Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Politico claims that efforts to formulate a joint G7 statement on energy policy were abandoned, because President Trump would not agree to guarantee the USA would remain signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Trump’s climate demands roil U.S. allies
Documents show the administration pushed other G-7 countries to embrace larger roles for nuclear power and fossil fuels. They refused.
By ANDREW RESTUCCIA 04/11/17 07:14 PM EDT
President Donald Trump’s abrupt turnaround on U.S. climate policy is fueling tension with several of America’s closest allies, which are resisting the administration’s demands that they support a bigger role for nuclear power and fossil fuels in the world’s energy supply.
The dispute blew up at this week’s meeting of G-7 energy ministers, at which Trump administration officials pushed to include stronger pro-coal, pro-nuclear language in a proposed joint statement on energy policy. The fight had been simmering behind the scenes for weeks as the White House, Energy Department and State Department clashed with negotiators from other G-7 countries over the statement, according to an internal document obtained by POLITICO and interviews with diplomats.
The feud comes as Trump, who often touts his “America first” approach to foreign policy, is considering whether to pull the United States out of the climate change accord that the Obama administration and leaders of nearly 200 other nations negotiated in Paris in 2015. Some Trump advisers have suggested that he should remain in the deal — but in return, should demand concessions to aid the fossil fuel sector.
G-7 officials, led by the Europeans, refused to agree to stronger language touting fossil fuels without assurances from the United States that it would stay in the Paris climate change agreement, according to officials briefed on the discussions.
The U.S. emphasis on coal “was seen as an issue for all of us,” one G-7 country negotiator told POLITICO, noting that Canada, Europe and Japan all expressed frustration about the Trump administration’s position. The United States’ refusal to discuss or mention the Paris agreement in the joint statement was EU’s “biggest” red line during the meeting, the negotiator added.
Asked for comment, a White House official said Trump “has emphasized the value of the U.S. energy sector as a strategic tool in U.S. foreign policy.” The official added: “All U.S. energy resources and technologies, including coal and nuclear, should play an important role in achieving universal access to affordable and reliable energy.”
A lot of people mischaracterise President Trump’s policies as an attack on renewables. President Trump’s stated goal is to lower the cost of energy, and ensure US energy security. If renewables can compete on cost with coal and gas, as advocates frequently claim, they will remain a welcome component of the US energy mix.