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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT – The Center for American Progress

Battling Climate Change in the Time of Trump

By John Podesta Posted on March 21, 2017, 12:22 pm

There is no way to sugarcoat the outcome of the 2016 election for anyone who cares about the health of our planet. President Donald Trump has made clear that he intends to pursue a special interest-driven agenda that would make climate change worse. Since the start of his administration, he has taken steps to increase America’s dependence on oil, including foreign oil; eliminate limits on carbon pollution; and weaken vehicle efficiency standards at the expense of American families. His budget decimates scientific research and he selected an administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, who denies that carbon pollution is a main cause of climate change.

The Trump administration’s anti-environmental agenda is, without question, a grave danger to the health of our children and grandchildren—and the health of our planet. But this threat alone is no reason to give up hope that we can still avert the most severe impacts of climate change. The energy and effectiveness of citizen activism suggests that the most damaging policies of the Trump administration can be stopped. And, as importantly, a review of the votes cast in the November election and the steps being taken by state and local leaders indicate an alternate path for climate action in the next four years.


The economy is voting for climate action.

Winning the popular vote by more than 3 million ballots was not enough for Democrats to win the White House, but those votes nonetheless represent the voices of a majority of Americans. Public opinion research now consistently finds that most Americans believe climate change is a major problem and support steps to cut carbon pollution.1 What’s more, a recent Brookings Institution analysis found that the counties that Hillary Clinton won account for 64 percent of the United States’ economic output.2

For those of us counting greenhouse gas emissions, the fact that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. economy voted for progressive leadership in November is more than significant. Governors of states that voted for Clinton, for example, are already stepping up to the challenge of battling climate change. In January of this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York called on the states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, to lower their collective carbon pollution reduction target an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has established the state as a global leader on climate action, adopting a cap and trade program, taking big steps to build a clean energy economy, and setting the aggressive reduction goal of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.3 Gov. Brown also recently denounced the Trump administration’s attacks on climate science and research and staked out California’s leading role going forward in that aspect of progress.4
Even in states that President Trump won, elected officials are continuing to move aggressively to deliver climate change policies. Since the election, 71 mayors from across the country penned an open letter to President Trump, stating that they will continue to take “bold” climate action. Of that collection of mayors, 29 of them come from states that voted for President Trump.5 Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D), for example, called on fellow U.S. mayors to stand together to deliver on global climate goals and reaffirm commitments to local action.6 In addition to taking on a leadership role in the global coalition of more than 7,100 cities committed to the fight against climate change, Mayor Reed is working at the local level in Atlanta, including by launching the city’s first solar initiative to reduce municipal energy consumption by up to 40 percent.7


Rampage against environmental laws.

Make no mistake, though, the Trump administration presents an existential threat to the entire planet. Leadership on the state and local level may be able to bridge the gap at the federal level, but only for a period of time. The administration appears to be on a rampage against environmental laws that protect clean air, water, and our way of life. Since taking office, President Trump has signed more than seven executive orders, presidential memorandums, and bills that roll back environmental protections and prioritize giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. That number is expected to jump even higher in the coming days with an anticipated executive action aimed at undoing the Clean Power Plan, lifting a coal moratorium on public lands, throwing out consideration of climate change in federal decision-making, and making it easier to release the potent global warming pollutant, methane. The list of polluting actions, however, also includes eliminating a prohibition on bribery by oil companies, cutting limits on dumping of toxic mine waste in streams, and trying to make the United States more dependent on Canadian tar sands.

To say that the Trump administration is beholden to the corporate interests that benefit from eliminating environmental protections understates reality. This team stepped out of the boardroom into Washington, D.C. Recently, the White House released a statement8 that promoted Exxon and had significant portions that were identical to the statement Exxon itself released.9 Administrator Scott Pruitt’s own emails show a close relationship with top polluters, such as Devon Energy and Koch Industries, and illustrate deep coordination as the energy companies pushed through his office the policy outcomes they wanted.10 Pruitt brings these relationships with him to the EPA, the agency he sued 14 times as attorney general of Oklahoma. Joining him at the agency are staffers who have worked to propagate climate denial under infamous climate denier Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and the Koch-backed Freedom Partners.11


The irreversible global shift to clean energy
.

