24th Mar 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • 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.


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 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.


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.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections