March 28 (Renewables Now) - US President Donald Trump is to sign today an executive order to scale down, review or kill climate policies put in place by the Obama administration, such as the Clean Power Plan and the moratorium on coal leases on federal lands.
A senior administration official told reporters on Monday that Trump’s direction will be different, and that he will not support climate or environmental policies that might hurt the US economy.
The Clean Power Plan, announced in 2015 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sets carbon dioxide (CO2) emission limits for existing power plants in separate states. The main goal is to cut CO2 emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, thanks to the use of more renewables and other measures.
In November 2016, after the results of the US presidential election were known, clean energy investors shared their concern that Trump would move away from the Clean Power Plan and exit the Paris Agreement. The executive order to be signed today will direct Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA and a strong opponent of the Clean Power Plan, to launch a review of it. It is also expected to overturn measures to limit coal leasing on public lands, methane regulations, and requirements to take into account climate change effects in environmental assessments. The order will also call for a re-evaluation of the social-cost-of-carbon rule in decision making, which was introduced by Obama.
“This order ignores the law and scientific reality. Dirty coal power is never coming back because it can’t compete with clean energy, and denial won’t make climate change go away. Earthjustice will continue to defend clean air and progress on climate in court and out, and we will never back down from protecting our public lands,” said Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen. Other green groups are also expected to fight any move by the new administration to back out of climate policies.
“The administration is out of step with US companies, investors and consumers who want clean energy that is delivering jobs and revitalizing communities. Many governors and mayors will continue to embrace low-carbon solutions because it’s good for jobs, people and the planet,” said Andrew Steer, head of the World Resources Institute, adding that the executive order will undermine people’s health and the US economy.