Week 14

The Headlines

Republican Cracks Emerge in Trump’s Coal-Heavy Energy Plan

April 23, 2017 | Bloomberg

Still, there are enough members of Trump’s cabinet who deny the basic science of global warming that there is little, if any, chance the administration will enthusiastically support clean energy. Instead, the debate is likely to hinge on whether the president will try to actively reverse market forces allowing wind and solar to flourish.

Trump’s Climate Cuts Could Result in Half-Billion Extra Tons of CO2 in the Air

April 25, 2017 | InsideClimate News

The Clean Power Plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants, methane rules covering the oil and gas industry and a handful of efficiency regulations are “highly vulnerable” in the consulting firm’s view, either because they’re high profile or because they haven’t been fully implemented. If these are the only rules the Trump administration is able to repeal, it would erase 332 million metric tons of carbon pollution cuts, Climate Advisers projected.

Tech and oil giants want Trump to keep the Paris Climate Agreement

April 26, 2017 | Mashable

In a letter sent to President Donald Trump by business leaders, oil giants BP and Shell, along with tech firms such as Microsoft, Google, and Intel, tell the administration that the treaty presents both risks and opportunities for their businesses.

April 27, 2017 | Reuters

“It’s not a fair situation because they are paying virtually nothing and we are paying massive amounts of money,” [Trump] said.

Asked for a hint of what his decision might be, he said: “I can say this, we want to be treated fairly.”

U.S. Participation in Paris Agreement ‘Still Under Consideration,’ Tillerson Says

April 28, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“I’m not going to tell the president of the United States to walk away from the Paris accord,” Perry said at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York on Tuesday. “I will say that we need to renegotiate it.” But that is not a compromise that is likely to mollify allies. A spokesman for Germany’s environment ministry called Perry’s position “absurd.”

East coast braces for fresh climate fight as Trump eyes more offshore drilling

April 28, 2017 | The Guardian

The economics of opening up a new frontier for oil is currently unfavorable, with a barrel of crude currently trading for under $50. The strong currents and crashing waves of the Atlantic provide a further logistical hurdle. “Compared to the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico is a lake,” said Cahoon. “Yes, you can engineer your way around that but the question would be ‘is it worth it?’”

Court Gives Trump Small Victory in Push Against Clean Power Plan

April 28, 2017 | The New York Times

The regulation was a major target for Mr. Trump, who called it “stupid” and a “job killer” on the campaign trail and has begun taking steps to repeal it. In an executive order last month, Mr. Trump directed his E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, to begin the lengthy legal process of dismantling it, and at the same time requested that the court put the lawsuit on hold while the agency came up with a new plan.

Had the court rejected Mr. Trump’s request and upheld the Clean Power Plan, it would have made it far more difficult for Mr. Pruitt to roll back the rule.

EPA website removes climate science site from public view after two decades

April 29, 2017 | The Washington Post

“The EPA’s climate site includes important summaries of climate science and indicators that clearly and unmistakably explain and document the impacts we are having on our planet,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, in response to the website change.

“It’s hard to understand why facts require revision,” she continued.


In Other Congressional News…

The Republicans who care about climate change: ‘They are done with the denial’

April 27, 2017 | The Guardian

“The vast majority of Republicans in private buy the science – the likes of Inhofe are in the minority,” said Danny Richter, legislative director of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-profit group that painstakingly helped put together the caucus.

“What Republicans needed was safe passage to talk about climate action in public, to not be the the first one to walk down that rickety bridge. There’s now a group who can see their constituents are genuinely concerned about climate change.”


State Response 

California’s landmark climate-change program would also fight air pollution under proposal

April 24, 2017 | The (San Jose) Mercury News

Cap and trade is generally seen as the most flexible and cost-effective way for industries to comply with California’s strict carbon emissions standards, which by 2030 will be 40 percent below 1990 levels. The regulatory program allows industries to pay to pollute by buying and trading carbon-emission permits.


A New Hope?

One Big Legal Obstacle Keeps Trump from Undoing Greenhouse Gas Regulation

April 26, 2017 | Scientific American

This agency [‘endangerment finding’] rule, supported by two Supreme Court decisions, legally compels the government to do exactly what its new leaders want to avoid: regulate greenhouse gases. Although EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt publicly doubts a connection between human-produced carbon emissions and global warming, any attempt to undo this rule “would be walking into a legal buzz saw,” says Michael Gerrard, faculty director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. Endangerment is “the linchpin for everything—all of the carbon regulation under the Clean Air Act,” says Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School.

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