Protesters Jeer as Trump Team Promotes Coal at U.N. Climate Talks

  • While many energy experts agree that technologies like carbon capture for coal plants and nuclear power can play a critical role in reducing emissions, the fact that Trump administration officials have played down concern over global warming has triggered deep suspicion about American intentions.
  • “Nuclear and carbon capture are critical to reducing CO emissions, but going to Bonn to promote the technologies without admitting climate change is a crisis is a logical absurdity,” said Josh Freed, director of the clean energy program at the centrist think tank Third Way.
  • Still, Mr. Steer acknowledged, countries throughout Asia and Africa are continuing to build coal plants in their quest to provide energy access for millions living without electricity.
  • Some developing countries described a more balanced view, however, conceding a need for fossil fuels in the short term while ultimately calling for stronger global action on climate change and a shift toward cleaner forms of energy, including renewables like wind and solar energy.
  • Officials from Bangladesh, which still gets most of its electricity from natural gas and has plans to build 25 new coal-fired plants by 2022, said they would welcome the use of technology to improve the efficiency of their coal plants as a steppingstone toward renewable energy.

The Trump administration’s debut at the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, was met with heckling, noisy protest and harsh questions.

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BONN, Germany — The Trump administration made its debut at a United Nations conference on climate change on Monday by giving a full-throated defense of fossil fuels and nuclear energy as answers to driving down global greenhouse gas emissions.

The forum — the only official appearance by the United States delegation during the annual two-week climate gathering of nearly 200 nations — illustrated how sharply the administration’s views are at odds with those of many key participants in the climate negotiations.

George D. Banks, special adviser to President Trump on international energy issues, led a panel with top American energy executives. “Without question, fossil fuels will continue to be used, and we would argue that it’s in the global interest to make sure when fossil fuels are used that they be as clean and efficient as possible,” Mr. Banks said. “This panel is controversial only if we chose to bury our heads in the sand.”

But even before the Trump team could make its case, the panel was disrupted for more than 10 minutes by scores of chanting and singing demonstrators. The protesters then walked out, leaving the room half empty. Throughout the remainder of the presentation, audience members shouted down and mocked White House officials who attempted to explain away President Trump’s stated view that global warming is a hoax.

Protesters Jeer as Trump Team Promotes Coal at U.N. Climate Talks