Trump’s EPA Chief Charts a New Course: An Interview With Scott Pruitt

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke to me earlier this week at The Heritage Foundation’s annual President’s Club meeting in Washington. We discussed his leadership of the EPA, the agency’s top priorities, and what Pruitt considers true environmentalism. An edited transcript of our interview, along with the full video, is below.

Bluey: You’ve had a busy week. On Monday, you took a decisive action and ended the sue and settle process that has been plaguing the EPA and our government for a number of years. Can you explain to this audience why that is so significant and what it actually means?

Pruitt: Yes, well, it’s good to be with you. In fact, I see [former Attorney] General [Edwin] Meese here in the front and it’s always good to see General Meese. He has served as a great inspiration to me over the years.

With respect to this particular question on sue and settle, it is actually something General Meese talked about back in the 1980s. We’ve seen agencies at the federal level for many years engage in rulemaking through the litigation process, where a third party will sue an agency and, in the course of that lawsuit, an agency will agree to certain obligations. Maybe take a discretionary duty under statute and make it nondiscretionary or there will be a timeline in a statute and they’ll change the timeline.

But suffice it to say, they engage in what we would call substantive rulemaking, and then the court blesses it without much inquiry. The agency will take that consent decree and go to the states and citizens all over the country and say, ‘Thou shalt,’ and sometimes that mandate is totally untethered to the statute—the obligations that Congress has passed for that agency to engage in.

My job is to enforce the laws as passed by whom? Congress. They give me my authority. That’s the jurisdictional responsibilities that I have, and when litigation is used to regulate … that’s abusive. That’s wrong.

It is fifth-grade civics. I don’t know if they teach civics in fifth grade anymore, but at least they used to. I hang out at the executive branch; we’re an executive branch agency. My job is to enforce the laws as passed by whom? Congress. They give me my authority. That’s the jurisdictional responsibilities that I have, and when litigation is used to regulate … that’s abusive. That’s wrong. We took the first step under the Trump administration [Monday] to end the sue and settle process entirely at the EPA.

It is not just an attitude shift, not just a commitment to not engage in sue and settle and regulation for litigation. We actually put directives in the memoranda, safeguards if you will.

For instance, if there is settlement that we are engaged in, settlement discussions with a third party that sued the agency, we will post that settlement for all the world to see, for at least 30 days, for people to comment on it across the country so that there is transparency with respect to those discussions.

If a state seeks to intervene in litigation with respect to issues that impact them, we’re going to have a very generous and accommodating attitude to our states participating in those settlement discussions. But here’s one of the more important ones: in the past the sue and settle process has been affected by third parties. They would go to the EPA and they would say, ‘Let’s work out a deal,’ and, as I indicated, go to the court, put it within a consent decree without any type of transparency.

But then here’s the kicker: They would pay attorneys fees to the group that sued them. So the group is effectively engaging in rulemaking and they get attorneys fees to get paid to do it.

In my directive to the agency, I said this: We’re not going to pay attorneys fees anymore in that regard. If we have a settlement and there’s no prevailing party, there shouldn’t be attorneys fees. We’ve directed no attorneys fees as part of the end of this sue and settle practice. It’s been a busy week already but every week is that way.

Bluey: The left, over the past generation, has defined environmentalism in a way that is counter to freedom, conservation, even science. I want to ask, what do you consider true environmentalism?

Pruitt: That’s a great question, and it’s one our society needs to ask and answer. The past administration told everyone in this room at some point, told the American citizens across the country, that we have to choose between jobs and growth and environmental stewardship.

We’ve never done that as a country. To give you an example, since 1980, there are certain pollutants that we regulate under the Clean Air Act, criteria pollutants, they are called. … We’ve reduced those pollutants over 65 percent since 1980, but we’ve also grown our [gross domestic product] substantially.

We, as a country, have always used innovative technology to advance environmental stewardship, reduction of those pollutants, but also grown our economy at the same time. It was the past administration that told everyone that you had to choose between the two. That just simply is a false narrative. It’s a false choice, so we need to ask ourselves, what is true environmentalism?

True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with.

True environmentalism from my perspective is using natural resources that God has blessed us with to feed the world, to power the world with the sensitivity that future generations cultivate, to harvest, to be respectful good stewards, good managers of our natural resources, to bequeath those natural resources for the next generation.

It would be like having this beautiful apple orchard that can feed the world and the environmental folks of the past would say, ‘Build a fence. Don’t touch the apple orchard, though it can feed people.’ That’s not the proper approach. They would say it’s so pristine and we shouldn’t touch it. That’s not what we should do. We should harvest that apple orchard. We should use it to benefit our fellow mankind, but with environmental stewardship in mind for future generations. We can do both. That’s what we need to do with the EPA going forward and we are doing that.

Bluey: I’m glad you brought up [former President Barack] Obama and his administration because the media often portrays him as an environmental hero and you’re portrayed as the villain. What are you most frustrated about with the media’s coverage of you personally and the EPA in general under President Trump?

Pruitt: Well, I don’t like the hero-villain thing that you put me through there, but when you look at the past administration and what they actually achieved as far as environmental outcomes, they did not achieve very much.

In fact, look at those criteria for what we do regulate. One-hundred-twenty-million people in this country live in areas that don’t meet air quality standards. That’s what the previous administration left us with. They had Flint, Michigan, and Gold King, Colorado, with respect to water. With respect to those areas that we regulate that have land waste, we have more sites than when President Obama came into office.

[W]hen you look at the past administration and what they actually achieved as far as environmental outcomes, they did not achieve very much.

They tried to regulate carbon dioxide twice and struck out twice. So really when you look at that agenda, what did they actually achieve other than uncertainty and adversarial relationships with those across the country?

When you look at farmers and ranchers, for example, they are our first environmentalists. They are our first conservationists. When you look at the greatest asset that they have it is their land. They care about the water that they drink. They care about the air that they breathe. We should see them as partners, not adversaries. We should see them as states in the same vain. They have expertise and resources that we don’t have. We have resources that they don’t have. It should be a partnership and collaboration.

I’ve been on a 25-state tour over the last two to three months with respect to the Waters of the United States rule. We’re withdrawing that rule. We’re getting that right. As we’ve gone through that process, I was in Utah with Gov. [Gary] Herbert talking about issues there, the second driest state in the country. The very next day, I was in Minnesota; [there are] different issues in Minnesota with respect to waters than in Utah.

As we do our work in D.C., we should do our work in collaboration and in partnership, in cohesion with states so that we can work on environmental issues from Superfund to air quality to water quality across the full spectrum in things that we do in partnership with those folks. That’s the failure of the past administration. They saw them as adversaries and not partners.

Kayakers find themselves surrounded by the toxic mine waste that flowed into Colorado’s Animas River from the Gold King Mine in 2015. (Photo: Jerry McBride/Durango Herald/Polaris/Newscom)

Moreover, they acted outside the scope of their authority, which created tremendous uncertainty. President Trump, who is doing a fabulous job, is leading with great courage and conviction. He’s in the White House today because of two primary things: the American people want courage and they want action, and he embodies both of those in his leadership.

But as we look to these issues in areas that we regulate with respect to air land and water, these are issues that we ought to be working together to achieve and setting clear objectives. Where should we be in air quality in two to four years? Where should we be in investment of air and water infrastructure? How do we improve remediate those sites with respective to the Superfund?

Let me give you an example. There’s a site just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a site that has 8,000 tons of uranium from the Manhattan Project commingled with the 38,000 thousand tons of solid waste dispersed over this large geographic area outside of St. Louis.

We’re getting back to the basics and we’re operating under the rule of law.

