Obama’s Climate Scheme Failed on All Accounts

The Trump administration is dismantling President Barack Obama’s climate legacy piece by piece, and this week it’s taking an axe to arguably the biggest piece.

In an expected move, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt officially began the process of rolling back the incorrectly named Clean Power Plan.

If the Trump administration is intent on achieving 3 percent economic growth and rescinding costly regulations that carry negligible climate benefits—and if it is concerned about preserving our energy grid—the Clean Power Plan is a must-go.

Under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Obama EPA formalized regulations to reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants.

Using a name that surely message-tested well, the Clean Power Plan had nothing to do with eradicating hazardous pollutants from power generation. The U.S. already has laws on the books to protect Americans’ health from emissions that have adverse environmental impacts.

Instead, the Clean Power Plan regulated carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas, because of its alleged contribution to climate change.

From Day One, Obama’s Clean Power Plan was fraught with problems—economically, environmentally, and legally.

For starters, families and businesses would have been hit with more expensive energy bills.

How so? The plan set specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions for each state based on the states’ electricity mix and offered “flexible” options for how states could meet the targets.

But no matter how states would have developed their plans, the economic damages would have been felt through higher energy costs, fewer job opportunities, and fewer energy choices for consumers.

The EPA’s idea of flexibility would not have softened the economic blow. It merely meant that Americans would have incurred higher costs through different mechanisms.

Environmentally, the climate impact of the Clean Power Plan would have been pointless. According to climatologist Paul Knappenberger:

Even if we implement the Clean Power Plan to perfection, the amount of climate change averted over the course of this century amounts to about 0.02 C. This is so small as to be scientifically undetectable and environmentally insignificant.

Legally, the Clean Power Plan was on shaky ground, to say the least. The regulation grossly exceeded the statutory authority of the EPA, violated the principles of cooperative federalism, and double-regulated existing power plants, which the Clean Air Act prohibits.

Take it from Laurence Tribe, Harvard University professor of constitutional law and a “liberal legal icon” who served in Obama’s Justice Department.

Tribe stated in testimony before Congress that the “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the states, Congress, and the federal courts—all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.”

It’s no surprise that more than half the states in the country petitioned the Supreme Court to pause implementation of the regulation, and judges obliged, issuing a stay in 2016.

Pruitt, who led the charge against a rogue EPA as attorney general in Oklahoma, will respect the limits of the EPA as head of the agency. The EPA will now go through the formal rule-making and public comment period in order to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

What comes after that remains to be seen. State attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts, as well as environmental activist groups, are lining up to sue. The EPA could offer a far less stringent replacement regulation, which some industry groups are pushing for to buttress against lawsuits.

If members of Congress are fed up that policy continues to be made through the executive branch with a phone and a pen, they should step to the plate and legislate.

In this case, the solution is clear. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress should pass legislation prohibiting the EPA and other agencies from implementing harmful regulations that stunt economic growth and produce futile climate benefits.

Commentary by Nicolas Loris. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

GOP warns Trump: Staying in Paris deal preserves Obama-era regulations

Republican senators on Thursday morning warned President Trump that remaining in the landmark Paris climate pact will essentially guarantee that a host of Obama-era environmental regulations remain on the books for good.

In a letter to the president, the lawmakers urged Mr. Trump to withdraw from the deal, which calls on the U.S. to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025. Mr. Trump, who vowed during his campaign to withdraw from the accord, has said he’ll make a decision after he returns home from the G-7 summit in Italy.

While some administration officials — including Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson — want the U.S. to remain a part of the agreement, GOP senators argue that doing so could lead to the preservation of former President Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda, including the Clean Power Plan, the first set of national limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

Read more at The Washington Times.

Despite rhetoric, Trump still not pulling US out of UN climate scheme

There is only one way to eliminate the threat posed by U.N. schemes.  Click here to tell Congress to GET THE UNITED STATES OUT OF THE UNITED NATIONS! -ABE

Over the weekend, to the shock of many observers and loyal members of President Donald Trump’s base, The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration was seeking to avoid withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn quickly sought to squelch these rumors, saying, “We are withdrawing, and we made that as clear as it can be. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.”

Cohn’s assertion of U.S. withdrawal is encouraging, but if the Trump administration wants to end all internal and external speculation over Paris, it should withdraw from the entire United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Moreover, if the administration wants to achieve its goal of 3 percent economic growth and give the coal industry an opportunity to compete, withdrawal from Paris and the Framework Convention is critical.

When President Barack Obama joined the Paris accord in 2016, he avoided sending the agreement to the Senate for advice and consent as the Constitution requires for treaties. The agreement committed the U.S. to reducing greenhouse gas levels across the entire economy by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025, all without legislative consent.

Following through to meet these targets would require the Trump administration to enforce a number of costly Obama-era energy regulations. Trump has promised to end such regulations—indeed, they would make no noticeable impact on global temperatures.

