China affirms climate pledge after Trump rolls back rules

Trump's order on Tuesday, keeping a campaign promise to bolster the US coal industry, strikes at the heart of an global Paris Agreement in 2015 to curb world temperatures that hit record highs in 2016 for the third year in a row.

These regulations and actions from the last Administration were bad for American families and many of them overstepped the federal government's power to regulate. But Trump said the effort would spark "a new energy revolution" and lead to "unbelievable" American prosperity. According to the US Environmental Protection Bureau, China and the US were the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

It also would eliminate smaller Obama-era provisions created to fight climate change.

Despite threatening to pull the USA out of the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change while on the campaign trail Trump has yet to carry through on his threat and it's now anybody's guess whether he will or not.

Activists worry that Trump's order will undermine years of environmental progress: Even though the Clean Power Plan is tied up in court and not being enforced, about 85 percent of states are on track to meet its emissions-cutting goals anyway.

The US and China are together responsible for some 40 per cent of the world's emissions, so their participation in the agreement is crucial for its success.

"We're going to go in a different direction", a senior White House official said ahead of yesterday's order.

"We believe in those really magnificent words, made in the US". It was billed as a measure to boost domestic energy production by cutting regulations. The plan would have impacted 11 power plants in Utah, including five coal-fired power plants.

The opposition Democratic party and environmental groups, however, slammed Trump for his latest move.

The boom in natural gas - something President Trump has promised to accelerate - will only make coal less economical in the years to come.

His signature climate initiative was the2015 Clean Power Plan, an ambitious EPA regulation that sought to control how much carbon emissions power plants across the country were producing.

"I said, 'How about this?"

"And because we are all united by these common desires, I am optimistic that Paris will endure, with world leadership remaining resilient in its commitments to Paris".

Trump's move came one day after a Gallup poll showed that the share of the USA population concerned about climate change has reached a new high of 50 percent.

Still, for the President, the order appears to fulfill campaign promises to put coal miners back to work.

The Environmental Defence Fund, which has championed free-market solutions to challenges posed by climate change, said the Trump order points the nation "backward to an era of more pollution and more disease".

But Delaware Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both Democrats, said the order raised concerns.

Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry. Because the matter is now tied up in the courts, the administration will first have to seek permission from the court to make changes and under a 2007 Supreme Court decision would be required to issue regulations to replace the plan.

The move to lift the Clean Power Plan however will be more complicated than simply signing an order.

  • Leroy Wright