It was discovered in 1970. In 1990, the EPA listed that site on the national priority list. Twenty-seven years later, as we’re in this auditorium together, the agency still has not made a decision on how to remediate that site, excavate, or cap the site. Twenty-seven years … to not even make a decision? That’s totally unacceptable. In fact, that’s one of the things that as I came into this position, I was so stuck by.

As I was engaged in meetings at the office, there just appeared to be a lack of urgency, a lack of focus, a lack of energy to do what’s right to serve the American people—the fundamental way to provide real, tangible environmental outcomes in water, air, and Superfund.

We’re getting back to the basics and we’re operating under the rule of law. We’re respecting process and we’re also engaging in federalism principles to ensure that we’re partnering together. It sounds like a pretty good agenda to me and I think in this country, we ought to be adopting that, not vilifying it to your question.

Bluey: I want to ask specifically about the Waters of the United States rule you raised. At Heritage, it’s an issue that we’ve done a lot of work on. It’s something we recognize that has a tremendous impact across this country. You’ve made a decision that you were going to conduct a reevaluation. What are your goals as you go through that process and coming out of it?

Pruitt: Clarity. I mean, that’s what’s so crazy about the past administration. … Let me give you a little background. The last time we defined that was 1986 as far as Waters of the United States. We provided guidance in 2008; that’s about as far as the definition of a water of the United States is. So the past administration said we need to provide clarity across the country when federal jurisdiction begins and ends. If that was their objective, they failed miserably. Because people all over the country have no idea today where federal jurisdiction begins and ends under that 2015 rule.

I mentioned Utah. I was in Salt Lake City with Gov. Herbert with an Army Corps of Engineers representative about two months ago. We were standing outside of this subdivision and this Army Corps of Engineers representative pointed to this thermal drainage ditch and said, “Scott, that is a water of the United States,” and I said, “It’s not going to be anymore.” That’s really the challenge here—that you had so much confusion and uncertainty about what waters were in [and] what waters were out.

They call this deregulation. This is regulatory reform, this is regulatory clarity. We’re getting rid of the deficient rule and then we’re going to provide a new definition that provides bright line criteria by which to define where jurisdiction begins and ends.

So what does that mean? That means land use across this country is held hostage because folks aren’t going to deploy capital. They aren’t going to allocate resources They aren’t going to put capital at risk and then face a fine five or 10 years from now saying you should’ve had a permit because this is covered under Waters of the United States.

The No. 1 objective is to get the definition right and to provide clarity across the country on when federal jurisdiction ends and we’re going to do that in 2018. We’re going to withdraw the rule that’s in place right now and that will be finished by the end of the year. Then we’ve got a substitute definition, and this is where the environmental left misses it. They call this deregulation. This is regulatory reform, this is regulatory clarity. We’re getting rid of the deficient rule and then we’re going to provide a new definition that provides bright line criteria by which to define where jurisdiction begins and ends. That’s so key and that’s what we are going to accomplish in 2018, and it’s not going to be the federal drainage ditch.

Bluey: The Clean Power Plan is another major action you’ve taken recently. In the same context, what are the implications of doing away with that? And where do you see it going next?

Pruitt: For the first time in history, the Supreme Court entered a pending litigation and issued a stay of enforcement against the Clean Power Plan. That case is being litigated in the D.C. Circuit. The Supreme Court intervened and said stop the enforcement of the rule because it’s going to impact the marketplace in ways that we don’t think meet the statutory criteria or authority of the agency.

So again, uncertainty. We had uncertainty in the utility sector, so let me say this to you: generally, from a regulatory perspective this is going to be a very profound statement, regulations should make things regular. That’s our job to take a statute and administer the statute and make things regular across the full spectrum of people subject to the statute or subject to the regulation. It’s not to pick winners and losers.

The president made a tremendously courageous decision by saying we’re going to get out of the Paris accord, put America first, and make sure that we lead with action and not words.

It’s not the job of the EPA to say to the utility company in any state of the country, you should choose renewables over natural gas or coal. We need fuel diversity in the general electricity. We need more choices, not less. No agency at the federal level should use their coerce power to force business utility companies to take those fuel sources away. They should be making it on cost, stability, and I would say resiliency of the grid.

The president talks a lot about economic growth. We’re already at 3-plus percent and this tax cut package is going to provide tremendous growth. When you grow your economy at 3 to 4 percent as opposed to 1 percent, the power grid, the resiliency of the power grid takes more significance, so when you reduce fuel sources that takes on more vulnerabilities.

President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced in June the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. (Photo: Ron Sachs/Newscom)

We need solid hydrocarbons like coal to be stored onsite to address peak demand. We need natural gas, we need renewables, we need all that. Chancellor [Angela] Merkel, in this Paris accord situation, I know you didn’t ask about this, but I have to get this in, when we talk about this Paris accord issue, if Germany is so concerned about this reduction of CO2, why is Chancellor Merkel getting rid of all nuclear in Germany? Its hypocritical and, by the way, we’re at pre-1994 levels in this country and from 2000-2014 after we exited Kyoto, we reduced our CO2 footprint by 18 percent, almost 20 percent, and that’s in the same timeframe.

This country has alway led with action, not words and labels like Paris. The president made a tremendously courageous decision by saying we’re going to get out of the Paris accord, put America first, and make sure that we lead with action and not words.

Bluey: What is your strategy for rolling back cumbersome regulations that hurt small businesses?

Pruitt: There has been a threefold strategy that has been introduced to the agencies since Day One. In fact, as I addressed the agency on the first day, I talked about three primary things.

One, respect for rule of law. The only authority we have is the one Congress gives us in the statutes, which enhances regulatory certainty when we act congruent to statutory guidelines.

Secondly, we are going to respect process, which means that as we go through rulemaking, we’re actually going to do what Congress says. We’re going to propose a rule. We’re going to take comment and it’s our responsibility to respond to that comment. Then, we’re going to finalize that rule by being informed of how it’s going to impact folks all over the country. That’s good. That’s how consensus is built.

Thirdly, we’re going to respect federalism. Congress is prescribed into the Clean Air Act, into the Clean Water Act certain responsibilities placed upon states. They imagined and really believed that we can work together.

[Trump is] in the White House today because of two primary things: the American people want courage and they want action, and he embodies both of those in his leadership.

Those are the three primary principles by which we are doing our work. I think as we do that, it’s going to create better outcomes for air, land, and water, as far as environmental outcomes.

But as far as when you look at the disrespective process—that’s the reason the sue and settle aspect makes the remedy there is so important. I think if we get back to the basics there and focus on those three cornerstone principles, we’re going to see better outcomes as far as air attainment, water infrastructure, sites being remediated on the Superfund list, and it’s going to be very encouraging.

And for small business, we’ve also done something else. President Bush introduced something, and it actually dates back to the Clinton administration. It was called the Common Sense Initiative. President Bush built on that and called it the sector strategy, where we bring in sectors of our economy—farming and ranching, chemical companies, energy, oil and gas, and others.

We’ve updated that because it went by the wayside under the Obama administration. We’ve revived that and we’ve created something called the smart sector strategy. Those businesses are now dialoguing with us on how we can work together going into the future to achieve better outcomes in the environment.

Bluey: What’s an issue that you are engaged in that isn’t getting the attention it deserves—that you think this audience should know about?

Pruitt: Well, I think one that isn’t talked about a lot is last year Congress adopted some amendments to the Toxics Substances Control Act, TSCA, and created new responsibilities for our agency. For instance, chemicals that enter the flow of commerce, we have to approve those chemical before they enter the stream of commerce.

When I came into this position, we had a backlog of over 700 of those chemicals. We cleared those out by July of this year. We focused resources and we provided certainty to folks across the marketplace on whether those chemicals could be used in an effective way. We’re implementing those changes to TSCA that I think provides certainty to those that are regulated.

