A Trump administration panel touted coal and nuclear energy in its only official appearance at an 11-day United Nations climate conference in Germany on Monday—when it could get its message out over jeering protesters and audience members. "Without question, fossil fuels will continue to be used," though we ought to employ a way that's "as clean and efficient as possible," Trump energy adviser George D. Banks said on the same day a study was released showing CO2 emissions rose to record highs in 2017, reports the New York Times. Though Banks said renewable energy has a "bright future," he said only diverse energy supplies, including coal plants where emissions are stored rather than released into the atmosphere, can meet current energy needs, particularly in developing countries.
Though backed by some scientists, the message was "out of step" with the conference focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reports the Hill. "Promoting coal at a climate summit is like promoting tobacco at a cancer summit," as Michael Bloomberg put it. Almost 75% of some 200 audience members interrupted the panel—which included an official from coal company Peabody Energy—to sing, "We the people are ready to lead, because the White House [is] making it hard to breathe," per the Washington Post. Audience shouts of "bunch of liars" and "clean coal is bullsh--" could also be heard once protesters cleared out, reports the Guardian. "Climate mitigation is an important goal of the United States, but I don't think it's any surprise that economic security and energy security are higher priorities," Banks concluded.