Trump seeks to overhaul signature Obama climate policy: report
President Trump is planning to introduce a proposal that would allow states to establish emissions standards for coal-fired power plants rather than expediting their elimination.
The move, which marks a significant reversal of a key Obama-era policy, is expected to result in the release of at least 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the next 10 years, compared to the amount projected under former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan in the same time, The Washington Post reported.
The move comes amid multiple warnings from scientists that failing to reduce carbon emissions will have dire consequences for the climate.
Two administration officials told the Post that Trump could announce the policy change as soon as Tuesday during a visit to West Virginia, where the president has vowed to bring back coal-dependent jobs.
“America is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance, including more than 250 years worth of beautiful clean coal. We have ended the war on coal, and will continue to work to promote American energy dominance!” Trump tweeted in May.
America is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance, including more than 250 years worth of beautiful clean coal. We have ended the war on coal, and will continue to work to promote American energy dominance!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the policy could impact as many as 300 power plants, reducing any incentive to shift from coal operations to using a cleaner source of energy, according to the paper.
The proposal, the Post reported, would reduce CO2 emissions by 0.7 to 1.5 percent by 2030. Under the Obama-era rule, the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, emissions could have been cut by about 19 percent in the same period.
“These numbers tell the story, that they really remain committed not to do anything to address greenhouse gas emissions. They show not merely indifference to climate change, but really, opposition to doing anything about climate change,” Joseph Goffman, executive director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program and one of the architects behind the Obama-era policy, told the Post.
Trump has targeted Obama-era environmental policies before, notably pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord in 2017. Under the agreement, the U.S. pledged to cut overall CO2 emissions between 26 and 28 percent by 2025, compared to 2005 emissions levels.
The U.S. is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, according to the World Resources Institute. The EPA notes that the power sector is the No. 2 contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.