Thursday, November 10, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Victory Signals End Of The Green Age

New U.S. President Will Reverse Obama's Energy And Climate Priorities

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Victory Signals End Of The Green Age
Bloomberg News, 9 November 2016
2) New U.S. President Will Reverse Obama's Energy And Climate Priorities
The Washington Post, 9 November 2016
3) Dark Mood In Brussels: President Trump Can Kill UN Climate Deal, Warns Eu Carbon Market Chief
EurActiv 9 November 2016
4) World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Maker Sinks After Trump Victory
Bloomberg News, 9 November 2016
5) What Will President Trump Do About Climate And Energy?
Forbes, 9 November 2016

Full details:

1) Trump Victory Signals End Of The Green Age
Bloomberg News, 9 November 2016

The global fight against climate change will suffer a blow from Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, threatening the industries working to clean up pollution from fossil fuel.

The next president has questioned the science of climate change, vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement on global warming and pledging to stimulate production of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Green campaigners and policymakers, some of whom are gathered this week in Morocco for talks on implementing the Paris deal, sounded the alarm over the upheaval they expect when Trump takes office in January.

“The presidency of Donald Trump relegates the West as we knew it to the realm of the past,” Reinhard Butikofer and Monica Frassoni, co-chairs of the European Green Party, said in a statement. “If Donald Trump pursues the foreign policies that he announced during his campaign, this will severely undermine transatlantic relations, the international rule of law and world peace.”

The U.S. under President Barack Obama rescued a two-decade old process the United Nations promoted to rein in pollution damaging the climate, forging the Paris deal last year. Along with China and more than 190 other countries, the accord set out a framework for all nations to cut emissions. Trump has said he will cancel that work.

“Trump’s election is a disaster,” May Boeve, executive director of the anti-fossil-fuel campaign group, said in a statement. “Trump will try and slam the brakes on climate action. Our work becomes much harder now, but it’s not impossible, and we refuse to give up.”

Envoys drawn from environment and energy ministries gathered on Monday for two weeks off talks on climate organized by the United Nations, aiming to make progress implementing the Paris deal. They have a round of technical meetings this morning and are due to finish their work on Nov. 18 with a set of rules on how Paris will be implemented.

It would be difficult but not impossible for Trump to pull out of the Paris accord. While the Senate never voted on the Paris deal is part of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the U.S. ratified under Republican President George H.W. Bush. Trump would have to renounce the 1992 treaty or risk bringing down the entire UN process to scrap Paris. He’d have to give three year’s notice to withdraw legally.

“If the U.S. pulls out of this process and is seen as going as a rogue nation on climate change, that will have implications for everything else on President Trump’s agenda when he wants to deal with foreign leaders,” Alden Meyer, who has been following the UN talks for more than two decades, said at the organization’s annual gathering in Marrakech on Wednesday.“I think he will soon come to understand that.”

Doubts about U.S. support for the accord could stall progress in talks in Morocco this week and next, since other nations wouldn’t trust that any commitments the U.S. made will stick after Trump takes office. The U.S. is the richest among the top six polluting nations, and its support for the deal is essential to keep China and other developing economies working for cleaner industry.

French Environment Minister Segolene Royal expressed concern about Trump’s stance in a posting on Twitter, noting that Obama “ratified and committed” the U.S. to the Paris Agreement and there should be "no withdrawal,” adding, “Let’s stay vigilant for climate.”

Full story

2) New U.S. President Will Reverse Obama's Energy And Climate Priorities
The Washington Post, 9 November 2016
Steven Mufson and Brady Dennis

Donald J. Trump comes into office with a plan to toss out most of what President Obama achieved on energy and the environment.

While vowing to “cancel” the international Paris climate accord Obama championed, Trump would also rearrange domestic energy and environmental priorities. He wants to open up federal lands to oil and gas drilling and coal mining. He wants to eliminate regulations he calls needless. He would scrap proposed regulations for tighter methane controls on domestic drillers. And he wants to shrink the role of the Environmental Protection Agency to a mostly advisory one and pull back the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s proposed plan to push utilities toward lower carbon emissions.

