By contrast, Democratic presidential candidates have called for sweeping measures to cut US carbon emissions, such as the Green New Deal.
“I never understood wind. I know windmills very much, I have studied it better than anybody,” Trump said at the weekend.
He proclaimed his anti-environmental message in a speech to conservative students in southern Florida where he condemned wind turbines as polluting to construct, noisy, ugly and kill birds.
An estimated 150,000 birds are hit each year by US turbines, an Energy Policy journal study reported. But a 2013 study said approximately 3.7 billion birds were killed per year by domestic cats.
But Trump is heavily opposed to wind power.
“I’ve seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields — most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up,” the tycoon turned populist told the Turning Point USA event. “And you know what they don’t tell you about windmills? After 10 years, they look like hell.
“I know it is very expensive. They are made in China and Germany mostly, very few made here, almost none, but they are manufactured, tremendous – if you are into this – tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right?”
He dismissed proposed Democrat environmental programmes as unworkable and counterproductive.
The Energy Department said on Friday that it would allow incandescent and halogen bulbs to remain available rather than phasing them out on January 1.
“If you like your lightbulbs, you can keep your lightbulbs!” the White House tweeted. “The Obama Admin tried to limit Americans to buying more-expensive LED bulbs for their homes — but thanks to President @realDonaldTrump, go ahead and decorate your house with whatever lights you want.”
Trump is appealing to voters who want the government to leave them alone, according to Doug Heye, a Republican strategist.
“For his base, especially, it hits on something that’s tangible, that’s tactile and that voters like,” Heye said. “It also hits on those broad themes of freedom and liberty and government encroachment on people’s daily lives.”
The lightbulb U-turn would boost energy costs by an estimated US$14 billion and generate an extra 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, consumer groups estimate.
“The Trump administration’s repeated attacks defy the common sense, bipartisan support that energy efficiency has long enjoyed,” said Steve Nadel of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “They will cost consumers and businesses money, create uncertainty for businesses as rollbacks are contested in courts, add to harmful pollution and undermine our efforts to address the climate crisis.”
Donald Trump was speaking in Florida, which has been proved vulnerable to climate change. Picture credit: Wikimedia