The Trump administration said it would not be considering using an international cap-and-trade program to meet former President Barack Obama’s pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris agreement on climate change.
The Department of State gave generic, boilerplate responses to questions countries posed regarding aspects of America’s commitment under the Paris agreement. President Donald Trump has yet to determine whether he will keep his campaign promise to withdraw from the deal.
At one point, China asked the Trump administration if it would consider an “international market mechanism” in place of Obama-era policies to cut emissions. The Trump administration said, “No.”
“Does the U.S. have any plan or preliminary thoughts on using international market mechanism to accommodate recent changes?” China asked in questions submitted through the U.N.
“If still not, what additional measure will the U.S. consider to take to achieve the 2020 target?” China asked.
“On the first question, no,” the Trump administration responded.
China joined the EU and others in pressing the Trump administration on how it plans to cut emissions and fight global warming while also rolling back policies the Obama administration put in place.
“On the second question, the Administration is reviewing existing policies and regulations in the context of a focus on strengthening U.S. economic growth and promoting jobs for American workers, and will not support policies or regulations that have adverse effects on energy independence and U.S. competitiveness,” was the administration’s answer to most questions.
The White House’s answers to the international community’s questions don’t give much away in terms of their ultimate stance on the deal. European countries and pro-Paris administration officials have urged the president to stay in the agreement.
Pro-Paris officials, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, argue Trump should stay party to the accord but with a reduced commitment to cut emissions. Obama pledged to lower emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Sources suggest Trump is leaning towards ditching the Paris agreement, but D.C. lobbyists expect him to remain in the deal. Corporate America, including oil and coal companies, lobbied heavily for Trump to stay in the deal.
Conservative groups have lined up behind White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt — the leading voices supporting withdrawal from the deal.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) launched two ad campaigns with petitions to convince Trump to keep his campaign promise and withdraw from Paris.
CEI scholars Chris Horner and Marlo Lewis also published a paper laying out the case for why the Paris agreement should be sent to the Senate — where it would surely be voted down.
“This treaty is designed to expand every government’s control over private energy-related capital,” Lewis said, adding Obama wanted to use Paris to make his “domestic energy policies immune to legal challenges.”
“There is no way on Earth an executive can reorganize the economy for the next 35 years,” Lewis said.
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