While the Paris Agreement is nonbinding, remaining in the agreement would provide justification for a future administration to pile additional climate regulations on the energy industry—on top of those that the Obama administration promulgated. Thus, it is essential to withdraw.

Trump campaigned on “canceling” the global warming agreement and then followed through by announcing his intensions to withdraw from the Rose Garden in June. Foreign leaders immediately slammed the decision, calling the move “a major fault against humanity and against our planet.”

Yet these criticisms proved to be an act of hypocrisy. According to a recent article in Nature“All major industrialized countries are failing to meet the pledges they made to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.”

And that’s just the industrialized world. To achieve any meaningful reduction in warming by reducing greenhouse gases, developing countries would have to remain de-developed or meet their growing energy needs without coal, oil, or natural gas.

Conventional fuels will be essential to meeting future energy needs in the developing world, where more than 1.2 billion people (17 percent of the global population) do not have access to reliable electricity. Pretending otherwise is simply ignoring reality.

The German environmental and human rights group Urgewald projects that 1,600 new coal-fired generation plants are either under construction or planned, resulting in 840,000 megawatts of new capacity.

It estimates that these new plants represent a 43 percent global expansion of coal spread across 62 different countries, 14 of which previously have not had any coal power at all.

For countries that do not have access to reliable power, the imminent threat of energy poverty is much more pressing than reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Paris Agreement is not just poor economic and climate policy for the United States—it’s poor policy for the rest of the world, too.

To formally leave Paris, the U.S. must wait until November 2019 to submit a notice of withdrawal. The U.S. would then officially exit the agreement one year later.

Having such a large window of time leaves more opportunities for discussions of avoiding withdrawal, or potentially seeking a renegotiation of the accord. But renegotiating the agreement is a nonstarter, as there are no terms that could possibly assuage the economic concerns posed by the deal or achieve any meaningful climate benefit.

Rather than wait, there is a shorter, more effective solution than just withdrawing from Paris. Trump could end all speculation by officially withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes the Paris Agreement.

Withdrawal from the Framework Convention would enter into force one year after the secretary-general of the United Nations receives notification.

Such a withdrawal would send a clear signal throughout the U.S. government, to the business community, and to every foreign leader that the current international approach to climate change is costly, ineffective, and unworkable.
Commentary by Nicolas Loris. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

Trump admin backs UN oceans plan

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States supported a global call to action at the United Nations on Friday to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources, even as it noted President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw from a pact to fight climate change.

The first U.N. Ocean Conference ended on Friday with the adoption of a Call to Action, which said: “We are particularly alarmed by the adverse impacts of climate change on the ocean.”

“We recognize, in this regard, the particular importance of the Paris Agreement, adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” it read.

After the consensus adoption, David Balton, deputy U.S. assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries, reminded the summit “that on June 1 our president announced that the United States will withdraw from or renegotiate U.S. participation in the Paris agreement or another international climate deal.”

Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris agreement drew anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry.

Speaking after the United States, French Ambassador for the Oceans Serge Segura received applause from delegates in the U.N. General Assembly after stating climate change was real.

“France is committed to upholding all of our obligations under the Paris agreement both for our welfare, but also for the welfare of the international community as a whole,” he said.

The week long ocean summit promoted partnerships, such as between governments and businesses, to address issues such as marine pollution, ocean acidification, and marine research. More than 1,300 voluntary commitments to save the ocean were made.

Safegarding the ocean was one of 17 goals adopted in 2015 by the 193 U.N. member states as part of an agenda for the world’s sustainable development up to 2030. Another goal calls for “urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”

 

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Tom Brown)

 

‘President Trump believes the climate is changing’: Ambassador Haley

Contact the White House!  Tell President Trump to DROP his belief in liberal hoaxes! – Donald Ferguson

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump “believes the climate is changing,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Saturday after Trump’s decision to take the United States out of the Paris climate accord sparked dismay across the world.

“President Trump believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of the equation,” Haley said during an excerpt of a CNN interview released on Saturday. The interview will be broadcast on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Trump “knows that it’s changing and that the U.S. has to be responsible for it and that’s what we’re going to do,” Haley said.

On Thursday, Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate change pact, tapping into his “America First” campaign theme. He said participating in the pact would undermine the U.S. economy, wipe out jobs, weaken national sovereignty and put his country at a permanent disadvantage.

“Just because the U.S. got out of a club doesn’t mean we aren’t going to care about the environment,” Haley said.

Later on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence said that remaining in the accord would have proved costly to U.S. economic growth and to the working-class Americans at the core of Trump’s political base.

“By withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, President Donald Trump chose to put the forgotten men and women of America first. And he always will,” Pence told a political rally in Iowa.

On Friday, nobody at the White House was able to say whether Trump believed in climate change. In recent years, he has expressed skepticism about whether climate change is real, sometimes calling it a hoax. But since becoming president, he has not offered an opinion.

