Climate Change
Energy
Minerals & Mining
Sustainable Transformation
Technology & Innovation
North America
Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home

News that the Trump administration will move to repeal and replace the clean power plan (CPP) – a major initiative to cut emissions from the US electricity sector – has been met with concern overseas.

On Wednesday, the Reuters news agency reported on a document leaked from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) outlining a plan to scrap the Obama-era measure. It also called for input on a replacement policy that would reduce carbon emissions in fossil fuel power plants. Industry is reportedly lobbying for a weaker rule.

The policy underpinned the US commitment to the Paris Agreement, which Donald Trump says he wants to leave. It would also have had a real impact on the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. By 2030, the clean power plan would have reduced power plant emissions in the world’s second biggest polluter by 32% below 2005 levels.

Maldives environment and energy minister Thoriq Ibrahim, who chairs an alliance of small island states (Aosis), pointed to storms that battered the Caribbean last month as a reason to toughen up, not scrap, carbon laws. “After an onslaught of deadly hurricanes, it should be obvious to all of us, especially those with the greatest historic responsibility to act, that we need to redouble efforts to cut emissions,” said Ibrahim. “In fact, Aosis ministers are meeting in Maldives next week to further develop our own renewable energy plans. If we can do it, everyone can.”

The CPP was the key US commitment that convinced the Chinese to enjoin a bipartisan agreement with the US on cutting emissions. That deal, between the world’s number one and two polluters, provided a platform on which the Paris climate deal was struck a year later. Rescinding the plan, said Li Shuo, climate policy advisor at Greenpeace East Asia, would be seen as a breach of the agreement in China. “This is indeed unfortunate.” He said China had a “special stake” in keeping the US on course to meet its commitments to the Paris climate agreement because the US target was signed off by presidents of both countries.

“What will China do in response to a US that’s diverting from its pledge?” Li said that so far, president Xi Jinping had remained mostly silent on Trump’s stepping away from their agreement on climate change. But he has hinted at his displeasure, notably giving a lavish welcome to California’s pro-climate governor Jerry Brown. “At the same time [US energy secretary] Rick Perry received a much lower level reception, [which] was unconventional and quite bold by Chinese diplomatic standards,” said Li.

The EPA move is a response to an executive order issued by Donald Trump in March that called on the agency to scrap the scheme. Richard Black, director of the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit in London, said the process in the US would likely be opposed in the courts by environment groups and some states. “It won’t be an easy ride,” he said. “Unless the administration finds a way to overturn the 2009 Endangerment Finding, which ruled that greenhouse gases must be regulated as emissions pose a threat to human health and wellbeing, those legal challenges are likely to win.”

News of the imminent demise of the CPP comes amid reports the Trump administration plans to offer subsidies to coal and nuclear generators. Meanwhile on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency announced that solar was, for the first time ever, the world’s fastest growing source of new power. Black said: “The transition of the US power sector from coal to gas and renewables continues, for purely economic reasons. By the time this goes through the courts, it’s likely to be game over for coal anyway.”

 

[This article originally appeared on climatechangenews.com]

Source:
Climate Home

Climate Change
Environment & Migration
Security
Europe
Global Issues
Stella Schaller and Lukas Rüttinger, adelphi

The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.

adelphi

In January 2020, the German Federal Foreign Office launched Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The aim of the initiative is to support a dialogue in the region on climate change and associated risks in order to foster regional integration between the six countries involved.

Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Conflict Transformation
Environment & Migration
Security
Global Issues
German Federal Foreign Office

Climate change will shift key coordinates of foreign policy in the coming years and decades. Even now, climate policy is more than just environment policy; it has long since arrived at the centre of foreign policy. The German Foreign Office recently released a report on climate diplomacy recognizing the biggest challenges to security posed by climate change and highlighting fields of action for strengthening international climate diplomacy.

German Federal Foreign Office

A high-level ministerial conference in Berlin is looking at the impact of climate change on regional security in Central Asia. The aim is to foster stronger regional cooperation, improve the exchange of information and form connections with academia and civil society.