Trump to reverse use of climate change in policy reviews: source

© Reuters. US President Trump Boards Air Force One to Return to Washington from West Palm Beach

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is preparing to issue a far-reaching executive order to reduce the role climate change plays in political decisions, according to a Trump administration official who reviewed a draft of the order.

The move could alter the way US agencies evaluate regulations in a wide range of industries, from drilling, coal mining and car manufacturing to refining.

The official confirmed Tuesday a Bloomberg News report that the executive order will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies to review their use of the “social cost of carbon,” an Obama-era policy that seeks to quantify economic damage. potential of climate change. for the purposes of drafting the regulations.

White House spokeswoman Kelly Love declined to discuss the timing of an executive order on energy. “We have nothing to announce at this time,” he said.

Under the rules set by former President Barack Obama, the current cost of carbon in political decisions is $ 36 per ton, which will rise to $ 50 by 2030. Trump’s order would direct regulators to use a “discount rate.” That would drastically reduce or eliminate that cost.

Discount rates are used to obtain a net present value of something whose benefits and costs will be spread over time. In the case of carbon, the impact of emissions on the Earth’s climate can take several years to appear.

In some scenarios referenced in the executive order, carbon could have a zero or “negative” value, the source said. The source said the order may be an initial step in finally eliminating the carbon assessment entirely.

The executive order could be issued as early as this week, the source said, and may include other energy-specific measures, such as a requirement for the EPA to conduct a review of regulations that could harm energy production.

Reuters and others have previously reported that Trump planned to target Obama-era green regulations, including a federal ban on coal mining and an initiative that forces states to cut carbon emissions.

The Obama Interior Department had issued a moratorium on the leasing of coal on federal land in 2015 as it sought to review the program and assess whether the government appropriately priced the value of coal mined from public lands on behalf of taxpayers. .

The Clean Power Plan was Obama’s central initiative to combat climate change, requiring states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But it was never implemented due to legal challenges launched by various Republican states.

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, said last week that he is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change and said he wants Congress to assess whether CO2 is a harmful pollutant that should be regulated.

The Obama administration’s carbon cost estimates were first published in 2010 and have been used to analyze rules that directly target carbon dioxide emissions, such as car and truck emission standards. They have also been used to cover indirect emission standards, such as to control mercury and other air pollutants from power plants.

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