Although the Trump administration’s early actions serve as handouts to the fossil fuel industries, America’s clean energy economy is now strong enough to withstand a short-term change in policy. President Barack Obama’s dogged focus on emissions reductions will not be easily reversed either. Between 2008 and 2015, the United States’ emissions dropped 9 percent even as the economy grew more than 10 percent.12 Solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy industries have grown substantially in terms of generation and jobs, becoming a fundamental part of the U.S. economy overall. Between 2008 and 2015, U.S. wind generating capacity nearly tripled and solar capacity—both concentrating and photovoltaic systems—grew by 23 times.13 For individuals, the cost of residential solar photovoltaic system has fallen to approximately one-third its cost in 1998, or from $12.34 per watt to $4.05 per watt.14 Wind power recently surpassed conventional hydropower as the nation’s most significant renewable generation source.15 According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual energy jobs report, renewable electricity generation employs nearly 547,000 people, with the solar industry employing nearly 374,000 of that total.16 The energy efficiency economy, which includes building professionals, efficient appliance manufacturers, energy service providers, and others, has reached more than 2.2 million workers across the country.17 None of the CEO’s or leaders of these growing industries are represented in the fossil fuel-focused White House.
This shift toward clean energy is a global one. Countries around the world—including both developed and emerging economies—see that their future prosperity hinges on nonpolluting energy. Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, more than 130 countries have now officially joined the Paris Agreement—a historic pact to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and build resilience to the destructive effects of climate change.18 These countries are not liable to reverse course in the wake of the U.S. election. In fact, all countries have reaffirmed their dedication to implement the Paris Agreement and more than 30 countries have officially joined the pact after the election of President Trump.19
It would be economic folly for the United States to turn its back on this global shift toward nonpolluting energy. Recognizing this, approximately 900 U.S. businesses and investors have now encouraged U.S. and global leaders to support the Paris Agreement and climate action.20 If the United States cedes its leadership in the global movement to curb greenhouse gas pollution, other major powers, most notably China, are primed to dominate the coming clean energy economy.

In the meantime, global leaders who are serious about stopping climate change are more likely to visit governors’ mansions in Sacramento, CA, or Albany, NY, than the White House. Elected officials there and in other states and localities understand that American leadership on clean energy means that U.S. workers will be creating, making, and selling technologies and products in developing and emerging markets.21 These sub-national level elected officials can themselves become leaders and have political clout in the international movement to combat climate change. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials can pick up the climate change mantel abandoned by the Trump administration and help the United States lead by example around the world. The challenge will be to organize the leadership that represents those jurisdictions that voted for strong action on climate change into a force that can counterbalance the lack of ambition from the United States at the federal level.


The growing resistance.

As governors, mayors, clean energy leaders, and citizens continue to advance climate action domestically and internationally, it is equally important that, as Americans, we do all we can to stop the Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress from implementing the most anti-environmental agenda in decades. The engagement and direct action being taken by individuals in every community in every state is nothing short of inspiring. Resistance works. From the Women’s March in January to February’s Day Without Immigrants, millions of Americans—especially young Americans—are making their voices heard.

Notably, a significant percentage of the Millennial generation failed to show up to vote last November, yet their understanding of the dangers of climate change presents some cause for hope: They believe that the climate is changing. An October, 2016 poll from the University of Texas at Austin found that “[m]ore than 9 out of 10 survey respondents (91 percent) under age 35 say climate change is occurring compared to 74 percent of those age 65 older.”22 The Harvard Institute of Politics released a poll in April of 2015 that had similar results, showing that, “3 in 4 millennials believe global warming is a fact.”23 If this generation now understands that their votes or their decisions not to vote have consequences and turns out in the coming years to express their determination to combat climate change, the Trump administration and its climate denying allies will soon be a brief chapter in the history books.

Two upcoming governor’s races will provide a glimpse into how the resistance we are witnessing translates to results at the ballot box. Both New Jersey and Virginia have off-year gubernatorial elections in 2017. Virginia can be a bellwether for greater sentiment across the country. The year after President Obama’s historic election when Democrats swept into power across all chambers of government, Virginians elected Republican Bob McDonnell to be governor by a 17-point margin.24 Hillary Clinton won the state 49.8 percent to Trump’s 44.4 percent, showing there is a strong Democratic base. However, the state retains deep ties to fossil fuels, with coal mines making up close to 2 percent of U.S. production, its ports shipping over one-third of all U.S. coal exports, and some oil and gas production in its southwestern counties.25

Hillary Clinton also won New Jersey but by a greater margin, 55 percent to 41 percent. New Jersey’s economy is not strongly tied to fossil fuels, but it has suffered the slowest economic growth in the nation for the past few years.26 Although the races for these governors’ mansions are still taking shape, they will likely become referenda on what is happening in Washington, D.C., and in some measure, the anti-environmental policies being pursued by the Trump administration. The results of these races could be a preview for the congressional midterms in 2018 and send a powerful signal to climate deniers, at all levels of government, that they will be held accountable for their out-of-the-mainstream views.

