Published on March 6th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
Trump, The CPP, EPA, & Renewable Energy Jobs — What To Expect This Week?
March 6th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
For many of us, the discontent that has been quietly growing (quickly escalating?) over the future of America’s environmental, climate, and energy policies was set to come to a head this week — and then Donald Trump took to Twitter to decry an act of McCarthyism of the former US President, and then everything else sort of took a backseat for a while.
However, this week is set to be a tough one for America’s environmental, climate, and energy industries, with the expectation of several new Executive Orders on the horizon.
Very little attention was given to these sectors in Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress (not a State of the Union — that comes next year), but Tina Casey dug into what there was available.
Moving into this week, the first thing we can expect is for Donald Trump to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), now under the unsteady and coal-stained-hand of Scott Pruitt, to reverse the Obama Administration’s Final Determination which required automakers to meet an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
This is unsurprising, given Scott Pruitt was put in the position with the sole purpose of rolling back Obama-era climate and energy policies that he (and others) deemed to be ‘over-regulating state’s rights’ or some such nonsense. Pruitt, who as former Attorney General of Oklahoma tried to sue the EPA 14 times, signaled his intention to begin this deregulation in late February, in a speech given at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Stepping into this new week, we are also expecting Donald Trump to sign into law new Executives Orders (EO) which will, among other things, bring to an end President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Reports have been circulating for the past two weeks that we can expect it “next week,” and we are now at the doorstep to another “next week.” But given the timing of the expected EPA regulations on automakers to be rolled back, it would be of little surprise to see a bundle of climate- and energy-related EOs signed this week.
However, one thing working in the industry’s favor may be the timing of President Trump’s expected new Executive Order on immigration — a replacement for the current immigration EO which is being held up by courts across the country. The “urgent” EO has apparently been delayed several times so that Trump’s press cycle would not be cluttered — raising the question of just how “urgent” this “urgent” EO actually is.
A repeal of the Clean Power Plan has long been on the cards — in the face of all evidence of its popularity and success. A recent analysis conducted by Energy Innovation of the effects of repealing the CPP have found that it would result in an increase of carbon dioxide equivalent (C2e) emissions of more than 500 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2030, and 1200 MMT in 2050. The repeal would also result in additional cumulative net costs to the US economy in excess of $100 billion by 2030, and $600 billion by 2050.
The repeal would also result in 120,000 new premature deaths by 2050 as a result of particulate pollution, and increase coal generation capacity 55% while decreasing wind and solar generation capacity by 35% and 23% respectively.
Yet none of this matters much to Republicans who have long been seeking to do away with anything linked to climate change and global warming — considering these flimsy scientific theories at best, and Chinese hoaxes at worst. Yet Bloomberg New Energy Finance made an interesting point, highlighting the potential impact on US jobs a roll-back of environmental regulations might have. Specifically, the wind and solar industries last year contained 360,000 jobs — jobs that will be placed at significant risk if the CPP is repealed and other environmental, climate, and energy regulations are rolled back.
“There is nothing that matters more to politicians than jobs and ribbon cuttings,’’ Bob Keefe, executive director of the non-profit group Environmental Entrepreneurs, said during a speech Friday at a climate-change conference in Chicago. “They need to hear from business people that this is driving growth.’’
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