Donald Trump didn’t just have a bad day in Alabama last Tuesday. After going all-in for a despicable U.S. Senate candidate in a state that would normally be a shoo-in for a Republican, Trump suffered the most humiliating defeat of his presidency (so far). For anyone who has watched his administration’s relentless attacks on the issues and values we care about, it was a definite morale boost.
But even though the Alabama special election was the biggest news of the day, it wasn’t the only welcome development. That’s because, in spite of the efforts of Trump and his fellow dirty-fuel devotees, the world is still turning toward clean, renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. Consider what else happened on Trump’s terrifically terrible Tuesday:
At the One Planet summit in Paris (slogan “Make Our Planet Great Again”), the World Bank announced that as of 2019 it would stop financing oil and gas exploration, citing a “rapidly changing world.” The summit, which not coincidentally marked the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, was organized by French President Emmanuel Macron to show that the agreement remains vital in spite of Trump’s announcement that he intends to withdraw the United States.
At that same summit, AXA, one of the world’s biggest financial services companies, announced that it will both divest from and stop providing insurance to “oil sands producers and associated pipelines.” The company also committed to accelerating its ongoing divestment from the coal industry — to the tune of nearly $8 billion. According to our friends at Greenpeace, AXA is now the eighth large financial institution to back away from financing tar sands development (are you listening Wells Fargo?).
Finally, closer to home, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a legal challenge from mining companies to overturn the 20-year moratorium on new uranium mining on about a million acres around the Grand Canyon.President Obama’s Department of the Interior put the moratorium in place in 2012, and you can probably guess whose Department of the Interior is itching to lift it. The court’s decision will make that harder because it validated the reasons for placing the ban in the first place. The Sierra Club was proud to support the Havasupai people (who have lived in the Grand Canyon for at least eight centuries) in this struggle to defend their home, and we won’t rest until we have protected the entire Grand Canyon watershed from current and future uranium-mining waste once and for all.
Let me go further: We won’t rest until we have pushed all dirty fuels off our public lands and out of our economy — for good. Because until we do, there will always be another twittering tin-pot kleptocrat waiting in the wings and eager to sacrifice sacred places like the Grand Canyon and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we’ve already had one too many of those. All of our work together — and the news on Tuesday — brings us a little closer to making sure this one’s the last.