Although Trump has portrayed himself as the ultimate outsider, in putting together a transition team the New York real estate mogul has chosen veteran Washington insiders, many of them lobbyists for fossil fuel companies and skeptics about climate science.

Oil industry executives were delighted.

“It sure looks a whole lot friendlier than it would have under President Podesta … I mean President Clinton,” Stephen Brown, vice president of government relations for the oil refiner Tesoro, said, referring to John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman who views steps to slow climate change a high priority and who led climate efforts under Obama.

Brown predicted that the Paris climate accord “will be scrapped quickly,” obstacles and “procedural hurdles” to infrastructure projects such as pipelines would be reexamined, and regulations about the social cost of carbon and other environmental impacts would be “gone.”

“The Clean Power Plan will die a slow death,” he said, adding that public lands permitting for oil and gas drilling would open up.

Only a day earlier, environmental groups had been planning to immediately press a President-elect Hillary Clinton to stick to a tough set of energy and environmental policies. Clinton had been adamant that she would follow through on the promises Obama made under the Paris climate accord, and vowed to defend and implement the Clean Power Plan and reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025, relative to 2005 levels. Yet environmental groups still believed they had to make sure she did not backslide.

Now the environmental groups that have helped shape Obama’s policies are on the defensive.

Asked how the environmental movement would deal with a President Trump, Bill McKibben, founder of the climate action group, said in an email “[I] don’t really know. I think it’s clear that he wants no part of environmental progress, and I imagine the damage from this election will be measured in geologic time. We will do what we can, but truthfully the path forward is not all that clear to me.” [...]

The cast of influential characters will be far different under Trump than Obama or Clinton.

The Trump transition teams have turned to Mike McKenna for advice on Energy and David Bernhardt, former Interior Department solicitor general under President Bush, on the Interior Department. “Both are smart, canny individuals who understand the nuances of the Departments for which they’ve been asked to provide assistance,” Scott Segal, co-head of government relations at the legal and lobbying firm Bracewell, said in an email.

McKenna, who is president of the firm MWR Strategies and who worked for both the Energy and Transportation departments, has lobbied on behalf of Dow Chemical, Koch Industries, Southern, GDF Suez and TECO Energy.

Bernhardt, a partner at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has represented a wide variety of clients on regulatory issues such as the Endangered Species Act but has not lobbied for corporations.

In addition, Myron Ebell, head of energy and environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, had headed Trump’s transition team on the EPA. Ebell has been a skeptic about climate change and has called many mainstream climate studies false.

Trump himself has called the concept of global warming everything from a “hoax” to “bulls—” to a scheme “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Segal said a Trump administration would be “clearly in favor of enhanced exploration and production of oil and gas as a tenet of energy, economic and national security policy.” His key advisers have included Oklahoma-based shale oil producer Harold Hamm and North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer (R). Trump has spoken to conferences on shale drilling in both North Dakota and Pennsylvania, rich shale drilling territory.

Segal said that Trump has said he would ” ‘revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies,’ which may be an oblique reference to new restrictions proposed on methane emissions from oil and gas production.”

On renewable fuels for vehicles, Trump has been generally supportive of ethanol, Segal said, but he wants to alter the renewable fuels policy to help refiners who have paid substantial amounts for tradable credits under a complex scheme.

But Segal cautioned that “a Trump Administration, given the nature of the campaign that was waged, has the freedom not be doctrinaire. Since the campaign was run largely outside the strictures of traditional party policy, a Trump Administration is in a sense free to develop energy policy to its own liking and based on facts on the ground as it sees them.”

3) Dark Mood In Brussels: President Trump Can Kill UN Climate Deal, Warns EU Carbon Market Chief
EurActiv 9 November 2016

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a “real and imminent threat” to the fight against climate change, and “completely upends every single element” of the Paris Agreement, making it almost impossible to deliver, the MEP leading EU carbon market reform has warned.

