July 26, 2017

President Trump Unwinding Obama's Global Warming Initiatives

28 March 2017, 12:50 | Ignacio Smith

New discoveries of cheaper natural gas, extracted via hydrofracking, have made coal-especially that mined by humans-economically uncompetitive, even for the many users who don't care that natural gas produces energy with a much lower carbon burden per kilowatt-hour than does coal.

Trump campaigned on a platform that Obama-era environmental regulation had led to job losses, particularly in coalmining areas. The president's top advisers have been divided over whether America should formally withdraw from the 2015 global warming pact that Obama and his deputies helped broker through the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Pruitt, however, argues the order is not bound to the worldwide agreement.

On Tuesday, President Trump will announce new executive orders that target EPA regulations that hindered electricity production in the United States.

Speaking on ABC's Sunday talk show "This Week", Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said rolling back Obama's 2015 Clean Power Plan would bring back coal jobs.

The Clean Power Plan was a set of rules introduced under the Obama administration that would have seen states pushed to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions but which was held up by legal challenges. It could take some time to work through the courts. Under that accord, which has already entered into force, the United States voluntarily committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025, while making "best efforts" to reduce those emissions by 28 percent. The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management said earlier this month it would begin the process to rescind the regulation, which requires companies to disclose the chemicals they pump underground and to seal off waste water in storage tanks.

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The executive order will also do away with two Obama-era rules. This will not have a major impact on domestic coal production, since the government has sold one set of coal leases since October 2012, and has estimated that it has already granted leases that are equivalent to a 20-year supply of coal.

"This Clean Power Plan is something that the Supreme Court, as you know, has said is likely unlawful", he said. More coal use would mean less natural gas use, EIA said.

The plan, which would limit carbon emissions from power plants and greatly reduce coal's share of U.S. power generation, was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court and has not gone into full effect.

By contrast, the Interior Department can undo the coal leasing moratorium with the stroke of a pen, the same way it was imposed a year ago, under an administrative order issued by former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

- Abolish federal guidance instructing agencies to incorporate climate change into federal decision-making. For instance, the social cost of carbon metric served as the linchpin for many Obama administration environmental rules.

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