One of the many sounds I can’t excise from my head is President Trump saying “We’re going to have clean coal, reeeelly cleeeen co-al…”

As the Truth Wars rev up, patently silly things said by powerful people become white noise. Our own politicians are adapting with impressive speed to the licence Trump has given everyone to construct their own reality and attack their enemies with weaponised hypocrisy. 

Clean coal is a noble oxymoron not just in West Virginia, of course; it has a regular seat at the Australian feast of energy policy failure. You’d think, from the degree of political capital the Australian government continues to sink into its irrational insistence that the Adani coal mine in Queensland must be built no matter how economically pointless and environmentally disastrous it is expected to be, that there were some massive national stakes at play. But no.