There’s great optimism across the country, except in Washington, D.C., so that means things are going really well.

The other area I want to talk about is the Superfund arena. I mentioned the one site in West Lake, Missouri. I’d love to tell you that is an isolated example—that that is just one of many of the 1,336 sites that we regulate. We have many, unfortunately, sites that have languished on that list since inception of the program in the 1980s—sites that been there for decades with respect to no decision and very little action.

The American people deserve, in my view, answers and leadership in how to remediate those sites. That’s the most tangible benefit that we can provide to folks environmentally.

Just recently, San Jacinto, a site in Houston that is off of I-10 in a harbor there, where there is a bunch of barge traffic. There was a site listed around 2009-2010, and it has dioxin on the site. When the hurricane came through there was much concern about the dioxin being released into the barge traffic and it impacting folks’ health. The remedy that has been in place for the past 10 years was literally putting rocks on top of the site to prevent release. It sounds crazy but that’s exactly the case.

A tanker arrives in the Houston Ship Channel near a spot where the road dead ends into water at the San Jacinto battlefield. (Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters/Newscom)

When I was there after the storm, I said that is not acceptable. We’re going to make a decision for the betterment of the community to fix that site and provide permanence. Just last week I signed that record decision giving direction on how we are going to provide that relief to prevent the release of dioxin into the water supply in Houston, Texas.

We’ve got to take concrete steps to prevent those environmental issues. We’re doing such good work that no one, I really shouldn’t say no one … folks see it in the communities. There’s great optimism across the country, except in Washington, D.C., so that means things are going really well.

Bluey: Can you describe the shortcomings of the scientific evidence for climate change and the type of data that would be needed to convince you that climate change is happening?

Pruitt: Well, a couple things. Let me address something a little bit big picture and then I’ll get into the specific question.

I have advisory boards at my agency. The CASAC, the science advisory board that advises me on air quality issues. I have BOSC and I have the Science Advisory Board.

The scientists who make up these bodies, and there are dozens and dozens of these folks, over the years those individuals as they’ve served those capacities, guess what has also happened? They’ve received moneys through grants and sometimes substantial moneys through grants.

I think what’s most important at the agencies is to have scientific advisers who are objective, independent minded, providing transparent recommendations to me as the administrator and to our office on the decisions that we’re making on the efficacy of rules that we’re passing to address environmental issues.

If we have individuals that are on those boards that are receiving money from the agency, sometimes going back years and years to the tune of literally tens of millions of dollars, over time, that to me causes questions on the independence and the veracity of the transparency of the recommendations that are coming our way.

Next week, I want you to know something, and I’m not trying to get ahead of myself too much, but next week we are going to fix that. Next week, I am going to issue a directive that addresses just that, that’s much like the sue and settle, to ensure the independence, transparency, and objectivity with respect to the scientific advice that we are getting at the agency.

It’s not a question about whether climate change occurs. It does. It’s not a matter of whether man contributes to it. We do. The question is how much do we contribute to it and how do we measure that with precision?

Now, on this issue with respect to climate change, it’s not a question about whether climate change occurs. It does. It’s not a matter of whether man contributes to it. We do. The question is how much do we contribute to it and how do we measure that with precision? It’s a little bit more difficult questions like when we have individuals telling us in 2017 that they know what the ideal global average surface temperature should be in the year 2100, I think there should be a debate around that. I think there ought to be discussion around that very issue.

There are some, perhaps in this very room that believe that it poses an existential threat. If it poses an existential threat, I want to know. If it’s more important than ISIS and North Korea, I think we better know about it. So let’s have a real, meaningful discussion about it.

The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know, with respect to CO2. It’s never taken place. That’s the reason I’ve been proposing a red team, blue team exercise where we bring red team scientists in and blue team scientists in and they would engage in a multi-month process asking of each other these very difficult questions to help inform the American public on these issues to help build consensus toward this very important issue.

The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know, with respect to CO2. It’s never taken place.

Here’s the last thing I will say about it. That is a very important exercise and it’s something that Steve Koonin actually published in the Wall Street Journal about three or four months ago. I think it was a well-written piece and you ought to go read it. There’s actually another piece that Bret Stephens wrote in the New York Times about this very issue where politicians have taken information that we know and stretched it so far on this issue that it strains credibility.

We need to have a very honest and open discussion about this as a citizenry and as a country with respect to what we do. But here’s the other thing, what are the tools in the toolbox? That matters. Remember what I said earlier: the only authority I have is the one Congress gives me.

We have to ask and answer the question, What does the Clean Air Act say to this issue as far as regulation of CO2? The last time the Clean Air Act was amended—anyone want to guess when that was? I know you study this every day—1990. Twenty-seven years ago. If you go back and read post the amendments, the Clean Air Act from 1990, Congressman [John] Dingell is not the most conservative member to ever have served in Congress. Congressman Dingell said to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act of 1990 would be a glorious mess. The Clean Air Act was set up to address local and regional air pollutants, not the global phenomena of GHG and CO2.

Where is it in the Clean Air Act that the EPA has the authority to declare war on any sector of our economy? I don’t see it. And that’s what the last administration did. It ended under President Trump.

We have to ask the question, one, What do we know? And let’s inform ourselves about it. But we also have to ask ourselves, What can we do about it and what tools are in the toolbox? I can’t make that up. That’s what the last administration did. When they made it up, they got sued and they got stays of enforcement like the Clean Power Plan, which does not achieve any environmental outcomes and creates uncertainty in the marketplace. It was part of their war on coal, their war on fossil fuels.

I have to ask you a question rhetorically. Where is it in the Clean Air Act that the EPA has the authority to declare war on any sector of our economy? I don’t see it. And that’s what the last administration did. It ended under President Trump.

Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to EPA employees in February. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters/Newscom)

Bluey: I have a couple of questions about what it’s like to work at EPA headquarters. Specifically, are you running into any internal or political challenges with a staff that might not be willing to carry out the mission you articulated earlier?

Pruitt: Let me say a couple of things. One, having led a business, having been in that space and whatnot, I didn’t start from the premise that folks weren’t willing to be partners. In fact, the very first day I was there, I talked about rule of law and process and federalism, as I indicated to you. But also said to the folks there that I was going to listen and I was going to learn from them, but that we were going to lead, we were going to make decisions.

And so I’ve tried to exercise good will in working with folks. I don’t want people presuming certain things about me that are not based in fact and I shouldn’t presume certain things about others. I’ve tried to lead that way at the agency. That being said, I do think that there is a lack of urgency in some of these areas with respect to Superfund and otherwise, and we’re revitalizing those areas actually. And we’re actually getting the things done that matter and holding folks accountable.

I don’t want people presuming certain things about me that are not based in fact and I shouldn’t presume certain things about others. I’ve tried to lead that way at the agency.

There’s a gentlemen I brought into leadership. He worked for Gov. [Doug] Ducey in Arizona, and I was with Governor Ducey a couple of weeks ago and I thanked him for his contribution. But this individual came to me—he led the [Department of Environmental Quality] there in Arizona, and then he went into the Cabinet under Governor Ducey—and when he came into leadership at the DEQ in Arizona he said, Scott we had over 700 people that we employed and I started focusing on metrics and performance and everyday asking and answering what progress are we making? Are we actually remediating sites? And measuring that every single day. And there were some people in the agency, he said to me, that weren’t into that. They weren’t into accountability. And those folks just kind of left. And at the end of that process, it went from an agency of around 700 to an agency of around 350.

He said Scott, what’s amazing to me is that when that happened we were actually producing better results with the 350, measuring outcomes, than we had with 700. Now, that person is now at the EPA, and I’ve given him a charge. We have a dashboard that we’ve created, a dashboard of measuring results every single day. His name is Henry Darwin, by the way. I call this the ‘Darwin Effect,’ And I say, ‘Henry, how are we progressing today? How are we doing in air quality?’

