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Sanders Rips Trump for Lacking 'Courage' to Confront Fossil Fuel Industry After President Bragged About Oil Boom

"President Trump is turning his back on the children of America and on future generations, and dooming them to live in a planet increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a State of the Union response on February 4, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

After President Donald Trump bragged during his State of the Union address about the "tremendous progress" the United States has made in increasing production of planet-warming fossil fuels under his administration, Sen. Bernie Sanders late Tuesday condemned the president for worsening the global climate crisis and imperiling future generations with his industry-friendly agenda.

"How do you give a speech, a State of the Union speech, and not mention climate change when the leading scientists of the world tell us that climate change is the greatest existential threat facing humanity?" asked Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, during his official response to Trump's remarks. "I did not hear the president say what it means when Australia is now on fire because of severe drought, and about the unprecedented level of flooding and extreme weather disturbances that we are experiencing."

"By ignoring and in fact exacerbating the crisis of climate change, President Trump is turning his back on the children of America and on future generations, and dooming them to live in a planet increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable," continued Sanders, who did not attend the president's speech. "It is truly sad that we have a president of the United States lacks the courage to stand up to his billionaire friends in the fossil fuel industry."

According to an Oil Change International report released last year, the U.S. is on pace to account for 60 percent of the global growth in fossil fuel production between 2019 and 2030 in the absence of aggressive action to transition away from oil and gas.

During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Trump boasted that "thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world, by far"—an alarming milestone that was in fact reached under the Obama administration.

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"We are doing numbers that no one would have thought possible just three years ago," Trump proclaimed.

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Action, said in a statement following the president's speech that "Trump's 'energy independence' rhetoric is nothing more than a celebration of climate disaster."

"Fracking and the building of related fossil fuel projects are driving up emissions at the moment we must rapidly transition off fossil fuels," said Hauter. "Americans overwhelmingly support policies to create clean, renewable energy. Trump is hell-bent on delivering the exact opposite."

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