What’s on the line.
One cannot overstate the stakes in this fight to defend climate policies and to continue progress at the city, state, and international level. President Trump’s own Secretary of Defense James Mattis has acknowledged climate change as a “threat multiplier,” and has called on the military to “unleash us from the tether of fuel,” according to past reports.27 Other national intelligence experts are also concerned that conflict regions around the world increasingly share similar problems because of political, economic, and social instability exacerbated by climate change.28 The most recent and high-profile example of climate’s destabilizing force on the world is the Syrian refugee crisis. The historic drought affecting Syria between 2006 and 2009 left entire regions without food and water, making worse the perilous circumstances there and contributing to violence that forced people from their homes.29

Here at home, the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, released a report last November that identified climate change as a serious fiscal risk to the federal government. The report calculated that sea-level rise and extreme weather will drive up annual federal disaster recovery costs in coastal areas by $19 billion by 2050 and by $50 billion by 2075.30
The truth is that President Trump has taken climate change into account for his own properties. Trump’s Ireland golf resort filed a permit application to build a sea wall, citing “global warming and its effects.”31 In Palm Beach, where Trump’s home Mar-a-Lago sits on the water’s edge, elected officials expect that sea levels in the region may increase by seven inches by 2030 and two feet by 2060.32


Conclusion.

Though President Trump can choose to ignore climate change and line the pockets of oil, gas, and coal executives, most Americans know that, as a nation, we do not have the luxury of arguing the politics or putting our heads in the sand. It is therefore on all of us—local leaders, state leaders, campus leaders, and citizens—to find optimism in the reality that we can find paths to progress, even as we fight, every day, to stop the Trump administration from selling out our planet and our future.

John Podesta is the Founder and a Board Member of the Center for American Progress and most recently was the chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. He previously served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama. He is also a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Endnotes.

Lydia Saad and Jeffrey M. Jones, “U.S. Concern about Global Warming is at an Eight Year High,” Gallup, March 16, 2016, available at www.gallup.com/poll/190010/concer…. ?

Mark Muro and Sifan Liu, “Another Clinton-Trump divide: High-output America vs low-output America,” The Brookings Institution, posted November 29, 2016, available at www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenu…. ?

California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, “The Governor’s Climate Change Pillars: 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals,” available at www.arb.ca.gov/cc/pillars/pillar… (last accessed March 2017). ?

John Myers, “’We’re ready to fight,’ Gov. Jerry Brown unloads on Trump and Climate Issues,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2016, www.latimes.com/politics/essentia…. ?
Climate Mayors, “Open letter to President Elect Donald Trump,” November 22, 2016, available at medium.com/@ClimateMayors/open-l…. ?

Kasim Reed and Greg Stanton, “Open Letter from Mayors of Atlanta and Phoenix: It’s Time for U.S. Mayors to Reaffirm Our Commitment to Strong Climate Action,” The Compact of Mayors, January 13, 2017, available at medium.com/@CompactofMayors/open…. ?

Metro Atlanta CEO, “Mayor Kasim Reed Accepts Climate Leadership Role with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy,” December 5, 2016, available at metroatlantaceo.com/news/2016/12/…; City of Atlanta, “Mayor Kasim Reed Launches the City of Atlanta’s First Solar Energy Program,” November 23, 2015, available at www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page…. ?

The White House, “President Trump Congratulates Exxon Mobile for Job-Creating Investment Program,“ available at www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-off… (last accessed March 2017). ?

Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson, “The White House was on the same page as ExxonMobil on Monday. Literally.,” The Washington Post, March 6, 2017, available at www.washingtonpost.com/news/ener…. ?

Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson, “Thousands of Emails Detail EPA Head’s Close Ties to Fossil Fuel Industry,” The Washington Post, February 22, 2017, available at www.washingtonpost.com/news/ener…. ?

Kevin Bogardus, “Another top Inhofe staffer joins agency,” Greenwire, March 3, 2017, available at www.eenews.net/greenwire/2017/03/…. ?
The White House, “A Historic Commitment to Protecting the Environment and Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change,” available at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the… (last accessed March 2017). ?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report (2015), available at energy.gov/eere/wind/downloads/20…; U.S. Department of Energy, Utility-Scale Solar 2015: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl…. ?

