Republicans plan multi-billion dollar climate budget raid 

Posted: November 13, 2016 by oldbrew in Big Green, climate, government, Politics, Uncertainty
Tags: ,

US President-elect Trump [image credit: politico.com]

US President-elect Trump [image credit: politico.com]


The winds of change following the US election are about to blow through the well-funded – up to now at least – world of climate-related bureaucracy, as CCN mournfully reports.

US Republicans are expected to axe billions of dollars in climate finance when they take the White House and Congress in January.

Funds to help poor countries adapt to the impacts of global warming and develop sustainably will be redirected to domestic priorities.

“We are going to cancel billions in payments to the UN climate change programmes and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure,” said President-elect Donald Trump in his 22 October Gettysburg address. With a Republican majority in the Senate and House of Representatives, there appears to be little standing in his way.

Rachel Kyte, head of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All programme, said Trump did not have a mandate to reverse US climate finance commitments. “All developed countries made promises,” she said. “A promise made has to be a promise kept.”

Notably, the US promised $3 billion towards the UN-backed Green Climate Fund, of which just $500m has been delivered. The outstanding sum is a major chunk of the $10bn seed money donated to the flagship scheme.

UN institutions are also vulnerable. The Republicans have been gunning for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since it accepted Palestine as a full party earlier this year.

They say continuing to fund it clashes with domestic law supportive to Israel – an argument Barack Obama rejected.

“It would be illegal for the President to follow through on his intention to provide millions in funding for the UNFCCC and hundreds of millions for its Green Climate Fund,” says the Republican platform.

A US exit would leave a $4m hole in the UNFCCC’s annual budget, more than a fifth of the total.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which periodically compiles a mass of scientific evidence on the dangerous impacts of global warming and its human causes, also comes under attack.

It is “a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution”, says the Republican manifesto. “Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy. We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly.”

Contributing $5m over the past five years, the US is the biggest backer of the IPCC. While the Republicans don’t explicitly threaten to end that, their hostility does not bode well.

Full report: Republicans plan multi-billion dollar climate budget raid | Climate Home – climate change news

Comments
  1. rishrac says:

    The first hurdle was getting someone willing to gut the IPCC . Now the second hurdle is to follow though. The irony is that the US has billions to squander on other countries and useless projects. Not only that, particularly inept at building and completing projects. Meanwhile, some people’s medical insurance is more than a house payment.

  2. Paul Vaughan says:

    I remain more than thoroughly dissatisfied with the American climate discussion. The end goal isn’t to elect someone or to cut ipcc money. The goal is to cut down the noise of belief police paid to say the sun doesn’t govern terrestrial climate. Sack about 6 people and we can say game over. Parallel house-cleaning: Retract ERSSTv4 and reinstate v3b2. All this other stuff about elections and ipcc is peripheral. Stay focused on the real targets. It’s starting to look like most American climate commentators are hoping to use the opportunity to do a bunch of things other than what really needs to be done. I’m becoming suspicious that Trump’s term will end and although a bunch of peripheral things will have been pursued, the things of real consequence and importance will have been thoroughly neglected. The level of corruption in American politics is a big problem. With or without Trump I’m confident that we can trust the Americans to avoid being honest about the most important things in the climate discussion.

  3. […] Source: Republicans plan multi-billion dollar climate budget raid  | Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  4. oldbrew says:

    AS MANY AS HALF OF GLOBAL WARMING RESEARCH PAPERS MIGHT BE WRONG

    But the alarmist community isn’t interested in evidence. It is consumed with fueling panic and creating a climate of fear, and goes out of its way to bully those who don’t agree with its narrative. Rather than provide real evidence — it simply can’t — it traffics in condemnations, character assassination, reprisals and marginalization. Its members act more like a high-school clique than responsible and open-minded adults. Those holding a different opinion are treated as “others.”

    http://www.thegwpf.com/as-many-as-half-of-global-warming-research-papers-might-be-wrong/

    Much of the ‘evidence’ was supposed to come from climate models but everyone knows those don’t work in terms of matching what happens in the real world.

