Trump Administration

Columbia University Hires Trump Official and Fossil Fuel Defender as Climate Policy Expert

George David Banks

Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) is a hugely influential policy group filled with heavy hitters from politics and the oil industry. While the center's home page describes it as “an independent, interdisciplinary, and nonpartisan platform,” its track record shows that CGEP consistently supports the same policies favored by the fossil fuel industry. 

And one of its latest moves — hiring former Trump energy advisor and fossil fuel defender George “David” Banks as an expert on “international climate policy” — shows that trend will continue.

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Scott Pruitt's Approach to Pollution Control Will Make the Air Dirtier and Americans Less Healthy

Pruitt
By Robert Percival, University of Maryland

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethical lapses and extravagant spending habits have distracted the public from what he is doing to roll back important environmental protections.

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On Rollbacks, Automakers Tell Trump 'Not So Fast,' Kochs Say 'Burn More Gas'

Trump and Pence meet with automaker industry leaders

It’s a classic case of be careful what you wish for. Automakers asked the Trump administration to weaken emissions and efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, and are now anxious about just how much the Trump administration actually plans to weaken the standards.

On Friday, May 12, heads of car companies visited the White House, to make the awkward request that Trump not actually give them what they asked for.

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At UN Talks, Rich World Faces Questions on Who Will Replace US Climate Cash

US Climate Action Center at COP23 UN Climate Talks in Bonn 2017

By Climate Home News

The rich world has a question to answer, according the chair of a powerful bloc of developing countries: what are they going to do about the cash promises reneged on by Donald Trump’s U.S.?

The withdrawal of U.S. climate finance by the Trump administration has left other developed countries with a dilemma. The commitment they made — to move $100 billion every year to poor countries to help them cope with climate change — was collective.

The U.S. is withholding $2 billion pledged to the UN’s Green Climate Fund and across the wider climate finance sphere, its retreat leaves a bigger hole.

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How Trump’s EPA Is Moving to Undo Fracking Wastewater Protections

Scott Pruitt

Back in 2008, residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas received a notice in the mail advising them to drink bottled water instead of tap water — a move that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) internal memos at the time described as “one of the largest failures in U.S. history to supply clean drinking water to the public.”

The culprit: wastewater from oil and gas drilling and coal mines. This included fracking wastewater that state officials had allowed to be dumped at local sewer plants — facilities incapable of removing the complex mix of chemicals, corrosive salts, and radioactive materials from that kind of industrial waste before they piped the “treated” water back into Pennsylvania's rivers.

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17 States Sue EPA Over Pruitt's Decision to Weaken Auto Standards

EPA union employees and supporters hold signs protesting Pruitt

It didn’t take long for the first legal challenges be filed against the Trump administration’s recent move to weaken automobile emissions standards. On April 3, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew the Obama-era decision to retain the greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks for model years 2022-2025. On Tuesday, 17 states and the District of Columbia sued the agency, challenging Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision.

The lawsuit is short and direct — only 122 words, including the names of the 17 states — petitioning the District of Columbia Circuit Court to review EPA’s decision under the Clean Air Act.

Pruitt’s decision was immediately applauded by the oil industry and car companies through the powerful Auto Alliance trade group. It was simultaneously bashed by environmental and consumers’ rights groups who criticized the agency for replacing a comprehensive review by the Obama EPA with a shallow analysis that borrowed the auto industry’s talking points.

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All Paris Agreement Signatories Now Have at Least One Climate Change Policy

Eiffel Tower lit up green for the Paris Climate Agreement taking effect

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

A new report highlights the significance of the Paris climate agreement in pushing global climate action.

All of the 197 signatories of the landmark accord now have at least one national law or policy on climate change, an analysis published Monday by the London School of Economics (LSE) found.

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Travis Fisher

Travis Fisher

Credentials

  • Master's, Economics, North Carolina State University (2006). [1]
  • BS, Economics, North Carolina State University (2005). [1]

Background

Market Forces Are Driving a Clean Energy Revolution in the US

Offshore wind turbines at Block Island

By Colorado State University

Transforming U.S. energy systems away from coal and toward clean renewable energy was once a vision touted mainly by environmentalists. Now it is shared by market purists.

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With Oil by Rail Poised for Comeback, Will Lack of Safety Regulations Mean 'Bomb Trains' Return too?

Gogama oil derailment and fire

Investors love a good comeback story and right now oil by rail seems to be a story they're pushing to justify investment in rail companies, especially Canadian ones.

But with little change in safety practices or regulations since the 2014 oil-by-rail boom, is the industry setting itself up to once again earn the nickname that rail workers gave oil trains — that is, will “bomb trains” make a comeback?

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