Monday

16th Jul 2018

EU 'regrets' Trump U-turn on clean power

  • Trump said his decision will end a “war on coal” (Photo: Kris Duda)

The European Union's climate chief has expressed “regret” at US president Donald Trump's executive order on Tuesday (28 March) aimed at ending policy that sets limits to how much greenhouse gas emissions American power plants can emit.

“We regret the US is rolling back the main pillar of its climate policy, the clean power plan,” said EU commissioner for climate action, Miguel Arias Canete.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

  • EU embraces China on climate. Canete (l) is meeting Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative of China for Climate, on Wednesday (Photo: European Commission)

“Now, it remains to be seen by which other means the United States intends to meet its commitments under the Paris agreement.”

The US promised in France in 2015 that it would reduce its emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025, compared to 2005.

The clean power plan was a core part of achieving that goal. Without it, meeting the climate targets will be “virtually impossible” for the US to meet its target said Bob Ward, a policy and communications director at the London School of Economics' climate change institute, according to AFP.

According to Trump, his decision will lead to “a new era in American energy and production and job creation” and will end a “war on coal”. Coal is the most polluting of fossil fuels.

Trump signed the decree flanked by coal miners.

But miners have mostly been losing jobs due to automation and critics doubt that Trump's move will put them back in work.

It is yet unclear whether the US will completely pull out of the 2015 Paris agreement, which aims to curb emissions so that the Earth's temperature rise will halt at 2 degrees Celsius, or preferably at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Beyond 2 degrees Celsius, scientists believe that the planet's climate will be disrupted in such a way that some currently liveable parts of the world become uninhabitable.

China

Meanwhile, the EU has sought and found a new partner in the fight against climate change: China.

“Others may roll back, but the EU and China will forge ahead with the Paris agreement and the clean energy transition,” said climate commissioner Canete.

Canete is in Beijing on Wednesday to meet China's special representative for climate change and the administrator of China's National Energy Administration.

China is in the process of setting up its own emissions trading system, partly modelled on the EU's carbon permit exchange .

Trump 'will lose'

On Tuesday, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan told journalists in Brussels that even though Trump “may not accept climate change”, all the world's other countries “will go along, including China” with the Paris agreement.

“I think he is going to lose [on his climate U-turn],” Annan said about Trump, without elaborating how this would happen.

Last week, at an energy conference in Berlin, Trump's views on climate change were also a topic of debate.

Swiss solar power enthusiast Bertrand Piccard said that Trump's pro-coal attitude was outdated.

“I believe if you want to make a country great again, you have to see what creates money and what creates jobs,” said Piccard, who was one of the pilots to fly a fully solar-powered flight around the world for the first time.

“Twenty years ago, even 10 years ago, the answer would not have been the same. Today the answer is clearly that you create more jobs and you make more profit if you use renewable energy, and if you use clean technology to save energy,” said Piccard.

Climate First

Focussing on the business case of clean energy is also part of the European Union's strategy towards Trump.

“The clean energy transition does not run counter to economic interest, as often claimed,” said EU energy union commissioner Maros Sefcovic earlier this month.

Dutch environment minister Sharon Dijksma said, according to newspaper Nrc.next on Wednesday, that she wanted to show Trump that climate policy and economic growth could go hand in hand.

Dijksma is planning to hold a "Climate First" conference in the US and said she received support from the EU commission, Germany, France, Austria, and Luxembourg, at last month's environment ministerial meeting in Brussels.

Focus

Nordic energy boss wants to get rid of coal

Tackling climate change is a more important goal than phasing out nuclear power, says Pekka Lundmark, president and CEO of energy company Fortum.

US prevents G7 energy statement

The United States did not sign a joint statement at a G7 summit on energy because it did not want to include a reference to the Paris climate agreement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Latest News

  1. EU is 'foe', as Trump seeks to make friends with Putin
  2. Let's not be 'naive' with Chinese partner, says senior MEP
  3. Trump, trade, and Brexit in EU headlines This WEEK
  4. EU and China edge closer in Trump's 'America First' world
  5. How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism
  6. Stage set for Trump-Putin finale
  7. Trump scuppers trade deal with UK under May's Brexit
  8. Trump wades into Brexit after Nato fiasco

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us