Fossil fuel never had a better friend in the White House than Donald Trump. So why, two years into his presidency, are investors favoring public companies devoted to renewable energy and giving the Bronx cheer to the coal, gas and oil crowd?
Trump campaigned against the scientific consensus on climate change and promised to repeal any regulation that impeded the exploration, drilling, mining and burning of traditional energy. Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, he rescinded the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Interior Department’s moratorium on new coal mining on public land, and President Barack Obama’s 2013 climate action plan and 2015 climate mitigation efforts. He withdrew from the Paris agreement signed by 195 countries in 2015, revived construction of the Keystone XL pipeline connecting Canada’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, and increased by 600 percent the public land (not to mention coastal waters) for lease by oil and gas companies.
Yet with all of these incentives, fossil fuel is a rare loser in the stock market since Trump took office. And that’s after oil appreciated 15%. The 170 companies in the Russell 3000 Energy Index, most of which engage in oil and gas, are down 12% during the first administration to declare global warming a hoax. The Russell 3000, meanwhile, gained 27% and technology, its best-performing sector, rallied 53%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.