Trump Signs an Executive Order to Repeal Climate Policies

Repealing climate policies

On March 28, 2017, President Trump took another step to repeal numerous Obama-era climate change policies. “My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” President Trump stated while signing an executive order that repeals the Obama Administration’s climate change policies. President Trump wants fewer regulations in the fossil fuels industry, which could stimulate job growth.

Throughout his election campaign, President Trump was very vocal about his support of fossil fuels and related industries. One of his top priorities is to scale down the EPA’s (US Environmental Protection Agency) green regulations.

The executive order asks the EPA to review the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Planaims for a 32.0% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030—compared to 2005. It focuses on natural gas (UNG), renewables (TAN), and the reduction of coal-based power generation. The executive order also lifts the temporary moratorium on new coal exploration on federal lands, which was imposed by the Obama Administration in 2016.

Will it really revive coal jobs?

Repealing climate policies might not have a significant impact on reviving coal (KOL) and related industry jobs. According to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), the US power industry is planning to increase natural gas–fired power generation capacity by 11.2 gigawatts in 2017 and 25.4 gigawatts in 2018. EIA data state that available coal capacity fell 15% in the last five years.

Natural gas became a favorite choice for power generators. It surpassed coal in total power generation mix last year. It should be noted that utilities’ (XLU) switch has been influenced mainly by changing power generation economics driven by low natural gas prices—not just because of regulations.

Utilities Will Be Impacted by Repealing Climate Policies

US power generation

Many utilities (XLU) such as American Electric Power (AEP), Southern Company (SO), and Duke Energy (DUK) have a coal-dominated generation mix. Lately, they have been shifting to natural gas and renewables generation. Many of these utilities are planning to invest in natural gas–fired and renewables generation in the near future, most likely due to the cost competiveness of these sources over coal.

According to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), the cost of natural gas delivered to power generators fell from an average price of $5.0 per MMBtu (million British thermal units) in 2014 to $3.2 per MMBtu in 2015. The cost averaged $2.78 per MMBtu from January through October 2016.

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As Ben Shaprio says: This is good Trump!

Trump’s Sweeping Executive Order on Climate Policy Has Been Sorely Needed

As promised, President Donald Trump has issued an “energy independence” executive order to undo several of the Obama administration’s climate change regulations. To the benefit of all Americans who desire affordable, dependable energy, the executive order will help energy companies establish some independence from overzealous regulators. Here’s what the order does: Orders the Environmental Protection Agency to review and repeal, or revise, the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan is the backbone of President Barack Obama’s climate agenda, requiring states to transform their electricity mix away from conventional fuels toward renewables.

The plan will raise the costs of energy, and these will be borne by all Americans, especially low-income families who spend a larger portion of their budget on energy costs. And the climate benefits would be practically undetectable, mitigating a mere few hundredths of a degree Celsius warming by the....

Even proponents of action on climate change have savaged the regulation. Climatologist James Hansen called the Clean Power Plan “practically worthless.”

Eliminates the use of the “social cost of carbon.” 

As president, Obama created an interagency working group tasked with calculating the cost of carbon dioxide emissions to the U.S. economy as a whole.

This figure, called the “social cost of carbon,” is a dollar amount that federal agencies apply to different regulations to calculate the “climate benefit” of abated carbon dioxide emissions. In 2015, the social cost of carbon was said to be $36 per ton.

The problem is that the math behind these models is completely bogus. They are essentially a faux authority that the Obama administration set up to justify its heavy regulatory agenda.

The working group, led by the EPA, used three statistical models to estimate the value of the social cost of carbon, which is defined as the economic damage that one ton of carbon dioxide emitted today will cause over the next 300 years.

In terms of accurately assessing the social cost of carbon, the EPA may well have pulled a number out of a hat. The models produce widely disparate results when making reasonable changes to key inputs, such as changing the discount rate and climate sensitivity.

To give an example, when changed from a 3 percent discount rate to a 5 percent discount rate, the EPA’s $20 billion in projected climate benefits from the Clean Power Plan regulation decreases to $6.4 billion—less than the EPA’s egregiously low projection of $8.4 billion in compliance costs.

The results are so different that in some instances, the social cost turns negative, indicating there’s actually a social benefit of carbon dioxide emissions.

Further, models start to lose credibility when they start predicting a few decades into the future. These models do just that, attempting to predict alleged climate costs centuries into the future.

The bottom line: These models are baseless tools for regulatory analysis, and scrapping the use of “social cost of carbon” is a strong step along the Trump administration’s path of providing regulatory certainty and sanity.

Rescinds moratorium on new coal leases and methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal lands.

Under Obama, the Department of Interior would not issue new coal mining leases on federal lands until the agency conducted a more comprehensive environmental review that included the estimated effects the lease would have on global warming.

Even though the overall climate impacts of these leases would be minimal, the regulation was symbolic of how the Obama administration approached coal: “Defeat by delay” and “Keep it in the ground.”

Rescinding this regulation keeps Trump’s campaign promise of giving coal communities a fighting chance. The methane regulations only added to the price of Obama’s costly climate policy without doing anything to mitigate global warming.

This is good.  The coal industry may not surpass its previous peak, but this gives it a chance to increase production, which should reduce energy costs across the board.  

Agreed, JG! At least we can now move towards energy independence and stop funding terrorism in the middle east by buying their oil. 

We export a LOT of coal to China and India. Even though our energy use may switch to natural gas, American miners will still have a ready market for their coal elsewhere.

God Bless Trump for removing this particular boot from America's throat...but there are a lot more boots out there. Hope he's looking at them, too.

Rick, thanks for the info that you posted. Good stuff.

Hi Bruce!  It's so good to see you!  

I agree - there are many things Trump can do to help turn us closer to what our founders envisioned.   I keep thinking it's his ego that will compel him to do the next right thing!  

I hope we see you frequently, as you time will allow! ~ JG

Hi :-)

I suspect there will be plenty to talk about with our new President :-)

One of my youthful studies was Graphoanalysis (IGAS in Chicago).  DJT's writing shows exceptional inquiring brain, heavy reliance on his own enquiries, strong vanity and argumentativeness, caution in abandoning principles.  One of the 'Exceptional Ones'.

I had to google Graphoanalysis...:-)

LOL Bruce!   Me too!   Great minds, I suppose!! 

What principles?  Exceptional what?

His personal.  No comment on them implied.  Exceptional personality and ability to stick with goals.  





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