  5. The one thing Trump needs to make clear is that he’s going to instruct proceedings against those who blocked a lawful subpoena for emails relating to the reason NOAA changed their method of compiling global temperature to cause it to warm.

    He also needs to encourage a similar investigation into NASA, followed by the complete revamping of the way global temperature is compiled so as to de-politicise it (i.e. give it to engineers to do) and ensure that never again can a small bunch of eco-activists in a few key organisations have the world literally dancing to their eco-political tune.

  6. rishrac: IPCC – whilst you’ve got eco-activists running the IPCC, the majority of reasonable people involved are just dancing to the tune of those like Mann. The key is to root out the criminals who’ve been fabricating the science and then de-politicise it, which must mean taking it out of the control of academia which itself is now so politicised that it cannot be trusted on this issue.

    The problem, is that any apolitical organisation Trump sets up in his presidency, can be re-politicised if ever the Democrats (or some insane Republican) gets in.

    Therefore the only formulation I can conceive that will be stable in the long term, is to divide the work: one group of institutions would be entirely focussed on producing data – and they would be judged on the quality of that data – and if anyone in that organisation ever said what that data meant, let alone gave a political judgement on what “ought to be done”, then they would be summarily sacked. Then you allow the academics to pontificate about “what it means” – which will still be tending toward eco-fascism – but we’ve broken the vicious cycle of convinced academics then adjusting the data to further convince themselves that they should adjust the data to convince everyone else.

    Paul Vaughan: Retract ERSSTv4 and reinstate v3b2
    It’s not just about single metrics, it’s about the system that allowed the metrics to become corrupted, that failed to address the severe quality issues with stations which makes analysis what we’ve got pretty meaningless. In short, garbage in = garbage out and it’s the garbage and poor quality/politically active people going into the system that have to be tackled, not one metric coming out.

    Oldbrew: “AS MANY AS HALF OF GLOBAL WARMING RESEARCH PAPERS MIGHT BE WRONG”
    Ever the optimist!
    Ideas spread like contagion. So, whilst that figure may have once been correct, each successive generation of papers, develops the ideas of previous papers (and their standards). So, once the rot starts, it infects all the work so that sooner or later every paper being produced is relying in some way or other on a paper that is wrong.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Greenpeace presents what it sees as a ‘rogues gallery’ of potential Trump appointees who are of course labelled as ‘climate deniers’ and suchlike silly slogans.

    Meet the fossil fuel superfans tipped to run energy and climate under Trump
    http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/11/10/energy-environment-policy-cabinet-trump/

  8. […] Source: Republicans plan multi-billion dollar climate budget raid  […]

  9. oldbrew says:

    How the SNP in Scotland rubbed Trump up the wrong way and is still doing so.

    Euan Mearns: Playing the Trump Card: a Tale of Golf, Wind Turbines and Political Expediency
    http://euanmearns.com/playing-the-trump-card-a-tale-of-golf-wind-turbines-and-political-expediency/

  10. tallbloke says:

    Only five MPs voted against the Climate Change Bill in September 2008. In an orgy of self-righteousness, parliament voted near-unanimously to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, a date which is past the deadline of at least half of the honourable members who supported it.
    Thus was laid the foundation of Britain’s barmy energy policy. This has given us expensive domestic fuel prices in a time of plenty, prevented the building of gas-fired power stations and culminated in the biggest postdated cheque ever written on the UK taxpayer, in the form of the finance for the Hinkley Point power station.

    With luck, the UK should avoid power cuts this winter, but it will be close, and dirty, as National Grid admits.

    Now the Court of Appeal has lit a tiny candle in the energy gloom, upholding the state’s right to cancel the exemption from the Climate Change Levy for renewables.

    This was merely another little bung to the windmill subsidy farmers but Infinis Energy argued that under the Climate Change Act, it could not be removed. The court disagreed.