Let me ask you something, What’s Republican and Democrat about improving air quality? Where’s the political issue around that? Where’s the political issue around avoiding Flint, Michigan, and Gold King, Colorado? Where’s the Republican/Democrat approach to remediating Superfund sites and actually making sure they’re actually reused and communities can enjoy those areas once again?

LeeAnne Walters of Flint, Michigan, shows water samples from her home amid growing health concerns in 2015. (Photo: Ryan Garza/ZUMA Press/Newscom)

Their shouldn’t be any political margin on any of those issues. These are not controversial things. We ought to focus on the good work of the agency, respectful of law, engage in partnership. And you know what’s going to happen? Good things. We ought to celebrate that as a country. So the Darwin Effect is in full force and we are going to make sure that we achieve accountability.

Just one other thing—permitting. Permitting has been a big issue with respect to infrastructure. Permitting, sometimes, at our agency, has not been, ‘Is there an issue and how do we fix it?’ It’s been obstructionism. It’s taken a decade, or 12 years or 15 years—and I’m not making this up—where it takes that long to make a decision on a permit. That’s not a decision. That’s simply no, just cloaked in no decision, right?

When I met with Henry, I said, ‘Henry we’ve got to have an outside time where all permits are processed. Let’s establish a timeline that all permits are going to be processed within X number of years or whatever.’ This was one of our first meetings and I decided two years or something; let’s find the right time. He said, Scott, ‘I was thinking more like six months.’ I said, ‘I love you Henry.’ So by the end of 2018, every permit that we issue, up or down, you’re going to know within six months.

Bluey: What has it been like working with President Trump? What can you tell us about it?

Pruitt: It’s been wonderful. As I shared with you earlier, the president is full of courage and he’s full of action. He wants results. That’s what the American people want.

They don’t like all the blather, they don’t like all the labels, they don’t like all the bumper stickers. Let’s actually achieve things. That’s what he’s done his whole life.

[T]he president is full of courage and he’s full of action. He wants results. That’s what the American people want.

I seek every day, and I mean this sincerely, to bless him. I want to bless him and the decisions he’s making. I want to carry out my responsibilities at our agency in a way that is respectful of the things I’ve talked about today. There’s so much optimism across our country—with respect to all the various states and stakeholders that there’s a different trajectory.

You know, several years ago there was a book that I picked up called “The Culture Code.” It’s a book written by a French sociologist, and I don’t normally pick up those books, but this was an interesting book where his business, his career is that he engages in surveys and focus groups. Coca-Cola or IBM will hire him and say, ‘OK, you go out and find the code, the one word that describes my company.’ He did that, that’s his whole career.

He wrote this book and he talks about these various areas, but he spent one entire chapter on America. He surveyed all these people across the country, focus groups, asking questions. He boiled the code word for America down to one word—one word. Anybody want to guess what it is? Dream.

We have nothing to be apologetic about as a country. We’re the best in the world. We feed the world, we power the world. And oh, by the way, when it comes to environmental stewardship, we’re better than anybody else.

And I’ll tell you as a country, we’ve lost that a little bit. We’re a little bit more risk averse than we used to be. We don’t dream and aspire like we used to be. This president is reinvigorating that. This administration is reinvigorating that.

We have nothing to be apologetic about as a country. We’re the best in the world. We feed the world, we power the world. And oh, by the way, when it comes to environmental stewardship, we’re better than anybody else. And that’s the Gospel truth.

Let’s not be apologetic. Let’s lead with action. And that’s what the president is doing. I love serving with him. I love serving him. And there’s much optimism, much hope ahead.

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Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

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Fires far worse last century

The fires ravaging California have caused heart-rending devastation.  Forty-one people have lost their lives and damages are now estimated to top $3 billion.

Never ones to let a “serious crisis go to waste,” Green pressure groups are shamelessly attributing the fires to global warming and claiming that this years fires ravaged the largest area ever recorded.

“But that is because the National Interagency Fire Center curiously – and somewhat conveniently – only shows the annual burnt area back to 1960, when fire suppression indeed was going strong, and hence we had some of the lowest amounts of burnt forests ever,” explains Bjørn Lomborg, President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

“Yet, the official historical data of the United States tells a different story. Look at the Historical Statistics of the United States – Colonial Times to 1970,  There we have statistics for area burnt since 1926 and up to 1970. Reassuringly, the data for 1960-1970 ‘completely overlap.’  This is the same data series.”  Professor Lomborg shared the graph above.

Global warming campaigners want us to believe that history started yesterday; the better for them to “cherry pick” the starting point of a data series to create the false impression that natural phenomena are worse today than in the past.  Their claims don’t survive fact checking.

Senior Policy Analyst Bonner Cohen reminds us at CFACT.org that humans did indeed have a hand in making the California wildfires worse, but not because we drive cars or use electricity.  Recent years have seen bad forest management.  Banning responsible harvesting of timber has resulted in overgrown forests laden with dead trees and brush.  Fire breaks are insufficient and fire fighting policy inadequate.

Moreover, Cohen explains,

“restrictive zoning laws in cities like San Francisco and San Jose have put home prices out of reach for people of upper-middle, middle, and lower income. Unable to afford homes in high-end urban areas, many people are forced to live in distant suburbs, which puts them closer to areas where fire are likely to break out.”

Let us stand with the people of California in word and deed.  Work for better forest management to limit future damage, and arm ourselves with the facts that expose those exploiting this tragedy to push the global warming narrative as the propagandists they are.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of flames of the 2013 Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest. Photo by Mike McMillan/U.S. Forest Service.

Undo Obama’s Massive Land Grabs

President Obama infamously said, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone – and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions.”

This he did with a vengeance.

One of the most egregious areas he wielded his menacing pen was in expanding federal control over wilderness areas with use of the “Antiquities Act.”

This Act was established in 1906 under President Theodore Roosevelt and was never intended to be a tool used by Uncle Sam to swipe up massive amounts of territory from states and private citizens. As CFACT senior policy analyst Bonner Cohen explains at CFACT.org:

It is easily forgotten that the original intent of the Antiquities Act was to protect archaeological artifacts and sacred sites of Native Americans located on federal land from poaching and other unnatural disturbances. Indeed, the Antiquities Act calls for monuments to be limited to the “smallest area compatible” with protecting the site or object. It what is a complete distortion of the law’s original intent, monuments designations – whether on land or at sea – frequently involve thousands of square miles that are permanently off-limits to almost any form of economic activity.”

Yes, Obama had “the pen,” but now it has been turned over to President Trump … and he should use it to right these wrongs.

Fortunately, there are indications he may be willing to do so. Recently the President’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signaled he’s taking a few positive first steps to roll back the excessive use of the Antiquities Act, but he needs to go much further.

Again from Cohen:

“It was disappointing that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plans for dealing with national monuments created by previous administrations fell well short of what needs to be done to undo these abuses of the Antiquities Act of 1906. Zinke has proposed eliminating no monuments at all, modifying ten monuments, and narrowing the boundaries of six monuments: the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears and the 1.9-million-acre Grand Staircase Escalante (both in Utah), the 98,000-acre Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon, and the nearly 300,000-acre Gold Butte in Nevada, as well as two marine monuments: Pacific Remote Islands and Ross Atoll.”

To step up efforts at reforming the Antiquities Act, CFACT recently joined a coalition of free market organizations in co-signing a letter to President Trump urging him to have Secretary Zinke act more decisively to eliminate and reign in Obama’s national monument land grabs.  We posted it at CFACT.org.

The letter concludes:

Federal law has also been circumvented by the executive branch in designating national monuments.   It is time for this unconstitutional practice to end.”

