Q&A: Why the President’s Executive Order Will Not Help the Climate or Economy

Mar 31, 2017

By Annie Sneed

This week Pres. Donald Trump dealt a blow to global warming mitigation efforts with his executive order on energy. The president’s directive intends to “promote energy independence and economic growth,” according to the order—mainly by rolling back Obama-era climate policies. The order’s chief target is the Clean Power Plan, which requires the power sector to reduce its carbon emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by TK date. It also initiates a review of methane regulations for the oil and gas industry and lifts a freeze on federal land leases for coal mining, among other actions. The executive order does not withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord but the nation will likely not meet its greenhouse gas emission targets if Trump’s directive succeeds.

Scientific American spoke with Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the Millennium Development Goals, about how the White House’s executive order will affect the climate, national economy and international community.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

6 comments on “Q&A: Why the President’s Executive Order Will Not Help the Climate or Economy

  • @OP – Scientific American spoke with Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the Millennium Development Goals, about how the White House’s executive order will affect the climate, national economy and international community.

    @OP link – Pres. Trump released a major executive order this week on climate and energy.
    What do you think of it?

    It seems that expert evaluations are unsurprisingly in conflict with Trump’s claims!

    @OP link – The president’s executive order aims to promote energy independence.
    How much does the U.S. currently rely on foreign energy, and how would Trump’s directive change that?
    —————
    We can end our dependence on foreign energy, but not the way Trump conveys it.
    We have plenty of wind and solar power, and access to hydropower from Canada and solar power from Mexico.
    Energy dependence on the Middle East should disappear as we move away from a petroleum-dependent economy.
    The idea that one needs to end the Clean Power Plan or methane regulations or open federal lands to coal mining has nothing to do with our energy independence or security.
    So yes, we should end our oil import dependence,
    but not by replacing it with domestic fossil fuel production.
    Instead, we should replace it with zero-carbon energy.
    Everything the president has done is unwise, dangerous for the planet and bad for the economy.
    At the same time, I doubt [the executive order] will have much practical significance because it will be challenged in court.

    And I also don’t think a lot of resources will move toward coal, oil or gas.
    It will end up having a negligible effect—

    but if it were to have an effect, it would be absolutely detrimental.
    ————-
    The president’s executive order aims to promote energy independence.
    How much does the U.S. currently rely on foreign energy,
    and how would Trump’s directive change that?
    ——————
    We can end our dependence on foreign energy,
    but not the way Trump conveys it.
    We have plenty of wind and solar power,
    and access to hydropower from Canada and solar power from Mexico.
    Energy dependence on the Middle East should disappear as we move away from a petroleum-dependent economy.
    The idea that one needs to end the Clean Power Plan or methane regulations or open federal lands to coal mining
    has nothing to do with our energy independence or security.
    So yes, we should end our oil import dependence,
    but not by replacing it with domestic fossil fuel production.
    **Instead, we should replace it with zero-carbon energy.**

    So as usual Trump has it wrong not only from an environmental point of view, but from an economic point of view and has his claims to expertise and world leadership backwards – leading backwards into encouraging investment in obsolescence and economic failure!
    Hopefully investors will ignore his promotion of stranded assets, along with legal actions bogging down his reckless diktats!

    This selection of questions and expert answers is quite inspiring – not that Trump will take any notice of them or of anything else he does not like to hear!!

    The more he claims to personally solve all the global political problems by executive diktat, and then fails abysmally, the further his credibility will drop in the eyes of all but his sheeple followers!



    Report abuse

  • @#1 – It seems that expert evaluations are unsurprisingly in conflict with Trump’s claims!

    Which is perhaps unsurprising when we look at the “best team ever” which Trump recruited! 🙂

    If ideological and religious “faith-thinking from preconceptions”, or working for Dimbart, is taken as a qualification for office, foul-ups should be expected!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39508351

    President Donald Trump has removed his senior strategist Steve Bannon from the US National Security Council (NSC).

    The appointment in January raised fears that the gathering of US intelligence chiefs could become politicised.

    A White House aide told US media the reshuffle was not a demotion for Mr Bannon.

