Environment

Pruitt Traveled Home Frequently at Taxpayer Expense

“Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, traveled to his home state, Oklahoma, 10 times over three months this year, largely at taxpayer expense,” the New York Times reports.

“The findings from the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group founded by former E.P.A. officials, are drawn from Mr. Pruitt’s calendar and the travel expenses he has submitted for reimbursement. Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the documents show Mr. Pruitt spent 43 out of 92 days from March through May in Oklahoma or traveling to or from the state.”

EPA Chief Pushes Effort to Question Climate Change

“The Trump administration is debating whether to launch a governmentwide effort to question the science of climate change, an effort that critics say is an attempt to undermine the long-established consensus human activity is fueling the Earth’s rising temperatures,” the Washington Post reports.

“The move, driven by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, has sparked a debate among top Trump administration officials over whether to pursue such a strategy.”

“Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who once described the science behind human-caused climate change as a ‘contrived phony mess,’ also is involved in the effort.”

New York Times: “Pruitt has moved to undo, delay or otherwise block more than 30 environmental rules, a regulatory rollback larger in scope than any other over so short a time in the agency’s 47-year history.”

Most Oppose Trump Scrapping Paris Accord

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds most Americans oppose President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, 59% to 28%.

“The reactions also break down sharply among partisan lines, though Republicans are not as united in support of the withdrawal as Democrats are in opposition of it. A 67% majority of Republicans support Trump’s action, but that drops to 22% among political independents and 8% of Democrats. Just over 6 in 10 independents and 8 in 10 Democrats oppose Trump’s action.”

Bloomberg Leads Effort to Bypass Feds on Climate Deal

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg “is organizing an effort by governors, mayors, business leaders and other private citizens to make sure that Americans play an active role in the Paris Agreement — with or without the federal government,” Yahoo News reports.

Said Bloomberg: “Americans are not walking away from the Paris Climate Agreement. Just the opposite — we are forging ahead. Mayors, governors, and business leaders from both political parties are signing onto a statement of support that we will submit to the UN — and together, we will reach the emission reduction goals the U.S. made in Paris in 2015.”

“If successful, this will be the first time U.S. citizens, local and state officials circumvented the federal government to negotiate an agreement with the United Nations.”

A Middle Finger to the World

Michael Grunwald: “Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement was not really about the climate. And despite his overheated rhetoric about the ‘tremendous’ and ‘draconian’ burdens the deal would impose on the U.S. economy, Trump’s decision wasn’t really about that, either. America’s commitments under the Paris deal, like those of the other 194 cooperating nations, were voluntary. So those burdens were imaginary.”

“No, Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from this carefully crafted multilateral compromise was a diplomatic and political slap: it was about extending a middle finger to the world, while reminding his base that he shares its resentments of fancy-pants elites and smarty-pants scientists and tree-hugging squishes who look down on real Americans who drill for oil and dig for coal. He was thrusting the United States into the role of global renegade, rejecting not only the scientific consensus about climate but the international consensus for action, joining only Syria and Nicaragua (which wanted an even greener deal) in refusing to help the community of nations address a planetary problem.”

“Congress doesn’t seem willing to pay for Trump’s border wall—and Mexico certainly isn’t—so rejecting the Paris deal was an easier way to express his Fortress America themes without having to pass legislation.”

Paris Deal Isn’t About Climate for Trump

Axios: “The most revealing moment of President Trump’s announcement that he is withdrawing from the Paris climate deal came in an off-hand response of a White House official after Trump’s speech. Asked whether Trump thinks climate change is real, the official said: ‘Can we stay on topic?'”

“To the Trump administration, the Paris climate deal has nothing to do with climate change. It’s an economic issue. To Trump, withdrawing from the accord represents a triumph of populist America over greedy globalism.”

“Unlike other policy goals (healthcare and tax reform) Trump isn’t even acknowledging climate change is a problem. That makes his overtures about being open to renegotiate and re-enter the Paris deal suspect.”

Jerry Brown Defies Trump on the World Stage

“For the past two years, California Gov. Jerry Brown has been aggressively recruiting other state and local governments to sign on to their own, sub-national climate pact,” Politico reports.

“But that campaign has taken new urgency under President Trump, who announced Thursday that he’ll withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. It’s a reflection of the roiling conflict between the president and the nation’s most populous state, but also the ambition of a governor who, after a lifetime in politics, is seizing an unexpected opening on an international stage.”

Washington Post: U.S. states and major companies break with Trump’s decision to exit climate deal.

Historians Will Be Baffled by Our Times

Ezra Klein: “The world is currently on track for catastrophic levels of global warming. Destroying one of our last best chances to set a different path might prove Trump’s most consequential, and disastrous, legacy.”

“If it does, historians living in the altered climate of 2050 will look back on the 2016 campaign in horror. As they read the coverage, they will find a polity that knew of the danger and importance of climate change, but preferred to talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails instead. Indeed, as Media Matters documents, there was less coverage of climate change in the 2016 election than in the 2014, 2012, or 2010 elections… Meanwhile, networks’ flagship news shows devoted more coverage to Clinton’s emails than to every policy issue combined.”

“We often look back on past generations and wonder about their cruelty, their blithe dismissal of actions that seems to us, now, to be obviously moral, obviously right. But imagine how future generations will look back on us. We knew all we needed to know about how climate change would likely affect our descendants, and we decided to let it happen anyway.”

Dueling Quotes of the Day

“I was elected by voters of Pittsburgh, not Paris. I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve U.S. interests.”

— President Trump, announcing the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris climate accord.

“As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy and future.”

— Pitssburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, on Twitter.

Obama Speaks Out Against Trump Climate Decision

Barack Obama put out the follow statement on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement:

A year and a half ago, the world came together in Paris around the first-ever global agreement to set the world on a low-carbon course and protect the world we leave to our children.

It was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made that achievement possible. It was bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher as well. And what made that leadership and ambition possible was America’s private innovation and public investment in growing industries like wind and solar – industries that created some of the fastest new streams of good-paying jobs in recent years, and contributed to the longest streak of job creation in our history.

Simply put, the private sector already chose a low-carbon future. And for the nations that committed themselves to that future, the Paris Agreement opened the floodgates for businesses, scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale.

The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.

Trump Pulls U.S. Out of Paris Climate Accord

President Trump announced “that he will withdraw the United States from participation in the Paris climate accord, weakening global efforts to combat climate change and siding with conservatives who argued that the landmark 2015 agreement was harming the economy,” the New York Times reports.

“But he will stick to the process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.”

Washington Post: “The U.S. exit from the climate pact could raise doubts about the commitment of the world’s largest economy to curbing global warming and make it more difficult to hold other nations to their environmental commitments.”