Trump adviser lists ‘conditions’ for staying in deal

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, March 24, 2017

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), an energy adviser to President Trump, circulated a “dear colleague” letter to Republican House members that could give the White House cover to remain in the Paris Agreement.

Cramer asked colleagues to sign a letter to Trump, which was obtained by E&E News, encouraging him to wring concessions out of international partners in exchange for staying in the landmark 2015 climate deal. They would include weaker emissions and aid commitments from the United States and more veto power in the negotiating process.

Cramer panned President Obama’s promise to cut U.S. emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025, contending that it would “cause irreparable harm to our economy, particularly our manufacturing and energy sectors, and should be rejected.”

He urged the new administration to rescind the commitment and put forward a new one that would “reflect a range of economic scenarios, and take in adequate input from the private sector and other interested parties.”

The administration is still weighing whether to make good on Trump’s campaign pledge to “cancel” U.S. participation in Paris, with a final decision likely in the next weeks or months. White House officials who support the U.S. remaining in the deal have floated the idea of introducing a new nationally determined contribution to the deal that would reflect a business-as-usual emissions scenario based on low natural gas prices and other factors.

Also on Cramer’s list of “conditions” would be an assurance that while the United States would provide no new money to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, it would retain a seat on the fund’s board that would allow it to “use our power to veto any projects deemed wasteful and harmful to global energy security efforts and poverty eradication objectives in the developing world.”

Finally, Cramer proposes that the Trump negotiating team use its position within the negotiating process to safeguard the interests of the U.S. fossil fuels and manufacturing sectors.

“We should work closely with our allies to develop, deploy, and commercialize cleaner technologies to help ensure a future for fossil fuels within the context of the global climate agenda, including support for the deployment of highly efficient and low emission coal, as well as carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies, in global markets,” he wrote.

Sources say White House personnel have discussed unspecified new “concessions” with European Union and fossil fuels representatives. It’s unclear what those would be, though some speculate they could come in the form of new trade agreements.