Trump, elected today (9 November), has called climate change a hoax, saying it was “fictional”, and “created by the Chinese”.

The president-elect has threatened to pull the US out of the UN deal to cap global warming at no more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels with an aspirational 1.5 degree target. Today, EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias CaƱete wrote to Trump, stressing the need for continued EU-US cooperation.

Ian Duncan is the Conservative member of the European Parliament leading the reform of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), the world’s largest scheme for trading emissions allowances.

Reforming the ETS is a major part of the EU strategy to cut emissions in line with the bloc’s climate commitments.

World governments are this week meeting in Marrakech, Morocco for the COP22 climate conference, which aims to thrash out the practical implication of the landmark pact to cap global warming.

“It completely upends every single element of the Paris Accord and almost certainly makes it impossible to deliver,” Duncan said.

Who will listen to US Secretary of State John Kerry in Marrakech now?, he asked. US officials in Morocco are “speaking for nobody but themselves and for an outgoing administration.”

China and the US, the world’s two biggest emitters, ratified the Agreement at the same time, giving impetus to the push that brought the deal into force on 4 November, much earlier than expected.

“The extraordinary thing about Paris was that it came together in the way it did. The 1.5 degree ambition was an incredible thing to see,” Duncan said, One year on and the US participation is now in jeopardy.

“You can’t have the EU alone addressing climate change and nobody else doing it. Your industries will suffer immediately.”

Duncan, who represents Scotland, added, “The ramifications for climate change are a real and immediate threat.”

Dark mood in European Parliament
Duncan spent this morning at a meeting of MEPs from the other major European political parties. They discussed compromised amendments on the ETS bill but there was “no doubt that everyone recognised what Trump’s victory means.”

“A dark mood is the best description,” Duncan said of the meeting. “If we look behind our shoulders and no longer see allies to our left and right, then how far ahead of the pack can we go?”

Duncan, who has argued for climate change to be excluded from any Brexit negotiations, predicted that EU unity on climate action could splinter.
Paris is based on the global pain and cost of climate action being shared, he said. Greater costs being borne by the EU as a result of US recalcitrance could sap political will.

“Carbon trading is one of the best ways to fight climate change and it can be one of the most cost effective, Duncan said.

“If a significant part of the globe has chosen not to accept the Paris accord and its thresholds and targets then it is an issue for some MS who will view their competitiveness in a different way.”

Rust belt and climate denial 
One of the major planks in Trump’s victory was his triumph in the Rust Belt, an area dominated by polluting industry and where he said old industries were from yesterday but also for tomorrow.

“I don’t see how you can retreat from that and say global warming is real.  That’s a 180-degree volte face,” said Duncan.

Full post

4) World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Maker Sinks After Trump Victory
Bloomberg News, 9 November 2016
Christian Wienberg

Shares in Vestas Wind Systems A/S plunged after U.S. voters unexpectedly propelled Republican nominee Donald Trump to the presidency, sparking concern that the renewable energy industry will face political headwinds in the future.

The world’s biggest maker of wind turbines fell as much as 14 percent and traded 6.6 percent lower at 440.20 kroner as of 10:22 a.m. in Copenhagen. The Danish company already lost ground last week as U.S. polls started to tighten, bringing this year’s declines to about 10 percent.

Analysts had already guided investors in Vestas to expect price shocks depending on the outcome of the Nov. 8 election. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that about 41.3 percent of Vestas’s revenue last year came from the Americas.

“The Vestas share reaction is a result of concerns that Trump will focus more on fossil fuels,” Otto Friedrichsen, equity strategist at Formuepleje, said by phone after the result was clear. “Now there’s concern how Vestas will perform in the U.S. under a president who’ll be more interested in looking out for the country’s coal industry.”

According to an Ernst & Young LLP survey published last month, the U.S. stands to lose its position as the top-ranked renewable-energy market for investors under a Trump administration.

