Trump Ready To Pull Out Of Paris Climate Change Agreement, Advisor Says

The Trump administration is preparing to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement, said the head of President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team on Monday.

Myron Ebell, director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said Trump will be changing course with the Obama administration’s climate change policies and drop out of the 2015 Paris agreement signed by nearly 200 countries. Ebell was part of Trump’s transition team after the November election through the inauguration on Jan. 20.

“The U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy,” Ebell said. “Trump has made it clear he will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He could do it by executive order tomorrow or he could do it as part of a larger package.”

Ebell acknowledged that the timing of Trump’s decision is difficult to predict with several government departments, and other administrative positions, still in transition. He also added that he’d not met Trump in person.

A European Union official told Reuters he hopes that Trump will stick with the climate deal. European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic was a key broker in clinching Paris agreement.

“I wouldn’t hide that in discussion with our partners; there is a lot of anxiety over future U.S. policies,” Sefcovic said.

“If the (U.S) administration decides to go in a different direction, I think sooner or later they will have to come back to the realization that climate change is happening.”

Trump alarmed nations that had backed the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gases by pledging to pull out of the deal. He also told the New York Times in November that he had an “open mind” on the agreement.

Trump has been more supportive of fossil fuel, supporting policies to boost U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining through cutting back on regulations.

The future of the EPA’s rules on vehicle fuel economy and emissions has been called to question since the election.

During his Senate hearing on Trump’s appointment as EPA administrator this month, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt pledged to review the January decision by EPA to finalize the 2025 fuel economy rules. Pruitt acknowledged that climate change exists, but had led 14 lawsuits against the EPA. A vote on his nomination for EPA chief hasn’t been scheduled yet.

The controversial decision to finalize the rules through 2025 was made by former EPA chief Gina McCarthy on January 13. Reuters described the action as “a bid to maintain a key part of (Obama) administration’s climate legacy.”

Several automakers had appealed to Trump to soften the fuel economy and emissions mandate, which would nearly double fleet-wide fuel efficiency by 2025. The rules would impose heavy costs on automakers that could clash with consumer preferences for trucks and SUVs, they said.

The Trump administration has directed the EPA to halt all of its contracts, grants, and interagency agreements pending a review, sources said.

SEE ALSO:  EPA Finalizes 2025 Fuel Economy Rules Before Trump Enters Office

Ebell said that the Trump administration will have to decide whether it wants to directly pull out of the Paris accord or to send a letter withdrawing from the 1992 international framework accord; the 1992 accord is considered to be the parent treaty of the new agreement.

Pulling out of the Paris agreement after ratifying it has a four year wait period. The Obama administration committed to honoring the Paris accord last year.

Ebell thinks withdrawing from the Paris accord would be the “cleanest way” to go.

“Whether the U.N. secretariat wants the U.S. to continue to have a seat at the table is up to them. I don’t think Trump cares about that. The people who elected him would prefer not to have a seat at the table,” Ebell said.

On another energy and vehicle emissions topic, Ebell predicts that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under Trump will be supportive of liquefied natural gas pipelines. That regulatory commission overseas construction of natural gas pipelines.

“Given the way the campaign went, I think you will see very quick executive action to expedite LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals and pipelines,” he said.

Some U.S. fleets are using LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG) as alternatives to diesel in heavy-duty trucks. They acknowledge improvements in greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel, stability in prices, and accessibility of the domestic fuel.

Reuters


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