Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trump Administration May Not Find Middle Ground On Paris Climate Deal

White House Divided Over Trump’s Election Pledge To Cancel Paris Climate Deal

We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs. -- Donald Trump, election pledge, 26 May 2016

As the Trump administration debates whether to stay in the Paris climate agreement, observers are skeptical that opposing wings of the administration will reach a middle ground. Trump has been critical of the Paris deal’s potential effect on the U.S. economy, and told Reuters during last year’s presidential campaign that he may “renegotiate” the deal. But it seems unlikely that the debate could lead to a compromise in which the U.S. stays in the Paris agreement while reducing its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Michael McKenna, an energy lobbyist who led the Department of Energy’s transition team, said the text of the deal does not allow countries to reduce their commitments, and anything but a full-fledged withdrawal would undermine Trump’s focus on rolling back environmental regulations. The agreement’s text specifically allows a country to adjust its greenhouse gas targets if it is “enhancing its level of ambition,” but not to reduce promises. --Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult, 17 April 2017

President Trump’s divided policy advisers will meet Tuesday afternoon to hash over whether Mr. Trump should withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate accord of 2015, and the side pressing the president to remain in the deal enters the pivotal meeting with the upper hand. Mr. Trump plans to make a final decision on the fate of the Paris agreement before a meeting of the Group of 7 leading economies at the end of May, according to Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary. On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump vowed to “cancel” the climate deal, and his most politically conservative advisers, including his senior strategist Stephen K. Bannon, have pushed him to follow through. But Mr. Bannon’s influence has waned in recent weeks, while authority has risen for Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who advocate staying in the accord. --Coral Davenport, The New York Times, 18 April 2017

The conservative free-market think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute started an online campaign Tuesday to urge President Trump to keep his campaign promise and withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement. “The Paris climate treaty requires the United States to make drastic cuts in fossil fuel energy use by 2025, which will raise energy prices and slow economic recovery from our decade-long slump,” said Myron Ebell, who leads the free-market group’s environment program. Ebell was Trump’s former head of transition for the Environmental Protection Agency. In recent weeks, he has criticized Trump for appearing to be giving way to “swamp creatures,” who are urging him not to leave the Paris Agreement. Ebell warned that not withdrawing from the Paris accord would undercut Trump’s plans to undo former President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda by making Trump’s plans “vulnerable to legal challenges.” It would give environmental groups a perfect argument before the courts in persuading federal judges, and even the Supreme Court, to rule in favor of the climate rules because they underpin the climate deal, even though it is nonbinding, Ebell has argued. --The Washington Examiner, 18 April 2017

President Obama negotiated the Paris Climate Agreement to confer a treaty-like status on his domestic climate policies—often called the “war on coal” but effectively a war on affordable energy—without actually going through the treaty process, an acknowledgement that all parties knew would doom such a pact. The ultimate aim of the agreement is to make coal, oil, and natural gas increasingly uneconomical to produce, export, and consume. Remaining a party to the Agreement thus endangers the energy price edge underpinning the U.S. manufacturing renaissance President Trump seeks to launch. --Christopher C. Horner and Marlo Lewis, Jr., Competitive Enterprise Institute, 17 April 2017

Buried in an otherwise humdrum jobs report for March was the jaw-dropping pronouncement by the Labor Department that mining jobs in America were up by 11,000 in March. Since the low point in October 2016 and following years of painful layoffs in the mining industry, the mining sector has added 35,000 jobs. What a turnaround. ‎It comes at a time when liberals have been saying that Donald Trump has been lying to the American people when he has said that he can bring coal jobs back. Well, so far he has brought them back. It turns out that elections do have consequences, after all. Regime change in Washington has brought King Coal back to life since late 2016 when coal production had fallen by almost half from its peak. --Stephen Moore, The American Spectator, 17 April 2017

China’s natural gas production surged to a record last month and coal output rebounded as economic growth accelerated power use in the world’s largest energy user. Natural gas production in March rose 8.2 percent from the average of the first two months of the year to a record 13.6 billion cubic meters, according to data Monday from the National Bureau of Statistics. Coal output rose almost 13 percent over the same period to average 9.67 million tons a day, the highest daily level since December, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the data. --Bloomberg, 17 April 2017

It is now the wettest year on record in the Northern California mountains, National Weather Service officials said Thursday. An index of precipitation at eight sensors showed that just under 90 inches of rain and snow have fallen this winter in the northern Sierra Nevada. The previous record of 88.5 inches was set in the winter of 1982-1983. The average for the region is 50 inches a year, according to the state Department of Water Resources. The record was surpassed less than a week after Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared an end to California’s drought emergency. --Associated Press, 15 April 2017 

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