    The sceptics at the Global Warming Policy Foundation describe the Act as “a one-shot rocket, quite without steering and with precious little provision for deceleration … if a change of pace is not possible, abrupt termination becomes inevitable”.

    Repeal of this ill-starred legislation is a long way away but the court has taken a baby-step.

    https://www.ft.com/content/0ed3d118-a763-11e6-8898-79a99e2a4de6

  11. rishrac says:

    You have to start somewhere. … cutting public money and their platform for duping people is a good place to start. It’s better than the headlong rush into suicide.
    I am responding to Talbloke about England. The warming group 10 years ago had convinced England that winters would be a thing of the past. That’s how some of this legislation got through. They also cut budgets for snow removal and salt. The budgets for heating during the winters were probaly as well. Then the unthinkable happened. I remember the satellite picture of the entire British Isles covered in snow. It was a mess. The global warming people have the attention span of a gnat.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Trump looking at fast ways to quit global climate deal: source

    WASHINGTON/MARRAKESH, Morocco (Reuters)
    President-elect Donald Trump is seeking quick ways to withdraw the United States from a global accord to combat climate change, a source on his transition team said, defying broad global backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    “It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election” on Tuesday, the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The source said the future Trump administration is weighing alternatives to accelerate the pull-out: sending a letter withdrawing from the 1992 international framework accord that is the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement; voiding U.S. involvement in both in a year’s time; or issuing a presidential order simply deleting the U.S. signature from the Paris accord.

    The Trump source said the president-elect’s transition team is aware of the likely international backlash but said Republicans in the U.S. Congress have given ample warning that a Republican administration would take action to reverse course.

    “The Republican Party on multiple occasions has sent signals to the international community signaling that it doesn’t agree with the pact. We’ve gone out of our way to give notice,” the source said.

    The source blamed Obama for joining up by an executive order, without getting approval from the U.S. Senate.

    “There wouldn’t be this diplomatic fallout on the broader international agenda if Obama hadn’t rushed the adoption,” the source said.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-looking-fast-ways-quit-global-climate-deal-094918065–sector.html

  13. oldbrew says:

    Jo Nova — The Big Bluff that Paris deal is solid: truth is Trump can axe it easily

    The US Congress, and Donald Trump, have made their position clear all along.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2016/11/the-big-bluff-that-paris-deal-is-solid-truth-is-trump-can-axe-it-easily/
    —–
    Mike Hulme: “Solving climate change” is likely to become a motivating narrative of ever diminishing political and public value in these new populist times.
    http://theconversation.com/anglophone-political-populism-and-the-cultural-rejection-of-climate-change-68694

    Mike Hulme is Professor of Climate and Culture, King’s College London

  14. Paul Vaughan says:

    Reality Check:
    Has anyone taken note of who is advising Trump on the American climate blogs?

    It’s the same darkly coercive agents with the same deliberately corrupt interpretations of climate as before. Nothing has changed.

    Boiling it down to the base:

    Are we going to live in a world where we can state the truth — the sun governs terrestrial climate — without being harassed?

    That’s what really matters.

    Before and after Trump the harassment of anyone stating sun-climate truth comes from America and this is telling. Please sober up international friends. With or without Trump the Americans are NOT interested in truth.

    If the paid squad of sun-climate belief police isn’t decisively dismissed without delay, we’ll know with certainty that Trump does not intend to correct American climate corruption.

    I see no reason to be so ridiculously naive as to think that all those devilishly corrupt, incompetent American climate commentators and advisers are suddenly going to become honest, competent angels with due respect for the truth just because Trump got elected. I advise less naive intoxication and more focus on fundamentals.

    Scottish Skeptic, SS = sea surface. This has nothing to do with stations.

    The changes from ERSSTv3b2 to v4 are the most devilishly calculated adjustments documented. We’re going to find out if Trump tolerates such devilishly calculated audacity.

    I’m flagging this up as a key indicator of competence and integrity. It’s 1 of 2 criteria by which I’ll judge. I’ve noted the other above.