The decision to take the United States out of the pact prompted a negative reaction around the world, and world leaders redoubled their commitment to an accord agreed to by every country on the planet save Nicaragua and Syria.

China and Europe on Friday pledged to unite to save what German Chancellor Angela Merkel called “our Mother Earth,” standing firmly against Trump’s decision.

The vast majority of scientists believe global warming is mainly the result of human activities, including power generation, transportation, agriculture and industry.

A small group of skeptics, some of them in the White House, believe the Paris pact threatened business.

 

(Reporting by Mike Stone; additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

 

#ParisAgreement means global carbon prices will soar 2000 percent: World Bank

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By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) – The cost of emitting carbon dioxide must rise to $50-$100 per tonne by 2030, much higher than the current price in Europe of less than $6, if countries are to meet climate pledges made under the Paris Agreement, economists said on Monday.

It follows a call this month by a group of more than 200 businesses and governments, including oil majors Shell and BP, for a worldwide carbon pricing system to prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

For now, 40 countries, more than 20 cities and some other areas price carbon emissions using taxes or emissions trading systems (ETS). But the schemes only cover about 15 percent of global heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and the businesses say pricing systems need to be extended to the rest of the world.

The Commission on Carbon Prices, a group of 13 leading economists supported by the World Bank, said in their report that carbon dioxide prices would need to be $40-$80 per tonne by 2020, rising to $50-$100 per tonne the following decade.

“If we are going to meet the commitments of Paris, we will have to have prices (at those levels) … The costs of not doing it will be much higher,” Columbia University Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, a commission member, told a news briefing.

High prices for carbon dioxide, against which most greenhouse gasses are prices, make it more expensive for firms to emit the pollutants and encourage investment in low carbon technology, such as wind and solar power or energy efficiency measures.

Under the Paris deal, more than 190 countries pledged to keep planet-warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Prices in Europe’s ETS, the world’s largest carbon market, now trade around 5 euros ($5.60) a tonne and are forecast to average just over 16 euros a tonne from 2021-2030.

Stiglitz said it was reasonable to expect global carbon prices to rise much higher and many firms based investment decision on much higher prices than now. Shell and BP work out the feasibility of projects based on a carbon price of $40.

The commission said carbon pricing needed to be combined with policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and innovation.

While carbon pricing was a good idea for all nations, poorer countries might need to start at a lower level and build to a higher price, the report said.

($1 = 0.8929 euros)

(Additional reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Edmund Blair)

France’s Macron urges Trump to avoid hasty climate change decision

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By Marine Pennetier

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron urged Donald Trump on Thursday not to take any hasty decisions on a global climate change deal that the U.S. president threatened during his election campaign to abandon.

Macron and Trump also discussed the Syrian crisis, counter-terrorism and defense spending over lunch at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Brussels, their first meeting since Macron was elected on May 7 after a turbulent campaign.

Macron, a centrist, described their conversation as warm and pragmatic but also said it had been “extremely direct and very frank”, acknowledging there were subjects where the two leaders did not necessarily see eye-to-eye.

French diplomats had said beforehand that Macron would use the meeting to try to convince Trump to stick to a global deal to combat climate change.

Trump, who doubts climate change is human-made and made a campaign pledge to “cancel” the 2015 Paris Agreement, has postponed a planned decision on whether to stay or leave that had been due before the May 26-27 summit in Italy.

Macron said he respected Trump’s decision to put the Paris agreements under review.

“I reminded him of the importance these agreements have for us,” Macron said, adding that the pact was also important for job creation and economic development.

“My wish in any case is that there should be no hasty decision on this subject by the United States because it is our collective responsibility to retain the global nature of this pledge, which was a first,” Macron told reporters.

On the Syrian conflict, Macron said he hoped all parties to the conflict could agree to create a diplomatic roadmap to a settlement, “and I think that he (Trump) shares this view.”

A White House summary of the meeting did not mention climate change but said Trump had urged France to meet the NATO target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense and to ensure that NATO was focused on counter-terrorism. France spent about 1.8 percent of its GDP on defense in 2016, according to NATO figures.

When the two leaders met, Trump was fulsome in his congratulations on Macron’s election victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen, saying he had run “an incredible campaign and had a tremendous victory”.

“All over the world they are talking about it and we have a lot to discuss including terrorism and other things. Congratulations, great job,” Trump said.

Although the two men barely know each other but they seemed to have a hard time letting go when they first met.

Each man gripped each other’s right hand so firmly that their knuckles turned white and their jaws seemed to clench.

When NATO leaders greeted Macron at the new alliance headquarters later, Macron pointedly headed straight for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, embracing her and shaking the hand of NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg before another muscular handshake with Trump.

(Writing by Michel Rose and Adrian Croft, editing by Ed Osmond and Angus MacSwan)