Galen L. Barbose and Naïm R. Darghouth, Tracking the Sun IX: The Installed Price of Residential and Non-residential Photovalic Systems in the United States (Washington: U.S. Department of Energy, 2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/publications/trackin…; Mark Bolinger and Joachim Seel, Utility-Scale Solar 2015: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (Washington: U.S. Department of Energy, 2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/publications/utility…; U.S. Department of Energy, On the Path to Sunshot: Executive Summary (2016), available at energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/…. ?

Diane Cardwell, “Wind Power Surpasses Hydroelectric in a Crucial Measure,” The New York Times, February 9, 2017, available at www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/busin…. ?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (2017), available at energy.gov/downloads/2017-us-ene…. ?
Ibid. ?

United Nations, “Paris Agreement—Status of Ratification,” available at unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/… (last accessed March 2017). ?
United Nations, “Marrakech Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development” (2016) available at unfccc.int/files/meetings/marrake…; United Nations, “Paris Agreement—Status of Ratification.” ?

Low Carbon USA, “Home,” available at lowcarbonusa.org/ (last accessed March 2017). ?
International Finance Corporation, “Climate Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets” (2016), available at www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/51183…. ?
UT News, “ Millennials’ Strong Views on Climate Change and Other Energy Issues Could Drive Presidential Election Results,” October 27, 2016, available at news.utexas.edu/2016/10/27/mille…. ?

Harvard University, Institute of Politics, “Millennials on Global Warming” (2015), available at iop.harvard.edu/iop-now/millennia…. ?

Real Clear Politics, “Virginia Governor – McDonnell vs. Deeds,” available at www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/… (last accessed March 2017); Ian Urbina, “In Virginia, McDonnell Ends Democrats’ Streak,” The New York Times, November 2, 2009, available at
 www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/us/04v…. ?

U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Virginia: State Profile and Energy Estimates” (2016), available at www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?s…. ?

Carla Astudillo, “Dead Last: N.J. Worst in the Nation in Economic Growth,” NJ.com, September 15, 2016, available at www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/09…. ?

Mazin Sidahmed, “Climate Change Denial in the Trump Cabinet: Where do his Nominees Stand?”, The Guardian, December 15, 2016, available at www.theguardian.com/environment/…. ?
Cathleen Kelly, “Rex Tillerson’s Big Oil Ties Endanger the Climate and National Security,” Center for American Progress, January 6, 2017, available at www.americanprogress.org/issues/…. ?
Henry Fountain, “Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change,” The New York Times, March 2, 2015, available at www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/scien…. ?
Office of Management and Budget, Climate change: Fiscal Risks Facing The Federal Government (The White House, 2016), available at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sit…. ?

Ben Schreckinger, “Trump acknowledges climate change—at his golf course,” Politico, May 23, 2016, available at www.politico.com/story/2016/05/do… ?

Michael Smith and Jonathan Levin, “Trump Rejects Climate Change, but Mar-a-Lago Could Be Lost to the Sea,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 16, 2016, available at www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/…. ?

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CLIMATE – The New York Times.

Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy

Also titled TRUMP SET TO TEAR UP OBAMA’S CLIMATE CHANGE LEGACY – in some International Print Editions of March 23, 2017.

By CORAL DAVENPORTMARCH 21, 2017 – US Electronic Edition.

Shortened for the March 23, 2017 International Edition, and missing in some newsletters.

WASHINGTON DC — President Trump is poised in the coming days to announce his plans to dismantle the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy, while also gutting several smaller but significant policies aimed at curbing global warming.

The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change. The timing and exact form of the announcement remain unsettled, however.

The executive actions will follow the White House’s release last week of a proposed budget that would eliminate climate change research and prevention programs across the federal government and slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, more than any other agency. Mr. Trump also announced last week that he had ordered Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, to revise the agency’s stringent standards on planet-warming tailpipe pollution from vehicles, another of Mr. Obama’s key climate change policies.

While the White House is not expected to explicitly say the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and people familiar with the White House deliberations say Mr. Trump has not decided whether to do so, the policy reversals would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions reduction goals set by the Obama administration under the international agreement.

—————————————
Trump to Undo Vehicle Rules That Curb Global Warming MARCH 3, 2017

A Sea Change for Climate Coverage MARCH 16, 2017

Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change MARCH 2, 2017

As U.S. Cedes Leadership on Climate, Others Step Up at Davos JAN. 21, 2017

Americans Ate 19% Less Beef From ’05 to ’14, Report Says MARCH 21, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT
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In an announcement that could come as soon as Thursday or as late as next month, according to people familiar with the White House’s planning, Mr. Trump will order Mr. Pruitt to withdraw and rewrite a set of Obama-era regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, according to a draft document obtained by The New York Times. The Obama rule was devised to shut down hundreds of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants and freeze construction of new coal plants, while replacing them with vast wind and solar farms.