    I’m keeping it simple and focused, judging only by 2 clearly specified criteria that together are minimally sufficient to indicate whether Trump’s a puppet or master of infiltraitors.

    Observing nature …including human nature:

    Americans of all political stripes appear focused on blown short-term bubbles rather than longer-term fundamentals.

    One can already see the backlash building to reverse this cycle’s changes during the next cycle.

    Given the almost incomprehensibly-corrupted American political context, I advise the international community to soberly and pragmatically take independent LEAD responsibility for ensuring stability.

  15. What’s not to like?

  16. oldbrew says:

    This is priceless…Dellers on the new US climate policies.

    Trump’s War on the Green Blob Will Make (Almost) All of Us Richer, Happier, and Freer

    ‘World of pain for greenies’
    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/11/14/trumps-war-green-blob-richer-happier-freer/

    Quote: ‘Just listen, for example, to the tragic wailing coming from the EPA:

    U.S. EPA employees were in tears. Worried Energy Department staffers were offered counseling. Some federal employees were so depressed, they took time off. Others might retire early.

    And some employees are in downright panic mode in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory.

    “People are upset. Some people took the day off because they were depressed,” said John O’Grady, president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, a union that represents thousands of EPA employees. After Election Day, “people were crying,” added O’Grady, who works in EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago. “They were recommending that people take sick leave and go home.”

    If I were them, I wouldn’t bother coming back.

    I really don’t think it’s possible to exaggerate just what a world of pain is coming to the greenies thanks to Donald J Trump.’

    Delingpole: ‘Again, it’s happening, it’s really happening! The Green Citadel is falling. And I don’t know about you but I’m not feeling in any particular rush to take prisoners…’

  17. JohnM says:

    Let’s hope that Trump also slashes the research funding budget for climate. It’s time to turn off the tap that feeds the nonsense.

  18. Curious George says:

    EPA is an agency which poisoned Animas river, with no negative consequences for EPA staff. True, the river ecosystem got hit hard, but who cares?

  19. Paul Vaughan says:

    Without these 2 enduring results it’s not a victory:

    1. Sun-climate belief police permanently banished.
    2. ERSSTv4 retracted and v3b2 reinstated.

    Non-negotiable.

  20. Paul Vaughan says:

    Part of #1:

    Ensure transparent publication of name(s) of donor(s) funding sun-climate belief harassment services.

    We need to follow through.

  21. Paul Vaughan says:

    Some are recommending slashing climate research funding. I advise retaining rare talent capable of exploring natural climate variations. Concern: I cannot imagine the right people would be pragmatically chosen. I suspect the people calling the shots will be so politically vindictive that they would appoint the wrong people for the wrong reasons. The money is almost certain to find it’s way to someone politically loyal who will make no true progress while someone capable (and excluded for political reasons) starves. I’m advising that we need to devote to being tactical and practical, keeping the people actually capable regardless of their political orientation and ideology. There’s an extreme shortage of people actually capable of making true progress while simultaneously resisting the relentless tides of political harassment and brainwashing. I don’t know if there exists anyone capable of competently managing this file. I very strongly suspect not. From what I’ve seen, conventional managerial measures of progress are absolutely certain to be the wrong guiding measures and conventional ideas about what reporting should look like are neither practical nor suitable for this type of raw exploration. It’s going to take some kind of magic and maybe also some rare good luck to unconventionally bring together the right combination of workers and managers. Affording them the long-term autonomy, security, and freedom needed to do thorough exploration is something almost no conventional business mind would ever contemplate, so a venture like this is only going to be born of a ruthlessly unconventional mind that isn’t counter-productively slavishly beholden to artificially limiting social norms.