Obama’s Climate Plan Was a Failure on All Accounts

The Trump administration is dismantling President Barack Obama’s climate legacy piece by piece, and this week it’s taking an axe to arguably the biggest piece.

In an expected move, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt officially began the process of rolling back the incorrectly named Clean Power Plan.

If the Trump administration is intent on achieving 3 percent economic growth and rescinding costly regulations that carry negligible climate benefits—and if it is concerned about preserving our energy grid—the Clean Power Plan is a must-go.

Under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the Obama EPA formalized regulations to reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants.

Using a name that surely message-tested well, the Clean Power Plan had nothing to do with eradicating hazardous pollutants from power generation. The U.S. already has laws on the books to protect Americans’ health from emissions that have adverse environmental impacts.

Instead, the Clean Power Plan regulated carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas, because of its alleged contribution to climate change.

From Day One, Obama’s Clean Power Plan was fraught with problems—economically, environmentally, and legally.

For starters, families and businesses would have been hit with more expensive energy bills.

How so? The plan set specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions for each state based on the states’ electricity mix and offered “flexible” options for how states could meet the targets.

But no matter how states would have developed their plans, the economic damages would have been felt through higher energy costs, fewer job opportunities, and fewer energy choices for consumers.

The EPA’s idea of flexibility would not have softened the economic blow. It merely meant that Americans would have incurred higher costs through different mechanisms.

Environmentally, the climate impact of the Clean Power Plan would have been pointless. According to climatologist Paul Knappenberger:

Even if we implement the Clean Power Plan to perfection, the amount of climate change averted over the course of this century amounts to about 0.02 C. This is so small as to be scientifically undetectable and environmentally insignificant.

Legally, the Clean Power Plan was on shaky ground, to say the least. The regulation grossly exceeded the statutory authority of the EPA, violated the principles of cooperative federalism, and double-regulated existing power plants, which the Clean Air Act prohibits.

Take it from Laurence Tribe, Harvard University professor of constitutional law and a “liberal legal icon” who served in Obama’s Justice Department.

Tribe stated in testimony before Congress that the “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the states, Congress, and the federal courts—all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.”

It’s no surprise that more than half the states in the country petitioned the Supreme Court to pause implementation of the regulation, and judges obliged, issuing a stay in 2016.

Pruitt, who led the charge against a rogue EPA as attorney general in Oklahoma, will respect the limits of the EPA as head of the agency. The EPA will now go through the formal rule-making and public comment period in order to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

What comes after that remains to be seen. State attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts, as well as environmental activist groups, are lining up to sue. The EPA could offer a far less stringent replacement regulation, which some industry groups are pushing for to buttress against lawsuits.

If members of Congress are fed up that policy continues to be made through the executive branch with a phone and a pen, they should step to the plate and legislate.

In this case, the solution is clear. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress should pass legislation prohibiting the EPA and other agencies from implementing harmful regulations that stunt economic growth and produce futile climate benefits.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: 

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of former President Barack Obama is by Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom.

EPA’s Scott Pruitt to repeal ‘Clean Power Plan’

“The war against coal is over” was the message coming out of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit with coal miners yesterday in Hazard, Kentucky.

Today Pruitt signed a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” beginning the regulatory process to repeal President Obama’s Orwellian-named “Clean Power Plan.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt minced no words:

“The Obama administration pushed the bounds of their authority so far with the CPP that the Supreme Court issued a historic stay of the rule, preventing its devastating effects to be imposed on the American people while the rule is being challenged in court,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate.  Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”

We posted EPA’s full press release at CFACT.org.

Pruitt’s points are well taken.

President Obama’s EPA indulged in broad regulatory overreach when it promulgated the “CPP,” which goes far behind its mandate and authority under the “Clean Air Act.”  Bureaucrats usurping the role of Congress was a staple of the Obama era.  Administrator Pruitt is determined to restore the rule of law.

Moreover, the CPP fails not only as a matter of law, but even worse on substance.

The CPP flunks any rational cost-benefit analysis, imposing massive economic damage on the United States while doing nothing meaningful to alter temperature of the Earth, even if climate computer models were spot on — which they have never been!

EPA now estimates that if allowed to go forward the “Clean Power Plan” would cost $33 billion in 2030!

Good riddance to this ill-conceived energy draining, economy-wrecking plan.

Well done Administrator Pruitt.

RELATED ARTICLE: Rolling Back Obama EPA Rule Could Save $33 Billion

Final Farewell from Veritence, Inc.

Dear Friends,

Effective today, October 7, 2017,  I have decided to end my aggressive, demanding, ten year long effort to warn my fellow citizens to prepare for a coming cold climate and associated historic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

This decision is based on the extent of my disability from a stroke I had a little over a month ago and two medical emergencies from stroke related internal organ problems I have experienced in the past two weeks while still in the hospital.

Realistically, I must now devote 100% of my time to a lengthy recovery and end any potentially stressful work that may cause yet another stroke.

Please continue to rely on the many online videos that exist of my public presentations or interviews and my books, “Dark Winter,” and “Upheaval!” to provide you information on how to prepare for what I believe will be a challenging future.

It has been my great honor to have served you during the past decade. Further, I want to say that I have been humbled by the outpouring of support I have received from thousands of Americans who have come to my side over the years – extending their friendship and appreciation for my crusade for truth in climate science.

I wish you all the best as we enter the next predicted cold climate and associated historic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Good bye and Best Wishes,

John  Casey

The United States Has Entered a Period of Catastrophic Earthquakes!

That is the conclusion of a team of international scientists documented in their December 2016 book: “Upheaval! – Why Catastrophic Earthquakes Will Soon Strike the United States.

Read more about the book and reader comments at Amazon.com.

Veritence, Inc. is in the process of shutting down. Mail for Mr. Casey may be addressed as follows:

John L. Casey
c/o Veritence, Inc.
P.O.Box 608209
Orlando, FL 32860.

The Veritance.net web site and the email account, mail@veritence.net, will be closed by November 1, 2017.

Energy Day: A New Analogy

Earlier this week I gave the keynote speech at Energy Day, the most significant annual energy event in Peru.

The event was hosted by the firm Laub & Quijandría, led by Anthony Laub. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting Anthony’s team before my speech and discussing The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels; they conveyed an understanding that the book’s method is even more distinctive and important than the book’s conclusion.

During the speech I made an analogy I’ve never made before. I thought you might enjoy it.

“The fossil fuel industry is the only industry in history that has figured out how to produce cheap, plentiful, reliable energy for billions of people. Even if there are costs, I think we should be really grateful to the people who’ve done this. I think it’s offensive that we say things like, ‘I hate fossil fuels.’

“I was flying in yesterday on Avianca, and it made me think: what if there had been someone on the plane who had said to the pilot, ‘You know what? I think what you do is evil,’ and they were wearing an ‘I hate pilots’ shirt, and they just spent their whole life denouncing pilots. What would you say to them if you were the pilot? You’d probably say, ‘Get off the damn plane.’ What kind of person takes advantage of this amazing human being that’s allowing him to fly, and then says, ‘I hate you, and I want to destroy you’?

“How is it any different to do that to the pilot than to do it to the person who fuels the plane or the person who created the fuel?

“There’s only one industry that allows us to fly. It’s the fossil fuel industry. We tell the industry, ‘Hey, we want to do the most amazing thing ever. We want to fly, so we can get from point A to point B really fast.’ Only one industry has raised its hand and said, ‘Yeah, we figured out a way to do that.’ Then we say, ‘We hate you. You’re horrible. The earth would be better off without you.’”

Earlier this week I told you about the online version of my course, “How to Have Constructive Conversations About Energy,” part of my brand new Energy Champion program. One of the things I’m most excited about is the live version of this course.

