Overnight Energy: Trump doubts climate report’s warnings | Drilling on federal lands contributes to a quarter of carbon emissions | Zinke goes to bat for House farm bill

Overnight Energy: Trump doubts climate report’s warnings | Drilling on federal lands contributes to a quarter of carbon emissions | Zinke goes to bat for House farm bill
© Getty Images

TRUMP DOESN'T 'BELIEVE' CLIMATE REPORT WARNINGS: President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE said Monday that he doesn't "believe" the findings of a major report his administration released forecasting dire consequences to the United States from climate change.

"Yeah, I don't believe it," Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally for Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith (R) in Mississippi, when asked about the predictions of economic devastation.

"I've seen it, I've read some of it, and it's fine," Trump said of the report.

The report, part of the fourth congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment from the multi-agency Global Change Research Program, came out Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and a major shopping day for the United States. That led critics to charge that Trump was trying to bury the findings.

ADVERTISEMENT

The hundreds of government and external scientists involved in the research concluded that climate change could cost the United States billions of dollars annually within decades if greenhouse gases aren't dramatically reduced.

"Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century," it found.

The conclusions generally align with the scientific consensus on climate change, including that human activity, via greenhouse gas emissions, is the chief cause of global warming and its impacts.

Trump has been outspoken in doubting the scientific consensus on climate change. He tweeted in 2012, "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

Trump further seemed to doubt climate change in a tweet last week, tweeting, "Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS - Whatever happened to Global Warming?"

Read more.

 

Happy Monday! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news.

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.

 

DRILLING ON FEDERAL LAND RESPONSIBLE FOR A QUARTER OF CO2: Drilling on public lands contributes nearly a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., according to a new Trump administration report.

The first-of-its-kind U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report, released late Friday, found that emissions from fossil fuels produced on federal lands and offshore areas represent an average of 24 percent of all national emissions of carbon, a major contributor to air pollution and climate change.

Wyoming was the top contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Federal lands within the state contributed 57 percent of the climate change contributing emissions across all states and offshore areas combined.

The report was released on the same day as another Trump administration report that raised an alarm over U.S. efforts to stave off the effects of climate change, arguing that they are insufficient. Democrats were quick to criticize the timing of that report's release -- the day after Thanksgiving -- and said it highlighted a need to address emissions as soon as possible.

The USGS report, requested in 2016 under President Obama, measured total greenhouse gas emissions from oil, gas and coal drilling and mining on public land between 2005 and 2014. It found that emissions for all three greenhouse gases dropped in 2014 compared to 2005 values, including a 6 percent drop in carbon emissions.

Fluctuations in greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel production are closely tied, according to the study.

Read more.

 

ZINKE: HOUSE FARM BILL WOULD SAVE 'FORESTS AND LIVES': Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeUndoing the damage Pruitt and Zinke did to our environment The Hill's 12:30 Report — Flynn awaits sentencing | White House signals it wants to avoid shutdown The Hill's Morning Report — What a shutdown would mean for the government MORE on Monday reiterated calls for Congress to enact more aggressive forest management policies included in the House-passed farm bill, saying they could save forests and lives and create jobs in the logging industry.

An opinion piece by Zinke published on CNN largely aligned with what he told reporters last week, although this time he did not blame "radical environmentalists" for the wildfires in California.

Zinke also did not directly mention climate change, which his critics say is a primary factor making wildfires worse.

"California is a tinderbox. The ongoing drought, warm temperatures, insect infestations, poor forest management, continued residential and commercial expansion in the wildland-urban interface and other factors have made the western United States more prone to fire," Zinke wrote.

Zinke and the Trump administration want Congress to approve measures in a farm bill passed this year in the House, which would give the Interior Department and the Forest Service new authority to clear risky biomass like dead trees and brush from forests.

The controversial measures include new exemptions from environmental review for many forest-thinning practices, reducing barriers to removing wood after fires and making it easier to build roads through federal land in the name of forest management.

"Now Congress has the opportunity to pass good policy that saves forests and lives by including House-passed proposals for forest management in the Farm Bill," he wrote.

Read more.

 

ON TAP TUESDAY:

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet to vote on three nominations: Bernard McNamee to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, David Vela to be director of the National Park Service and Rita Baranwal to be assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy.

McNamee's confirmation process has proven to be extraordinarily controversial due to his past positions at the Department of Energy and the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. Video surfaced last week from earlier this year in which McNamee in which he harshly criticized renewable energy and said fossil fuels are "key to our way of life," among other comments.

Read more about the video in Utility Dive.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

A California lawmaker is planning to introduce legislation that would give utility PG&E a new way to pay for its liabilities from wildfires, but would provide the liability relief it wants, Bloomberg reports.

Venezuela is settling a $1.2 billion arbitration claim with a Canadian mining company in a move that would protect Citgo from being taken away, Reuters reports.

A group of young people from Quebec are suing Canada's federal government to try to compel stronger action against climate change, the Canadian Press reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Monday's stories ...

- Trump on dire warnings in climate report: 'I don't believe it'

- Zinke: House farm bill would save 'forests and lives,' create logging jobs

- Public land drilling contributes a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in US: report

- GOP senator: Trump administration needs to look at 'consequences of inaction' on climate change

- Saudi oil production rises to record amid Trump push