  22. tallbloke says:

    https://niskanencenter.org/blog/trump-spell-climate-doom/

    It was a rough election night for those in favor of aggressive action on climate change. The President-elect is committed to withdrawing from the Paris agreement , cancelling the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), and making coal great again. To rub salt in the wounds, a carbon tax proposition was also defeated by a large margin in Washington State. Even so, doom and gloom from the climate-concerned is overblown. There are significant legal and political obstacles that will prevent the new administration from securing all that may be on its anti-climate wish-list. Moreover, the inertia in the energy system, which has heretofore been an enemy of climate progress, will likely turn out to be an important near-term friend.

    First, the bad news: the Paris commitment is dead. President-elect Trump has a number of ways of killing it, the most effective of which is simply to submit it to the Senate for ratification, which will vote it down. That lets President Trump shift the blame while also setting the (non-binding) precedent that any future such deals also need Senate approval. The United States repudiation of its Paris commitment will damage the international climate process and prove to be the most destructive climate action that he can take.

    Second, the good news, beginning with the political fundamentals. Donald Trump lost the popular vote narrowly, and won several key states by very thin margins. There is another Presidential election in 2020. The Republican hold on the Senate is precarious (52-48) and a discontented electorate in 2018 may end it. Even if the Republican House-Senate-Presidency lasts throughout the next four years, this is the exact same situation as under George W. Bush in 2003-2006, when Senate Democrats were able to block various legislative attempts to roll back federal environmental laws. Democrats who decried the gridlock checks and balances caused in the Obama years will come to recognize the reasons the Founders created them.

    There is the very real danger, however, that Congress will seek to repeal or sharply curtail EPA’s greenhouse gas regulatory authority in order to 1) avoid any court order to regulate, and 2) tie the hands of future Administrations. Such authority was not an issue back in 2003-06 because the Bush EPA took the position that the Clean Air Act did not cover greenhouse gases, and it was not until 2007 that the Supreme Court said otherwise in Massachusetts v. EPA (at which point the Democrats controlled both Houses).

    Normally, any such ambitious attempt to roll-back regulatory authority would be filibustered, but there are parliamentary mechanisms (such as the dreaded “budget reconciliation” process) that avoid normal procedure and prohibit filibusters. In that case, the Democrats are going to have to ensure that Joe Manchin votes with them (unlikely) and find three Republicans who will join them, each of whom will be under enormous pressure from both sides. Alternatively, the Republicans might simply take a page from the Democrats, who eliminated the filibuster for almost all Presidential nominees, and eliminate it for legislation as well. If the Republicans go that route, we would be faced with far greater threats than elimination of Clean Air Act authority.

    Assuming EPA authority stays intact, we imagine that the Trump Administration will focus on regulatory rollbacks that can be accomplished by agency rulemaking. And while the Clean Power Plan is a dead letter for reasons explained below, every other such executive action will be litigated and delayed. The environmental NGOs’ law departments are getting back into their 2003-2006 mode even as we write this. Not only were the great majority of similar Bush agency actions overturned by the courts, but the current makeup of both the D.C. Circuit and the other federal appellate courts are significantly more favorable to environmental litigants than they were a decade ago.

    Moreover, even getting such regulatory actions completed will face two significant hurdles. Voting in D.C. and in the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia produced huge (up to 80% or more) Hillary majorities. That tells you that the goodwill in the ranks of federal government employees towards the new administration will be very low. As we saw in the Bush era, that is a recipe for strategic leaks, slow-walking initiatives, and strong internal opposition / debates.

    These kinds of regulatory rollbacks can perhaps be done over the protests of permanent employees if there is strong interagency leadership from capable political appointees, which will take time to get into place. The multiple fiascos over spending stimulus money effectively under President Obama showed clearly how—even with willing employees—the lack of capable and experienced leadership prevents policy from being implemented.

    Finding competent political appointees, however, will likely be an issue. While there will be some closing of ranks among Republicans, and there is certainly a pool of capable people—albeit in much smaller jobs—in the states, given the history of the Trump campaign, many of the experienced Republican-leaning environmental or energy experts who have been working on K Street since 2008 may be reluctant to serve in a Trump Administration.

