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The US coal industry is collapsing — make no bones about it.

Trump may have even made others more determined to show leadership now that the US has decided it will not.

But Trump’s move is cruel in the message it sends about how America values the environment, how little it now cares about the risks climate change poses to the planet.

"This is a step to fulfilling some of the promises that he [President Trump] made," Tyler White, president of the Coal Association in Kentucky, told Fortune on Thursday.

As Vox has explained in depth many times, there is no way Trump will be able to bring coal back, despite his claims to the contrary.

That leaves other developed countries, and really China, to steer the ship.

Like Europe, China has already emerged as a leader on green energy and technology. Lately, Premier Li Keqiang, China’s second-in-command, has been pitching China, as Isaac Stone Fish writes for The Atlantic, as a “liberal, responsible, globalist power,” though it actually remains illiberal and authoritarian.“There are people who wish I wouldn’t refer to China as our enemy.But that’s exactly what they are,” Trump wrote in his campaign manifesto “Great Again: How To Fix Our Crippled America.” But this is a move that lets China win.“There is still internal resistance in China by some powerful parties to policies cutting the use of coal and other fossil fuels,” Edward Wong notes in the New York Times.“Those interests include the state-owned energy companies.” The other irony here is that Trump has been fearmongering about losing to China for a long time.He may be unaware, or simply dismissive, of the repercussions.

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