This is a one-day live training program, taught by me, where I will take your team through:

  • The positive impacts of fossil fuel use
  • The negative impacts of fossil fuel use
  • Energy policy
  • Having constructive conversations about fossil fuel use

This course was developed in consultation with training specialists and focus-group tested to ensure that companies get the best possible results. It also features some of the best material we’ve ever created:

  • High-quality videos and other visuals
  • Exercises that will help participants own the material
  • In-depth handbooks, handouts, and other material to maximize employee retention
  • Lifetime access to the online version of our “How to Have Constructive Conversations About Energy” course

If you’re interested, reply to this email and put “Energy Champion Live” in the subject line.

ALSO: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help your organization turn non-supporters into supporters and turn supporters into champions.

1. Hire me to speak at your next event.

If you have an upcoming board meeting, employee town hall, or association meeting, I have some new and updated speeches about the moral case for fossil fuels, winning hearts and minds, and communications strategy in the new political climate. If you’d like to consider me for your event, just reply to this message and put “Event” in the subject line.

2. Fill out the free Constructive Conversation Scorecard to assess where you are and where you want to be in your one-on-one communications.

Email it back to me and I’ll send you my step-by-step Constructive Conversation System that will enable you to talk to anyone about energy.

3. Hold a Constructive Conversation workshop.

For the last two years I have been testing and refining an approach to one-on-one conversations that anybody can use. I call it the Constructive Conversation Formula. If you have between 5-20 people who interact frequently with stakeholders and want custom guidance on how to win hearts and minds, just reply to this email and put “Workshop” in the subject line.

PS: I got this feedback in response to a workshop I recently conducted: “It is very encouraging to receive useful tools to help us deal with all-too-common situations we find ourselves in that make us feel very uncomfortable and that we know are just not right…the Constructive Conversation Formula…is fantastic. Doing the role playing and providing examples was absolutely essential.”

Solar Lies

Wind and solar lobbyists like to claim that their industry is “sustainable.”

They couldn’t sustain them long without taxpayer subsidies and “feed-in tariffs” that guarantee them high prices for any electricity they produce whether power companies want it or not.

Now Elon Musk’s solar power company is in hot water with the feds.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “SolarCity, a Tesla subsidiary, agreed to pay about $30 million to settle alleged violations of the False Claims Act. The government alleged that SolarCity inflated its solar-installation costs in government reports to secure larger government payments than it was entitled to earn.”

We posted a report from Chris White at CFACT.org which explains that, “The Justice Department’s probe targeted a program enacted during the Obama administration seeking to subsidize panel installations to encourage solar panel adoption. Solar companies received federal grants equal to 30 percent of the full cost of a solar system.”

Wind and solar are in the subsidy business, not the electricity business.

Warren Buffet famously conceded, “on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

In 2015 Congress gave the solar industry a gift when it extended its 30% tax credit until 2019.  It tapers down to 10% by 2022.

Watch for an intense lobbying campaign to convince Congress to ramp them back up when the tax credits begin to wane in two years.

The climate carpetbaggers making fortunes off these subsidies wear all political stripes and enjoy cozy relationships with their elected representatives.

Wind and solar should compete in a free and fair market.

Will Congress roll over and let them loot the treasury again?

How the Debate on Climate Change Is Cooling Down

The models predicting certain environmental doom were wrong, and they’ve been wrong for a while.

Marian L. Tupy

by Marian L. Tupy

In a previous column, I noted that the typical audience reaction to my talks about the improving state of the world is not joy and thankfulness for the progress that humanity is making in tackling age-old problems such as infant mortality, malnutrition, and illiteracy. Rather, it is the concern about the exhaustion of natural resources and the supposedly irreparable harm that humanity is causing to the environment.

Apocalyptic warnings about the end of the world as we know it are as old as humanity itself, but recent news should give the doomsayers some food for thought and lower the temperature, so to speak, in the debate about global warming and its future effects on the planet.

The Models Were Wrong

In a new study that was published in the journal Nature Geoscience, leading climate scientists have adjusted their previous predictions about global warming and stated that the worst impacts of climate change are still avoidable. Professor Michael Grubb, an international energy and climate change scientist at University College London, said that previous scientific estimates were incorrect because they were based on computer models that were running “on the hot side.”

According to the new estimates, the world is more likely than previously thought to achieve the main goal of the 2015 Paris agreement and limit global warming to only 1.5°C higher than was the case in the pre-industrial era. Only two years ago, many scientists dismissed the 1.5°C goal as too optimistic and Professor Grubb went as far to say that “all the evidence from the past 15 years leads me to conclude that actually delivering 1.5°C” is unattainable.

While it is true that the average global temperature is 0.9°C higher than in the pre-industrial era, the scientists now admit that there was a slowdown in warming in the 15 years prior to 2014 – a slowdown that the models did not predict or account for. Professor Myles Allen, another one of the study’s authors, said “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

What has changed in the model forecasts since the Paris summit in 2015? The data showing that the climate models are running “on the hot side” has been available for years. In 2015, my colleagues Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger noted that climate models have been overestimating the rate of warming for decades. In 2016, John Christy from the University of Alabama in Huntsville testified before the US Congress that the climate models were inaccurate. For their trouble, all three have been labeled “climate change deniers.”

The Nature Geoscience study suggests that humanity has more time to transition away from fossil fuels. Should it? That’s debatable, argues William Nordhaus, a professor of economics at Yale University, and his coauthor Andrew Moffatt, in a recently released paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper combines econometric and climate models to estimate the future impact of global warming on worldwide income.

The Laws of Economics Still Apply

By studying 36 estimates of the costs of global warming, the pair predicts that 3°C warming will reduce global income by 2.04 percent and 6°C warming will reduce global income by 8.16 percent by 2100. Nordhaus and Moffatt’s estimates parallel the broad consensus. For example, the IPCC in their Fourth Report estimated that global “mean losses could be 1 to 5 percent of GDP for 4°C of warming”.

As Ronald Bailey of Reason magazine calculates, current global average income per capita is about $10,000. If the world grows at 3 percent per year over the next 80 years or so, global average income per capita will rise to $97,000. According to Nordhaus and Moffatt’s estimations, therefore, an increase in global temperature by 3°C would reduce global average income per capita by $2,000 to $95,000. A 6°C increase in global temperature would reduce global average income per capita by $8,000 to $89,000.

“We have a predicament,” Bailey concludes. “How much are we willing to spend in order to make those living in 2100, who will likely be at least nine times richer than us today, $2,000 better off?”

That is not a purely academic question. Thanks to the concerns over global warming, governments throughout the world have been busy imposing serious additional costs on economic development and reducing real living standards of ordinary people so as to facilitate the fastest possible transition away from fossil fuels. The above studies add to the complexity surrounding the subject of global warming and human response to it. They also strengthen the case of those who argue that any such transition should be driven by technological change, not government mandates.

Reprinted from CapX

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy is the editor of HumanProgress.org and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

Scientists concede climate models wrong

The scientific evidence is mounting against the global warming narrative and climate campaigners don’t like it.

In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a group of scientists concede that climate computer models have been projecting warmer temperatures than observations show for decades.

This is a crucial issue.  If the climate is not as sensitive to atmospheric CO2 as campaigners have claimed, their predictions of doom collapse.

We shared an article by James Delinpole on CFACT’s Facebook page.

“One researcher,” Delingpole writes, “from the alarmist side of the argument, not the skeptical one – has described the paper’s conclusion as ‘breathtaking’ in its implications. He’s right. The scientists who’ve written this paper aren’t climate skeptics. They’re longstanding warmists, implacable foes of climate skeptics, and they’re also actually the people responsible for producing the IPCC’s carbon budget.

In other words, this represents the most massive climbdown from the alarmist camp.”

