A change has come to Whitehouse.gov.
Immediately after Donald Trump assumed the office of president Friday, the presidential URL changed. Where there once was “Energy,” now there is “An America First Energy Plan.” And where there was a climate action plan, there is no more mention.
The vestigial page titles still appear on a Google search, but lead nowhere.
During and after the election, Trump had spoken derisively of federal efforts to combat climate change, but had also signaled a willingness to embrace renewables as a domestically produced energy source and jobs driver. After months of speculation about how Trump would act toward clean energy once in office, the administration has clearly signaled its intent to erase President Barack Obama's clean energy policies.
The Obama-era website lives on here, so the content itself will not be lost. The scrubbing, though, indicates that the peaceful transition of power need not coincide with a continuity of facts.
Instead, the America First Energy Plan lays out a new course: “President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.”
Right there, as explicitly as it can be written: The Trump administration plans to kill Obama's climate policies. And it starts with the website.
A search within the site for the phrase “climate change” turns up one page, a biography of former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. The article references the climate of San Antonio, as well as the word “changes” in a non-climatic context.
The new plan also asserts the value of domestic energy production: “In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest.” The policy lists the domestic energy sources that qualify: shale, oil, natural gas and coal.
Clean coal technology, which has yet to work at a commercial scale, gets a shout-out. But renewables, which accounted for the majority of new energy capacity added last year, don't earn a mention.
While declaring a need to develop energy at home and cast off the nation's dependence on oil cartel OPEC, the statement also makes an ominous reference to expansion abroad: “At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.” This presages a strategy of fossil fuel exploration not just at home, but overseas, replacing Paris treaty climate commitments with help for new drilling.
Even basic landing pages for White House organizational divisions have disappeared. Try searching for the Council on Environmental Quality or the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Meanwhile, the landing page for Statements and Releases from the Press Office has gone blank, so a casual reader won't stumble upon any mentions of the danger of climate change or the jobs created by the clean energy industry while scrolling back through the archives.
The website of the Environmental Protection Agency, which crafted the CPP, had not been touched as of this writing.
Clean energy industry groups are gearing up to pitch wind and solar as major job creators. They'll have their work cut out for them to even gain recognition in the new president's energy policy.