Trump has made clear “he hates wind turbines and will do what he can to fight them,” Jacob Pedersen, head of equity analysis at Sydbank, said earlier this month.

Full story

5) What Will President Trump Do About Climate And Energy?
Forbes, 9 November 2016
Michael Lynch

Don’t go out and buy Air Canada stock just because Donald Trump was elected; the initial reaction is not too dissimilar from that following the elections of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.  Although many liberals were unhappy with their electoral success, the aftermath was far short of the predicted apocalypse.  Given Donald Trump’s record, expect that he, too, will prove more moderate than his pre-election stance, particularly as the realities of presidential power become more apparent.

Markets are now in turmoil, from the Mexican peso to the Japanese Nikkei index, but there will almost certainly be a bounceback as people calm down.  (Breath, just breathe, to quote Anna Nalick.)  Which doesn’t mean there won’t be negative economic repercussions, just that investors should be careful with their initial reactions.

This shift has a long history in American politics.  Kennedy’s “missile gap” warnings vanished post-election, as intelligence showed it was illusory.  Carter’s promise to pull U.S. troops out of Korea was abandoned as he came to realize the difficulties this would create.  And Obama found that closing Guantanomo was much harder for the president to accomplish.  Although Donald Trump might not go so far as Huey Long, who, on breaking his campaign promises said of the voters, “Tell them I lied,” he will probably make only token efforts to fulfill his more extreme pledges.

First, don’t expect him to move on many of his promises, like restoring coal jobs.  Like many previous candidates, once in office reality will set in and the fact that the president doesn’t determine energy markets will become abundantly clear and quickly.  More likely, he’ll work with staff to provide some kind of assistance, such as job retraining (more money for community colleges!) and infrastructure jobs.

It also seems probable that some of his more bombastic promises, such as extreme vetting of Muslim visitors or bombing the s—t out of ISIS, which would upset the international situation, will be replaced with more rational, albeit possibly harsh, policies.  Already adopting a more presidential pose, he could in coming days calm our trading partners and allies, stabilizing stock markets and hopefully avoiding a recession.

Next, while he will undoubtedly be more pro-development for petroleum, oil and gas prices are more important to that industry.  Expediting pipeline construction would help, but the many political and legal challenges faced by builders should mean minimal impact from the White House’s stance.  More access to federal lands would make conservatives happy, but the industry doesn’t lack for drilling sites, just money.

On climate change, abandoning the Paris Treaty would be primarily of symbolic importance, since implementation has always been the biggest obstacle.  China’s announcement of a 19% increase in coal capacity over the next five years demonstrates just how little committed many of the signers are.  Possibly, President Trump will try to reduce federal support for renewables, but since that would cause the loss of many jobs and Congress has already extended the Production Tax Credit for five years, it’s not clear that much will be done, or at least not very quickly.

Probably the biggest uncertainty concerns his threat to renegotiate existing trade deals such as NAFTA, which could result in enough economic uncertainty to tip the U.S., and the world, into recession.

Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at


Unknown said...

No global warming for the last 2 decades according to satellite data. Global warming is a hoax. Global greening due to higher CO2 levels, 14% in the last 30 years. ie more food. Man made catastrophic warming is a globalist hoax. IPPC predictions of doom all wrong.
Pollution is a big problem and man can definitely fix that and it should be the priority with 60% of our rivers now polluted. This is a national scandal and indictment on the 2 party political system that has got us there. That mental midget Bennet is still holding to the failed IPPC globalist propoaganda.Send her back to the kitchen where she belongs and send an intelligent person in her electorate to parliament who can understand the real data on global warming..

paul scott said...

Peter Couldon above, and readers. The information suggesting that the Sun may have something to do with climate is getting better and better presentation. Also of course the fact that Co2 emission from the sea follows warmth by some decades.
The Sumerian civilization and others dropped out when things got a little hot several thousand years ago. And the deserts like the Sahara forming over different epochs because people just would not stop driving cars all over the place. It would be nice to see the end of the United Nations, but I think HE has NATO in mind first.