Security council adds energy staff ahead of N.Y. climate talk

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The White House is deepening its energy ranks and planning to host a discussion next week on climate and energy issues in New York.

The Trump administration is in the process of bringing on board officials from the State Department, Energy Department and other agencies to oversee energy and environmental issues on the National Security Council, according to a White House official.

Those who will be detailed to the NSC include John Thompson, an official from the State Department who in the past played a leading role in negotiations and policy initiatives for the U.S. under the Montreal Protocol, the official said.

Tristan Abbey, a former Republican staffer on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will also serve on the NSC. So will Aaron Weston, a former House staffer and nuclear engineer, who’s likely to play a leading role in the administration’s review of the nuclear industry (Greenwire, Sept. 1).

The new hires arrive as the White House plans for a meeting in New York next week with foreign ministers, energy and environment ministers, and other high-level officials to discuss energy and climate change.

An administration official confirmed Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, is planning to host the discussion to coincide with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

The meeting, the official said, is an opportunity to exchange views on how to promote universal access to affordable and reliable energy, including more efficient and cleaner use of fossil fuels. The venue will also allow discussion on ways to reduce emissions while growing the economy and expanding energy access, the official said.

The Trump administration in recent days has remained mum on the issue of climate change in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but in previous months administration officials questioned the underlying science after pulling the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.