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Legacy of Scott Pruitt at the EPA

The Atlantic – “…There’s no doubt that Trump and Pruitt have already altered the EPA. More than 700 agency employees, including 200 scientists, resigned from the agency during 2017 alone, The New York Times. The agency is referring record-low numbers of environmental crime to the Department of Justice. And its science advisory board was also shuffled to include more industry-friendly researchers. Trump’s proposed rollbacks of climate policy have encouraged higher carbon emissions. The United States is not on track to meet its Obama-era commitments under the Paris Agreement, according to a report last week from the Rhodium Group, an energy research firm. Trump’s policies are “already deferring investments that might otherwise have led us to a better pathway,” an author of that report told me. Clearly there have been near-term consequences of Pruitt’s EPA. But outside experts told me that they were less sure that his legal work would result in long-term policy change. Sure, they said, Pruitt has generated lots of news stories by canceling Obama-era climate programs—but he has actually done this too quickly, with too little bureaucratic process, to secure their permanent scuttling…”

  • Referenced Report by Rhodium Group – Taking Stock 2018: “We find that US emissions under current policy are heading towards 12 to 20% below 2005 levels in 2025, a far cry from the US Paris commitment of a 26-28% reduction. This wide range represents uncertainty surrounding the fate of federal climate policies, how much pollution will be offset by sequestration from US forests, and the long-term viability of today’s low-carbon energy trends. Cheap natural gas and renewables continue to thrust coal out of the market, but after 2025 those same forces push a larger share of zero-emitting nuclear plants into retirement — leading to a rebound in power sector emissions. Transportation remains America’s largest source of emissions through most of our outlook, and while more affordable electric vehicles start to bend the curve, we find there is little downward pressure on economy-wide emissions post-2025…”

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