Dec 12, 2017

Trump and Macron an ocean apart on climate

On the eve of the One Planet Summit he is hosting in Paris today with the World Bank and United Nations, French President Emmanuel Macron told CBS News that Trump's move to abandon the Paris climate deal was a mistake, but one that has "counter-momentum" in favor of curbing emissions.

Trump's move was "a deep wakeup call for the private sectors and some of us to say, 'Wow, so we have to react.' If we decide not to move and not change our way to produce, to invest, to behave, we will be responsible for billions of victims." — French President Emmanuel Macron

The event, to which Trump was not invited, features a range of new commitments and pledges.

Yes, but: Back in Washington, E&E News reports on White House plans to promote U.S. coal exports and more efficient use of coal in other countries reliant on the fuel.

White House international energy aide George David Banks is leading the "Clean Coal Alliance," which also includes natural gas exports, E&E News says. Per E&E News:

  • Formal outreach to other countries hasn't begun, the Trump administration is expected to invite big coal exporters and importers like Australia, Indonesia, China, India, Ukraine, Poland, and Japan and others.
  • An administration official said, "The U.S. is considering pulling together a group of countries that support using cleaner, more efficient fossil fuels," and the story notes that Banks talked about the effort in a meeting last week with lawmakers and companies including Peabody Energy, FirstEnergy and Arch Coal.

Our thought bubble: The move highlights the contradictory nature of the White House posture on climate — what my colleague Amy Harder calls "Trump's conflicting climate agenda" in this column.

Officials at the highest levels of the Trump administration dispute the scientific consensus that human activities have been the primary driver of global warming for over a half century. But amid the skepticism, a global policy stance of sorts has emerged in international meetings including the recent UN talks in Bonn.

It's one that favors fossil fuels (with a nod to nuclear power too). It justifies the stance by arguing that surging global energy demand dictates that top priorities should be using coal more efficiently, promoting carbon capture development, and natural gas.

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