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E.P.A. Chief Signals Death of Clean Power Plan, Paris Climate Agreement

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An Obama-era regulation seeking to reduce carbon pollution and slow global temperature increases is next on the chopping block for the Trump administration.

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt told ABC News over the weekend that the President will sign an executive order Tuesday to dismantle the Clean Power Plan.

The order will “address the past administration’s effort to kill jobs across this country through the Clean Power Plan,” Pruitt said. He added that the move is “about making sure that we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to how we do regulation in this country.”

As the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt sought to kill the Clean Power Plan. He joined several states in a lawsuit against the regulation, arguing that the EPA exceeded its authority and the rules were unconstitutional.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case last September. The US Supreme Court temporarily blocked the Clean Power Plan from taking effect until the lower court issued its ruling.

The regulation is aimed at reducing US carbon emissions by roughly one-third over the next decade by requiring fossil fuel energy plants to cut their emissions.

Its repeal, however, would have ramification well beyond national borders. The Clean Power Plan also serves as the blueprint by which the US plans to fulfill its obligations under the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.

The treaty compels nations to submit individual plans to reduce carbon emissions. It was ratified by 140 nations, including three of the four largest polluting nations: the US, China, and India.

Invoking the terminology of his boss, Pruitt called the climate accord a “bad deal” on Sunday.

“We’ve penalized ourselves through lost jobs while China and India didn’t take steps to address the issue internationally,” he alleged, despite both foreign nations also agreeing to reduce emissions under the agreement.

Pruitt went on to describe Trump’s forthcoming executive order as a “long term” strategy to boost the fossil fuel industry, and bring back coal jobs.

In the first two months of his administration, President Trump has positioned himself as an ally to polluters. He’s worked with the Republican congress to repeal transparency and environmental regulations on coal and oil mining companies. Trump also reversed prior Obama administration policy, and approved two controversial pipeline projects: Dakota Access and Keystone XL.

The President, along with nearly the entire GOP delegation in congress, has repeatedly cast doubt on the scientific consensus that human behavior, specifically carbon emissions, are contributing to the rapidly warming planet.

In 2012 he alleged on Twitter: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Since then, global temperatures have set a record new high in each succeeding year from 2014 through last year.

Faced with the mounting evidence of global warming, fewer and fewer Americans are subscribing to Trump-endorsed denialism.

A Gallup poll released on Monday shows that a record number of Americans described themselves as “Concerned Believers” in global warming.

Half of American identified with that sentiment for the first time—up from 37 percent in 2015.

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Sam Sacks worked on the Hill as a Congressional staffer, and as a writer and reporter since 2008. He’s been published in Hustler Magazine, which you may have seen but don’t want to admit.

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