At the same time this meltdown is taking place, the scientific and historical data shows that recent hurricane activity, while heart-wrenching to watch on our news, is operating well within historic norms.

CFACT senior policy advisor Paul Driessen published a piece at Fox News in which he explains:

“The Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are warm enough every summer to produce major hurricanes, says climatologist Roy Spencer. But you also need other conditions that have unknown origins and mechanisms: pre-existing cyclonic circulation off the African coast, upper atmospheric calm, and sea surface temperatures that change on a cyclical basis in various regions, to name just a few. The combination of all these factors – plus weather fronts and land masses along the way – determines whether a hurricane arises, how strong it gets, how long it lasts and what track it follows.”

Facts are powerful things.

On global warming they are finally being heard.

RELATED ARTICLE: Poll: Over 40 percent of Canadians think science is “a matter of opinion”

Wall Street Journal gets it wrong Trump still out of Paris Climate Agreement

The Wall Street Journal caused quite a kerfuffle over the weekend when it reported that “the Trump administration is considering staying in the Paris agreement.”

They got it wrong.

The WSJ based its reporting on statements by attendees at a climate conference in Montreal and by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said the President is “open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue.”

However, nothing had changed in the President’s position.

President Trump spotted the inherent flaws in the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement for himself and vowed to pull the U.S. out while he was still a candidate.

White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn corrected the record saying, “We are withdrawing, and we made that as clear as it can be. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.”  We posted details at CFACT.org.

While the UN and American climate establishment would like nothing better than for Trump to reverse course on Paris, this appears to have been wishful thinking on their part.  The conditions under which President Trump might reconsider his approach to international climate politics that Secretary Tillerson reiterated presents no small hurdle.

The President is absolutely correct that Paris is a bad deal for America.  It would limit U.S. emissions now, while allowing countries such as China and India to dramatically increase theirs.  At the same time the U.S. would be expected to pay out huge sums of money to UN programs while again China, India and the rest get a pass.  President Obama sent the UN $1 billion for its Green Climate Fund on his way out the door.

The Paris Agreement is and always was a bad deal for America.  If the President sticks to his guns there’s no way back in.

Trump Should End All Speculation on Paris Agreement by Withdrawing From UN Framework Convention

Over the weekend, to the shock of many observers and loyal members of President Donald Trump’s base, The Wall Street Journal reported that the administration was seeking to avoid withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn quickly sought to squelch these rumors, saying, “We are withdrawing, and we made that as clear as it can be. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly.”

Cohn’s assertion of U.S. withdrawal is encouraging, but if the Trump administration wants to end all internal and external speculation over Paris, it should withdraw from the entire United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Moreover, if the administration wants to achieve its goal of 3 percent economic growth and give the coal industry an opportunity to compete, withdrawal from Paris and the Framework Convention is critical.

When President Barack Obama joined the Paris accord in 2016, he avoided sending the agreement to the Senate for advice and consent as the Constitution requires for treaties. The agreement committed the U.S. to reducing greenhouse gas levels across the entire economy by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025, all without legislative consent.

Following through to meet these targets would require the Trump administration to enforce a number of costly Obama-era energy regulations. Trump has promised to end such regulations—indeed, they would make no noticeable impact on global temperatures.

While the Paris Agreement is nonbinding, remaining in the agreement would provide justification for a future administration to pile additional climate regulations on the energy industry—on top of those that the Obama administration promulgated. Thus, it is essential to withdraw.

Trump campaigned on “canceling” the global warming agreement and then followed through by announcing his intensions to withdraw from the Rose Garden in June. Foreign leaders immediately slammed the decision, calling the move “a major fault against humanity and against our planet.”

Yet these criticisms proved to be an act of hypocrisy. According to a recent article in Nature“All major industrialized countries are failing to meet the pledges they made to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.”

And that’s just the industrialized world. To achieve any meaningful reduction in warming by reducing greenhouse gases, developing countries would have to remain de-developed or meet their growing energy needs without coal, oil, or natural gas.

Conventional fuels will be essential to meeting future energy needs in the developing world, where more than 1.2 billion people (17 percent of the global population) do not have access to reliable electricity. Pretending otherwise is simply ignoring reality.

The German environmental and human rights group Urgewald projects that 1,600 new coal-fired generation plants are either under construction or planned, resulting in 840,000 megawatts of new capacity.

It estimates that these new plants represent a 43 percent global expansion of coal spread across 62 different countries, 14 of which previously have not had any coal power at all.

For countries that do not have access to reliable power, the imminent threat of energy poverty is much more pressing than reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Paris Agreement is not just poor economic and climate policy for the United States—it’s poor policy for the rest of the world, too.

To formally leave Paris, the U.S. must wait until November 2019 to submit a notice of withdrawal. The U.S. would then officially exit the agreement one year later.

Having such a large window of time leaves more opportunities for discussions of avoiding withdrawal, or potentially seeking a renegotiation of the accord. But renegotiating the agreement is a nonstarter, as there are no terms that could possibly assuage the economic concerns posed by the deal or achieve any meaningful climate benefit.

Rather than wait, there is a shorter, more effective solution than just withdrawing from Paris. Trump could end all speculation by officially withdrawing from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes the Paris Agreement.

Withdrawal from the Framework Convention would enter into force one year after the secretary-general of the United Nations receives notification.

Such a withdrawal would send a clear signal throughout the U.S. government, to the business community, and to every foreign leader that the current international approach to climate change is costly, ineffective, and unworkable.

COMMENTARY BYPortrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

Some Recent Energy & Environmental News

The newest edition of the Energy and Environmental Newsletter is now online.

Once again, there were so many worthwhile articles that it was quite challenging to pick out a few to be highlighted.

Some of the more interesting energy articles in this issue are:

Property and Wind Turbines: a Missing Point in the Discussion

Military Officials Explain Concerns with Wind Turbines (with good pictures)

NC & NYS Dealing with Military-Wind Energy conflicts

The Failure of RGGI

Scientific Critique of Wind Project Bird & Bat Study

Scientists who publicly question solar are silenced

Green Delusions and the Wind Bully

The Climate Alarmists’ Gross Perversion of the Word “Clean”

Peer Reviewed Study: Altered brain connectivity due to wind turbines

Some of the more informative Global Warming articles in this issue are:

Climate Models Over-Estimated Warming

Moving the Goalposts in the Climate Change Debate

Climate Science Comes Up Short

The totalitarianism of the environmentalists

“Science” journals stung again

Al Gore’s Climate Sequel Misses a Few Inconvenient Facts

Simplified Explanations of the Falsified Claims of Human Caused Global Warming

NYT guilty of large screw-up on climate-change story

Expose on Bill McKibben (a key energy and environmental player)

Lindzen: On the ‘Death of Skepticism’ Concerning Climate Hysteria

Not Sea Levels, Again!

PS: Our intention is to put some balance into what most people see from the mainstream media about energy and environmental issues… As always, please pass this on to open-minded citizens, and on your social media sites.

PPS: I am not an attorney, so no material appearing in any of the Newsletters (or our WiseEnergy.org website) should be construed as giving legal advice. My recommendation has always been: consult a competent attorney when you are involved with legal issues.

Gore’s new health warning: ‘Every organ system can be affected by climate change’

In Al Gore’s new book, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”, the former Vice President features a professor of pediatrics warning that global warming is impacting our health.

“Every organ system can be affected by climate change. When I say that, I get goosebumps,” says Pediatrician Susan Pacheco, a professor of pediatrics at University of Texas McGovern Medical School, in Gore’s new book. Gore’s book features Pacheco and her climate change health warnings and touts the fact that the professor was inspired to get involved in climate activist after seeing his original film. The book is a companion to Gore’s new film being released this month, a sequel to his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth.”  The book is being billed as “Your action handbook to learn the science, find your voice, and help solve the climate crisis.” Gore’s new book excerpts available here. Excerpts of Gore reading the book available here.

