It would be a gross understatement to say that president-elect Donald Trump hasn’t kept his intentions regarding environmental policy a secret — he’s outright declared climate change to be a hoax, promised to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, pull out of the Paris Agreement, withdraw all funding from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, and reverse various environmental initiatives put in place by the previous administration. Needless to say, these plans do not bode well for the environment.
As we reported earlier, Trump has appointed Myron Ebell as head of the EPA Transition Team, an individual openly in sync with Trump’s policies, with the Financial Times having called him “one of America’s most prominent climate change skeptics”. With a Republican majority in the government, Trump will likely have little to no opposition in dismissing the nearly half-century-old agency.
Also on the chopping block is Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the mechanism for controlling carbon emissions from power plants, a key factor in enabling the U.S. to meet it’s goals under the Paris Agreements.
However, the United States’ involvement in the Paris Agreement is also a target in Trump’s crosshairs: he’s stated that he will try to pull out of the deal, and end U.S. funding toward the UNFCCC. However, abandoning the deal mightn’t be quite that easy: as the deal stands, there is a four-year withdrawal period, during which the U.S. would sill be required to fulfill its responsibilities, before exiting completely.
These responsibilities are currently being negotiated a the U.N. climate conference that is now underway in Marrakech, Morocco — a conference consisting of delegates that are questioning what will become of their endeavors, now that it looks likely that the U.S. is likely to remove itself from the stage.
There is also the possibility that Trump may opt to exit the UNFCCC altogether, a move that would only carry a one-year penalty, as opposed to the four-year period. This would be a drastic measure, but would be a move not outside of Trump’s temperament.
While Ebell’s appointment as the head of the EPA is certain, there are also concerns over Trump’s rumored choices for various positions within his cabinet, including appointing Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm as Secretary of Energy, and Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas being rumored to be the front-runner for the position of Secretary of the Interior. These choices would be in line with the Republican party’s plans to open up protected areas to exploitation, including increased oil drilling, greenlighting the Keystone XL pipeline project, increasing coal production, and cutting investment into renewable energy sources.