The White House is still deciding whether or not it will honor one of President Donald Trump’s biggest campaign promises regarding energy policy — to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
“Trump’s advisers have not yet fleshed out a detailed position on whether the U.S. should stay in the Paris agreement,” a source told Politico. The agreement, which was spearheaded by the Obama administration, entered into force November, 2016.
The source said “[s]ome advisers have argued the U.S. should pull out altogether, a process that would take years under the agreement’s rules” while “[o]thers favor staking out a middle ground, perhaps by staying in the agreement and rewriting the emissions reduction targets that Obama set.”
President Barack Obama pledged to cut U.S. emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, largely through his “Climate Action Plan” — a sweeping regulatory agenda targeting emissions from power plants, appliances, vehicles and energy production.
Not everyone is dismayed at news of dissent within the Trump administration over the Paris agreement.
“President Trump has made clear he want to keep his campaign promises,” Myron Ebell, the director of energy policy at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) who also worked for Trump’s transition team.
“Every administration is going to have these dissenting voices. So far president Trump has been a stand-up guy about keeping his promises,” Ebell told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Trump also promised to roll back Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” and is readying an executive order to rescind major regulations impacting coal mines and coal-fired power plants as soon as next week.
But news reports surrounding the planned order have Paris agreement opponents worried.
Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, reportedly intervened to get language critical of Paris stripped from the order.
Kushner and Ivanka “intervened to strike language about the climate deal from an earlier draft of the executive order,” sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
Ivanka and her husband “have been considered a moderating influence on the White House’s position on climate change and environmental issues,” WSJ reports.
Trump promised supporters he would withdraw from the Paris agreement.
“We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs,” Trump told energy industry representatives in a May, 2016, campaign speech in North Dakota.
“President Obama entered the United States into the Paris Climate Accords – unilaterally, and without the permission of Congress,” Trump said. “This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America.”
The White House originally planned to include language in Trump’s pending energy executive order designating the Paris agreement a “treaty,” even though it was never ratified by the Senate, according to those familiar with the matter.
Trump did say he’d keep an “open mind” on the Paris agreement in a New York Times interview after winning the election in November and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told lawmakers he supported staying in the Paris agreement during his confirmation hearing.
The executive order is not expected to mention the Paris agreement, despite Trump’s campaign pledge to “cancel” the agreement.
Pulling Out Of Paris
If Trump were to stay in the Paris agreement, it would largely be symbolic, since he plans to repeal Obama-era policies to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
Emissions targets under the Paris agreement are legally non-binding, but other parts aren’t. And there’s always the chance a future administration could use the agreement to impose climate policies.
Ebell hopes Trump will bring the Paris agreement before the Senate for a vote. It’s almost certain to be defeated, and Ebell said that will send a message to the rest of the world.
“It shows the world it’s not just President Trump who’s against this,” Ebell said.
“If you just leave it hanging, then you’re going to get attacked all around the world you’re the only person standing in the way of saving the planet,” Ebell said. “I’m hopeful there will be a vote.”
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