at his recent confirmation hearing for the leading role at the Department of Energy, said he wanted to protect “all of the science” even though he once wanted to ax that department.
The new president ended his speech by saying, “Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again.” Here’s hoping Trump will listen to all Americans, including those of us concerned about climate change and the future of our planet and all of its people, not simply those with an American citizenship.
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