Right Hooks

The Trump Administration's Conflicting Climate Signals

Good things are happening at the EPA, but serious questions are being raised about the Paris climate accord.

Jordan Candler · May 9, 2017

The changes the Trump administration is expected to make on environmental issues are ambiguous, to say the least. And that’s worrisome. In one sense, we’re seeing welcome results. According to The Washington Post, “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to replace half of the members on one of its key scientific review boards, while Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is ‘reviewing the charter and charge’ of more than 200 advisory boards, committees and other entities both within and outside his department.”

Contrary to what’s being reported, these moves are neither nefarious nor unforeseen. At the EPA, specifically, “All of the people being dismissed were at the end of serving at least one three-year term, although these terms are often renewed instead of terminated,” the Post explains, later adding, “Members of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors had been informed twice — in January, before President Barack Obama left office, and then more recently by EPA career staff members — that they would be kept on for another term, adding to their confusion.” Talk about having unrealistic expectations!

Pruitt is shaking things up at the EPA — and that’s good. Moreover, the administration’s revisiting statist mandates like the Clean Power Plan is another promising sign that more needed relief is on the way. That being said, there are serious questions being raised about Barack Obama’s Paris climate accord.

For the record, last year Trump vowed, “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement.” He also stated: “President Obama entered the United States into the Paris climate accords [sic] unilaterally and without the permission of Congress. This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much our energy and how much we use right here in America. So foreign bureaucrats are going to be controlling what we’re using and what we’re doing on our land in our country. No way.”

He’s right. But whether a formal dismissal actually happens remains speculative. ABC News reports, “The White House has postponed a Tuesday meeting to discuss whether the United States should withdraw from the landmark international climate deal struck in Paris under the Obama administration. The White House said late Monday that the meeting would be rescheduled. This is the second time a meeting of top aides on the issue has been delayed.” Previous reports have indicated that a climate change rift exists between Trump officials, which helps explain the delays. Ivanka Trump, anyone?

Numerous groups are imploring Trump to take the U.S. out of participation. They understand that the Paris accord isn’t just an economic bludgeon; it’s also a gross infringement on the Constitution. If the U.S. were to properly enter such an accord, it’s the Senate’s, not the president’s, duty to make it happen. If Trump backtracks on this issue, not only will the economy and Constitution suffer, but his voters won’t be very accepting of it, either.

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