    The aide said – Mr Bannon was only given a seat on the NSC to keep an eye on National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired in February.

    As fake news goes – what other possible explanation could there be for removing two of “the best team ever”? 🙂

    The NSC is the main group advising the president on national security and foreign affairs.

    Critics have branded Mr Bannon – who once managed Breitbart News, a right-wing outlet accused of xenophobia – as a white nationalist.



    Report abuse

  • @OP – The president’s directive intends to “promote energy independence and economic growth,” according to the order—mainly by rolling back Obama-era climate policies.

    Of course as usual with unevidenced backward looking wish-thinking, it is likely to achieve nothing of the kind!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39513339

    UN report: Clean power is up, costs are down

    The world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, according to the UN.

    But the bill was almost a quarter lower than the previous year, thanks to the plunging cost of renewables.

    Investment in renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuels, says the report from UN Environment.

    It follows news that the cost of offshore wind power has fallen by around a third since 2012 – far faster than expected.

    But the report’s authors sound the alarm that just as costs are plunging, some major nations are scaling back their green energy investments.

    This, they say, reduces the likelihood of meeting the Paris climate agreement.

    The paper is published in conjunction with Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

    Ulf Moslener, a co-author, told BBC News: “Things are heading the right way, and the learning and technical costs of renewables have done a large part of their job. But investments are not yet there to meet the structural change agreed in Paris.”

    Europe leads

    The report finds that wind, solar and other renewables added 138.5 gigawatts to global power capacity in 2016 – up 8% from 2015.
    The added capacity roughly equals that of the world’s 16 largest existing power producing facilities combined, it says.

    Recent figures from the International Energy Agency cited the switch to renewables as one main reason for greenhouse gas emissions staying flat in 2016 even though the global economy grew by 3.1 per cent.

    Europe led the way on renewables investment with a 3% increase. The UK spent $24bn and Germany $13.2bn.
    India kick-started a huge investment in solar with what’s said to be the world’s biggest solar farm.

    But globally new investment in solar and wind fell from 2015.
    Much of the finance drop was due to reduced costs, but countries are also needing less electricity than projected as economies switch towards services, use more LEDs and governments impose standards making appliances like fridges and air-conditioners more efficient.

    Some nations are also taking the opportunity to scale back ambition on energy investment.

    But Michael Liebreich from BNEF said the key argument over costs had been won: “The question always used to be ‘will renewables ever be grid competitive?’.

    “Well, after the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years, unsubsidised wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world – sometimes by a factor of two.”

    And Ulf Moslener added a message directed at President Trump: “These technologies are there because they are competitive. We see wind – and in some cases solar – are the cheapest alternatives. Subsidies play less of a role.
    That’s where the markets are going, and it’s probably a bad idea to work against markets.”




    Report abuse

  • Ah ! – But Trump is drumming up new business with a foreign government which meets HIS ethical standards!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-39564855

    The Trump administration plans to sell military planes to Nigeria

    I wonder if he has sent them the White House bank account details so they can pay in an advance deposit? I’ve heard that Nigeria can offer deals which are just too good to be true! 🙂 🙂

    The Trump administration plans to sell military planes to Nigeria despite concerns over rights abuses and a botched air strike that killed scores of civilians in January, US media say.

    Strangely, unlike Syria, there does not seem to be any great concern about civilian deaths!

    Up to a dozen A-29 Super Tucano aircraft would be sold to Nigeria to help fight Islamist militant group Boko Haram, unnamed US officials said.

    The deal, which is not yet official, will require approval from Congress.

    The deal, said to be worth up to $600m (£490m), was agreed by the Obama administration, but was reportedly halted on the day it was due to be sent to Congress, after a catastrophic incident involving the Nigerian military.

    About 90 people, mainly women and children, were killed in January when the Nigerian Air Force mistakenly bombed a camp in the country’s north-east, which was hosting thousands of those who had fled Boko Haram.

    An aid distribution was taking place at the time of the attack, according to medical charity MSF.

    The Nigerian government indicated last month that the deal might be back on, following the first phone call between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump.