    All that being said, the Clean Power Plan is dead. Regardless of whether the Trump EPA waits for the D.C. Circuit decision, the easiest thing for it to do is first amend the rule to provide that, once the judicial stay of the CPP is lifted, the states will have an extended period (say, 5-7 years) to submit their implementation plans, which effectively kills the CPP. The timing of the steps in a regulatory process is as close to an unreviewable agency action as there is, and no court would overturn it. Even assuming that the D.C. Circuit then upholds the Rule, EPA could then withdraw the CPP for reconsideration, and thereafter issue a new rule based only on modest inside-the-fence actions. Environmental NGOs and the states supporting the CPP would challenge this, but since there is a legitimate legal argument that EPA’s authority ends at the fence-line (and with 27 states supporting this new interpretation) the D.C. Circuit would, in our view, likely defer to EPA’s new reading. EPA could also decide that it was barred from regulating CO2 emissions from power plants because of the “Section 112 argument”, but that would lead to the revival of the tort cases seeking to hold the power companies liable for climate change damages.

    It is worth noting that the fact that there is a legitimate argument for why EPA can’t regulate beyond the fence-line is what distinguishes this CPP scenario from, say, any attempt to reverse the endangerment finding, which would be doomed to failure given that such a reversal must explain how its new analysis is correct. In fact, environmental NGOs might secretly welcome such an attempt. Not only would EPA resources that might otherwise be devoted to wrecking more vulnerable programs be engaged in a pointless exercise, but this would be a tremendous organizing, fundraising, and media opportunity for the green lobby.

    Regardless, getting rid of the CPP is not going to have much of an effect on steadily-declining power sector emissions. As EPA has indicated, the CPP would have little real impact on emission paths in the early years, as low gas prices and state renewable mandates have done most of the work already. There is no sign either will change soon and technology (e.g. LED streetlights) is driving electricity demand reductions in ways that will probably continue.

    In addition, the most important renewable tax breaks have been extended through 2020 and 2021, i.e. beyond the first Trump term. We do not think it is likely that Congress would have any appetite for repealing those, as they were the result of a bipartisan deal and there are actually strong renewables supporters (think Chuck Grassley) on the Republican side of the aisle. Even so, environmentalists should not mourn the loss of these or other “green” subsidies, if indeed Congress gets round to doing it, since they are for the most part ineffective and wasteful.

    Ironically, Trump’s reputed interest in freeing-up permitting of energy infrastructure (e.g., gas pipelines and drilling on public lands, if indeed it can be achieved) may have the paradoxical effect of further reducing emissions. It could make it easier to get currently very cheap Marcellus / Utica gas into the center of the country and perhaps even increase overall natural gas output. This can have only one outcome; reduced national gas prices overall and less coal consumption.

    It also seems unlikely that any rational utility or PUC, knowing the certainty of NGO / grassroots opposition and, more importantly, the likely temperament of the next administration, will risk billions of dollars to build new coal plants. Older coal plants will continue to be hamstrung by the cost of complying with non-climate pollution rules (such as the ozone air quality standards), plus the perhaps even lower price of natural gas. In other words, the actual reasons for coal’s decline are not going away, even if the “war” is over.

    Which brings us, finally, to the opportunity side of the equation. Donald Trump’s more positive reputation is as a man who likes to make a deal. He’ll be looking for a way to get his infrastructure ideas and tax reform plans implemented. That requires a lot of money. There aren’t going to be many popular ways to do that. Is it too much to hope that a smart Democratic negotiator might see an opportunity to get a return for things that are already lost, like trading EPA greenhouse gas regulatory authority for a carbon tax to help fund the infrastructure build-out or tax reform?

    The latter point is posited on rational acting by political figures on both sides of the aisle whose track record gives us little confidence. But assuming that Congress does not eliminate (save as part of a carbon-tax deal) EPA’s greenhouse gas authority under the Clean Air Act -which would severely hinder future Democratic Administrations, as they would need to control both houses to restore it- the ability of a Trump Administration to set back U.S. climate progress is going to be limited.

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