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Enlightened Self-interest – Opposition to Trump’s Environmental Policies

By:
Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
May 23, 2017  at  at 6:28 AM
Category
Climate Change

Prior to the US election in November 2016 the UNFCCC, the IPCC, the signatories to the Paris Accords and numerous environmental NGOs were quietly confident that the expected future Clinton Administration would continue the environmental policies of the Obama Administration. Since the election of President Trump, those organizations and their progressive allies in the US have attempted to convince the then President-elect and now President to modify the positions he espoused during his campaign regarding climate change.

They have also attempted to convince themselves and others that the momentum produced by the Paris Accords would continue regardless of the positions taken by the Trump Administration; and, they attempted to halt or slow the approval of Scott Pruitt as the new EPA Administrator. Their progressive allies in and out of government have resisted and continue to resist the changes being pursued by President Trump and Administrator Pruitt. They even organized a March for Science to demonstrate their opposition to the Administration’s climate agenda.

Several recent events have clearly demonstrated to these groups and their progressive allies that they have been unsuccessful in slowing the Administration’s pace or changing its direction.

The NGOs and others have now begun efforts to convince US businesses that they “must” take the lead in moving the US toward a clean energy economy, since the Administration has decided not to force the US economy down that path. The Environmental Defense Fund document linked above goes into significant detail regarding what they believe is in the enlightened self-interest of US businesses, apparently under the impression that those businesses would be incapable of identifying courses of action which would be in their best interests on their own; or, that they can shame the businesses into courses of action which the businesses do not see as being in their best interests.

The Administration actions so far have no impact on the climate change positions taken by several states in the Northeast and California, which have established state goals and state cap & trade programs designed to achieve those goals. The Administration actions also have no effect on the Renewable Portfolio Standards established by state legislatures and regulatory bodies regarding electric power generation. They also have no impact on state incentive programs for on-site generation, including net metering programs available from regulated utilities. However, the Administration has begun efforts to free the states from the CO2 emissions reduction requirements which would be imposed by the EPA Clean Power Plan, which has currently been stayed by the US Supreme Court.

The US “commitment” to reduce its CO2 emissions under the Paris Accords is not the only issue of discussion regarding the Accords. The developing nations have begun their “show me the money” chorus regarding the Climate Fund agreed to in Paris. It appears exceedingly unlikely that the desired $100 billion per year funding level will be achieved, despite the best intentions of the intended funders and the fondest desires of the intended recipients.