    “President Trump assured the Nigerian president of US readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism,” Mr Buhari’s office said in a statement.

    The US congressional source said human rights concerns remain, despite support for the sale from some lawmakers, Reuters news agency reports.

    Of course, like that other human rights abuser – Saudi Arabia, Nigeria has OIL!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39561822

    Shell has admitted for the first time it dealt with a convicted money-launderer when negotiating access to a vast oil field in Nigeria.

    It comes after emails were published showing Shell negotiated with Dan Etete, who was later convicted of money laundering in a separate case.

    Shell and an Italian oil company paid $1.3bn (£1bn) to the Nigerian government for access to the field.

    Investigators claim $1.1bn was passed to a firm controlled by Mr Etete.

    Shell and the Italian firm ENI agreed a deal with the Nigerian government for the rights to exploit OPL 245, a prime oil block off the coast of the Niger Delta.

    The government passed on $1.1bn of the money to a company called Malabu, which was controlled by Mr Etete, according to Italian prosecutors.
    Documents filed by the Italian prosecutors claim that $466m of that sum was then laundered through bureau de change and passed on to the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, and members of his government.




    Report abuse

  • Meanwhile in the Yukon, the climate is unimpressed with Trump’s pronouncements, and the retreat of glaciers shows features of the future of the Yukon, Alaska and elsewhere in the world!

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/17/receding-glacier-causes-immense-canadian-river-to-vanish-in-four-days-climate-change

    Receding glacier causes immense Canadian river to vanish in four days

    First ever observed case of ‘river piracy’ saw the Slims river disappear as intense glacier melt suddenly diverted its flow into another watercourse

    A statistical analysis, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggests that the dramatic changes can almost certainly be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. The calculations put chance of the piracy having occured due to natural variability at 0.5%. “So it’s 99.5% that it occurred due to warming over the industrial era,” said Best.

    The Yukon region is extremely sparsely inhabited, but future river piracy could have catastrophic effects on towns, villages and ecosystems that have sprung up around available water, according to an analysis accompanying the paper, by Rachel Headley, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. “If a river changes course so drastically that the drainage basin no longer reaches its original outlet, this change might eventually impact human and biological communities that have grown around the river’s original outlet,” she said.

    Thompson, who has documented glacial retreat on Mount Kilimanjaro, predicts that there will be an acceleration in the observations of river piracy events as glaciers retreat globally.

    “I think we could see similar divergence in streams in the Himalayas as well as throughout the Third Pole region, the Andes of Peru, other sites in northern Canada and Alaska,” he said. “Often these events occur in remote and poor parts of our planet and thus go largely unnoticed by the larger population but greatly impact the livelihood of many families downstream.”



    Report abuse

  • So while Trump is promoting particulate, mercury, sulphur, carcinogen, and CO2 air-pollution, from coal, diesel, and bombing foreign countries, science is looking at potential consequences!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39710321

    Extremely small particles of pollution have the potential to evade the lungs’ protective filter system and end up deep in the body, scientists suggest.

    Researchers speculate the particles could then build up in blood vessels and raise the risk of heart disease.

    They say their early study – based on extremely small particles of gold – brings them a step closer to cracking the “mystery” of how air pollution and heart disease and stroke are linked.

    The work appears in ACS Nano.

    Air pollution is estimated to help shorten of the lives of about 40,000 people a year in the UK.

    Several studies suggest it does this in the most part by worsening or triggering heart or lung problems.

    But despite many theories, exactly how air pollution affects the heart is not fully understood.

    Some scientists suspect that it may be partly down to extremely tiny pollution particles (known as nanoparticles) that could potentially be too small to be removed by the body’s filter system in the nose and lungs.

    To investigate researchers, from the University of Edinburgh and universities in the Netherlands studied extremely small particles of inert gold – at a similar size to those found in diesel exhaust fumes.

    Scientists asked 14 healthy volunteers to breathe in air containing pieces of gold, which scientists consider inert, while exercising for two hours.

    A day later, researchers found that gold nanoparticles had made their way into the bloodstream of most participants.

    And for some people, the particles remained in the body for months – they were detected in people’s urine three months later.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.