The draft also lays out options for legally blocking or weakening about a half-dozen additional Obama-era executive orders and policies on climate change.

At a campaign-style rally on Monday in the coal-mining state of Kentucky, Mr. Trump told a cheering audience that he is preparing an executive action that would “save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work.”

GRAPHIC — How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps
Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that it will harm them personally.

Experts in environmental law say it will not be possible for Mr. Trump to quickly or simply roll back the most substantive elements of Mr. Obama’s climate change regulations, noting that the process presents a steep legal challenge that could take many years and is likely to end up before the Supreme Court. Economists are skeptical that a rollback of the rules would restore lost coal jobs because the demand for coal has been steadily shrinking for years.

Scientists and climate policy advocates around the world say they are watching the administration’s global warming actions and statements with deep worry. Many reacted with deep concern to Mr. Pruitt’s remarks this month that he did not believe carbon dioxide was a primary driver of climate change, a statement at odds with the global scientific consensus. They also noted the remarks last week by Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, in justifying Mr. Trump’s proposed cuts to climate change research programs.

“As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mr. Mulvaney said at a White House briefing.

“The message they are sending to the rest of the world is that they don’t believe climate change is serious. It’s shocking to see such a degree of ignorance from the United States,” said Mario J. Molina, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Mexico who advises nations on climate change policy.

The policy reversals also signal that Mr. Trump has no intention of following through on Mr. Obama’s formal pledges under the Paris accord, under which nearly every country in the world submitted plans detailing actions to limit global warming over the coming decade.

Under the accord as it stands, the United States has pledged to reduce its greenhouse pollution about 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That can be achieved only if the United States not only implements the Clean Power Plan and tailpipe-pollution rules, but also tightens them or adds more policies in future years.

“The message clearly is, ‘We won’t do what the United States has promised to do,’” Mr. Molina said.

In addition to directing Mr. Pruitt to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the draft order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request that a federal court halt consideration of a 28-state lawsuit against the regulation. The case was argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in September, and the court is expected to release a decision in the coming months on whether to uphold or strike down the rule.

Interactive Feature: Trump Has Choices to Make on Climate Policy. What Would You Do?
According to the draft, Mr. Trump is also expected to announce that he will lift a moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands that had been announced last year by the Obama administration.

He is also expected to order White House economists to revisit an Obama-era budgeting metric known as the social cost of carbon. Economists and policy makers used the metric to place a dollar cost on the economic impact of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution: about $36 per ton. That measure formed the Obama administration’s economic justification for issuing climate change regulations that would harm some industries, such as coal mining, noting that those costs would be outweighed by the economic benefits of preventing billions of tons of planet-warming pollution.

Eliminating or lowering the social cost of carbon could provide the Trump administration the economic justification for putting forth less-stringent regulations.

The draft order would also rescind an executive order by Mr. Obama that all federal agencies take climate change into account when considering any form of environmental permitting.

Unlike the rollback of the power plant and vehicle regulations, which could take years and will be subject to legal challenges, Mr. Trump can make the changes to the coal mining ban and undo Mr. Obama’s executive orders with the stroke of a pen.

White House staff members and energy lobbyists who work closely with them say they have been expecting Mr. Trump to make the climate change announcements for weeks, ever since Mr. Pruitt was confirmed to head the E.P.A. on Feb. 17, but the announcement has been repeatedly rescheduled. The delays of the one-page announcement have largely been a result of disorganization and a chaotic policy and planning process, said people familiar with that process who asked to speak anonymously to avoid angering Mr. Trump.

One reason for the confusion, these people said, is internal disputes about the challenging legal process required to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. While Mr. Trump may announce with great fanfare his intent to roll back the regulations, the legal steps required to fulfill that announcement are lengthy and the outcome uncertain.

“Trump’s announcements have zero impact,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard. “They don’t change existing law at all.”

Much of that task will now fall to Mr. Pruitt.

“To undo the rule, the E.P.A. will now have to follow the same procedure that was followed to put the regulations in place,” said Mr. Lazarus, pointing to a multiyear process of proposing draft rules, gathering public comment and forming a legal defense against an expected barrage of lawsuits almost certain to end up before the Supreme Court.

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