Image result for inconvenient sequel book

Gore wrote, “The obvious and overwhelming evidence of the damage we are causing is now increasingly impossible for reasonable people to ignore. It is widely know by now that there is a nearly unanimous view among all scientists authoring peer-reviewed articles related to the climate crisis that it threatens our future, that human activists are largely if not entirely responsible, and that action is needed to urgently prevent catastrophic harm it is already starting to bring.” (Climate Depot Note: Blaming extreme weather on “climate change” is not supported by evidence. & Climate Depot has repeatedly debunked Gore’s climate claimsGore admits Paris pact symbolic – Makes incorrect claims about Greenland, sea levels & extreme weather And here: Climate Depot’s New ‘Talking Points’ Report – A-Z Debunking of Climate Claims And Here  Skeptics Deliver Consensus Busting ‘State of the Climate Report’ to UN Summit)

Pacheco warns in Gore’s new book that climate change is already making us sick. “There’s heart disease, there’s lung disease, there’s kidney disease,” she says in Gore’s book. Gore writes that Pacheco “didn’t become concerned with climate science until 2006. Her eldest son was learning about climate change in school,, so she took the family to see An Inconvenient Truth.”

Gore wrote that “this trip to the theater proved to be a wake-up call. She had never paid much attention to climate science, but after seeing the move she found herself preoccupied by it. As time passed, she decided she needed to talk action, and applied to take part in the second-ever Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a training program I led in Nashville in 2006.”

“Pacheco became convinced she could see the effects in her own clinic’s waiting room, in the Texas children she saw suffering from asthma, heat sensitivity, and allergies. Children and the elderly, she discovered, tend to be the most vulnerable. And while many adults have lived for years in an environment less affected by climate change, today’s youth will grow up with an entire lifetime of exposure. The potential for damage and illness, she suspects, is much higher,” Gore wrote.

“Pacheco also founded the Texas Coalition for Climate Change Awareness. In 2013, the White House bestowed Pacheco with the illustrious “Champions of Change” award in recognition of her efforts,” Gore wrote.

Other activists have warned of similar climate impacts. UN IPCC Lead Author Dr. Michael Oppenheimer warned in 2014: “In fact, anybody who eats is under threat from climate change.” (Also see: Scientist to the Hollywood Stars: UN IPCC’s Michael Oppenheimer ‘was the holder of the ‘Barbra Streisand Chair of Environmental Studies’ at Environmental Defense Fund’)

Related Links: 

Watch: Skeptic Morano confronts Gore with ‘Climate Hustle’ DVD in Australia! Gore refuses to accept, departs in SUV

Watch: Morano in Australia on Sky News TV Rips Gore’s Claims

Note: Al Gore accused of using ‘weather-porn to fuel superstitious belief’ in Aussie speech)

UK Daily Mail cites Depot: Al Gore compares climate battle to great moral causes

Australian Herald Sun

Listen: Gore & UN tout ‘modern witchcraft’ – Morano on Aussie’s Alan Jones radio promotes Climate Hustle & Rips Gore

WND: AL GORE: GLOBAL WARMING FIGHT LIKE SLAVERY, CIVIL RIGHTS

Fox News features Climate Depot on Gore speech in Australia

Sky News: Watch: Morano in Australia on Sky News TV Rips Gore’s Claims: ‘As CO2 has risen, extreme weather has actually declined’

Canada Free Press

Drudge Report: www.DrudgeReport.com

Independent Journal Review  – Al  Gore Just Compared Climate Change Activism to the Fight Against Slavery

The Blaze: Al Gore just compared climate change to this ‘great moral cause’

The Daily Caller – Al Gore Likened The Climate Change Movement To Campaign Ending Slavery

Watch: Morano on TV in Australia on meeting Al Gore: Gore attempts to ‘intimidate, silence & ignore’ – Liz Wheeler’s ‘Tipping Point’ show – One America News Network – Monday July 17, 2017

Paris climate deal exit by Trump reversible, French president believes – Morano responds

Rush Limbaugh: ‘Algore’s Back — And More Insane Than Ever’ – Links To Climate Depot Report

Gore ‘insanity and hypocrisy down under’ – Al Gore is jetting around the land Down Under, promoting his new climate chaos film and claiming manmade pollution is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off daily! Australian heat waves are now five times more likely because of manmade global warming! Teachers and journalists get free passes to Gore’s events, to get their propaganda talking points, but no one is allowed to record any part of his talks. When Climate Depot’s Marc Morano offered him a free DVD of the Climate Hustle documentary film, a scowling Al Gore turned and headed to his SUV and private jet.

Al Gore accused of using ‘weather-porn to fuel superstitious belief’ in Aussie speech

Hurricane Harvey nature — Not man

How many solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars would we have needed in order to prevent the recent tragic flooding of Houston?

That question is absurd, but that is exactly the kind of daffy reasoning you’ll get when you ask climate campaigners to talk about a tragedy like Hurricane Harvey.

New York Times climate blogger Andrew Revkin joined meteorologists Eric Holthaus and Marshall Shepherd for a podcast blaming Harvey on global warming.  They called for rushing out so-called “attribution studies” linking Harvey to climate change … … which of course, in their minds, is largely your fault.

They want to strike while Harvey is fresh in our collective minds.  Not to worry, they say, all these “studies” will be “peer reviewed” (no doubt from their friends in the alarmist movement).  Oddly, they decried Houston’s dense urbanization.  Usually team warming calls for us all to crowd together as closely as possible to “decrease our carbon footprints.”  Has the wind shifted on that one?

Marc Morano is posting details about climate scientist Michael Mann’s, and the efforts of other alarmists, to blame Harvey on global warming over at Climate Depot.  Check in frequently for updates as they break.

That Harvey’s flooding was anthropogenic, rather than natural, is nonsense.

As Harvey made landfall, CFACT sent out a reminder of the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 that leveled the city; killing six to twelve thousand Texans.  Parts of America lie in areas where tropical revolving storms are likely.  The entire eastern seaboard is to some degree perpetually vulnerable.

Recently America went 4,324 days without a major hurricane, a natural occurrence that confounded the global warming narrative.  The warming crowd was talking about never-ending Texas drought.  Look how quickly they’ve switched to a future of extreme rain!  They’re counting on us to have short memories.

Former NASA climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer, who manages temperature satellites at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, posted a graph plotting major Texas hurricane strikes (in red) with Gulf of Mexico water temperatures.  The graph (below) shows no correlation between hurricanes and the naturally fluctuating temperature of the Gulf.

Dr. Spencer also recently wrote a new book, An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy, which is a direct takedown of the many deceptions and outright lies in Al Gore’s recent Inconvenient Sequel.  We recommend you get a copy for yourself at Amazon.  Dr. Spencer’s book has become a best-seller and is out-selling the book Gore had published to accompany his film.

The massive flooding in Houston may become the most expensive natural disaster in American history.  There is a simple reason for this.  The property under water in Houston has become extremely valuable.  Houston developing into a valuable gem of a city is an example of something truly man-made.  So is the massive relief and recovery effort now underway.  Neither would be possible without the power of the free market the warming folks seek to destroy.

Houston is suffering.  Texans needs all of our prayers and assistance.

Thank you to everyone in Texas ferrying people to safety in their own small boats, opening their homes, businesses and churches to those needing shelter, and doing all they can to help.  You are, unlike the climate hustlers seeking to exploit this hurricane for shallow political purposes, an inspiration to us all.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Texas Major Hurricane Intensity Not Related to Gulf Water Temperatures

As Houston Reels From Harvey, Here’s Where Relief Funding Stands