By Jeff McMahon
For all his talk of saving the coal industry from the Chinese hoax of climate change, President Donald Trump has exerted only marginal drag so far on the nation’s progress toward the emission-reduction goals set by Barack Obama.
Some of Trump’s environmentally damaging initiatives have been halted in the courts, others have inspired greater efforts by states, cities and businesses, but according to Trevor Houser, leader of the energy and climate team at the Rhodium Group, three of his regulatory rollbacks are bound to take a toll.
The three are:
- Withdrawal of support for Obama’s Clean Power Plan and its proposed replacement by a weaker regulation,
- Efforts to dismantle Obama-era controls on methane emissions from oil and gas operations, and
- The proposal to freeze vehicle fuel-economy standards at their 2020 level instead of allowing them to continue to tighten.
“Those have certainly slowed the pace of decline in U.S. emissions,” Houser said last week in an appearance at the University of Chicago. But “those regulatory rollbacks haven’t been enough yet to completely offset the gains we’re making in technology and policy at the state level.”
Those three rollbacks will reduce U.S. progress toward its 2025 Paris Agreement pledge by 1 to 2 percent, Houser estimated at an event hosted by the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago.
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