Pragmatic energy policy recommendations for the Trump administration

by David Gattie

The need for pragmatism, stability and resilience in energy policy for the U.S. power sector.

This article was originally posted at Plugged In, David Gattie’s blog on Energy, Environment and Policy.

This is a summary of a paper that will be published in the January-February 2017 issue of The Electricity Journal.


The 2016 U.S. presidential election has generated concern within the environmental community, particularly with respect to climate change, as President-elect Trump has conveyed his intent to address what he considers regulatory overreach in the U.S. energy sector and unleash an energy revolution in America. This includes expanding U.S. oil and natural gas development, reviving the coal industry, rolling back EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. All combined, this would extract from current U.S. energy policy the core of President Obama’s climate agenda and effectively put the Obama climate legacy into hibernation—a legacy that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would have likely kept intact and expanded upon. How this projects forward remains in question. What is clear is this: the election of Donald Trump has triggered what will be an ideological shift in energy policy. While this may bode well for upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors in the near-term the impact on the power sector is not as certain.

Past U.S. energy policies that impacted the power generation sector were motivated by various circumstances, some domestic and some external. The Rural Electrification Act (1936) was implemented to facilitate the provision of electricity to rural areas of the U.S. The Power Plant and Industrial Fuel Use Act (1978), which prohibited the construction of new oil and natural gas baseload power plants in favor of coal plants, was a national security measure taken in response to the 1973 oil crisis but was later repealed. The Public Utilities and Regulatory Policies Act (1978), also in response to the 1973 oil crisis, was intended to promote energy efficiency and the development of domestic energy resources.

The Clean Air Act Amendments (1990) were implemented to address acid rain, urban air pollution and toxic air emissions and resulted in significant technological changes and retrofits for power plants. The Energy Policy Acts of 1992 and 2005 created frameworks for wholesale power generation and the consideration of net metering by states (1992; 2005). The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was, as its title indicates, focused on shifting the U.S. toward less dependence on foreign energy supplies.

The Clean Power Plan, which establishes CO2 emission performance rates for power plants as a measure to ameliorate global climate change, has proven to be one of the most contentious energy-related policies as there is currently no economically viable environmental control technology available to manage CO2.  Most recently, the U.S. Senate passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act (2015), which was developed to promote conservation, improve accountability, increase America’s energy supply, improve energy infrastructure, and enhance energy efficiency in an overall effort focused on energy security.

These few examples convey the inherent dovetailing of energy and environmental policy with national security, and, in some cases, show how energy policy is oftentimes a proxy for environmental policy. They also exemplify how U.S. energy policy has evolved from a focus on U.S. domestic welfare to one that is now global in scope. While past policies faced their own political and social resistance when originally proposed, most policymakers today retrospectively support the ideologies of past policies implemented to provide electricity for all U.S. citizens, decrease dependency on foreign energy resources, and protect human health and welfare and the environment.

However, energy policy designed to regulate U.S. carbon emissions for the sake of global climate welfare has generated conflict involving U.S. national interests, politics, science, the power sector and America’s leadership role in the world. While a Trump administration will focus on implementing its own ambitious energy policies, while likely diminishing President Obama’s energy and climate agenda, the realities of political and global ideologies and the inevitability of political transitions should be accounted for in order to avoid an unsustainable shift in energy policy that is short-lived and introduces more uncertainty for the U.S. power sector.

The objective of this paper is to offer policy recommendations that can help achieve President-elect Trump’s goal of unleashing an energy revolution in America, reduce U.S. and global carbon emissions in the long-term and incorporate stability and resiliency into U.S. energy policy as it pertains to the power sector. The recommendations focus on: 1) Policy correction as opposed to policy reversal, 2) Development of a middle ground of energy-environmental centrists who can sustain and advance pragmatic energy policy through political transitions, and 3) Engagement in international climate talks as necessary actions of diplomacy and leadership, independent of the administration’s position on climate change.


As President-elect Trump and his administration look to relieve the U.S. power sector from what he considers regulatory overreach and unleash America’s energy potential, it is recommended that he do so with a view towards developing a comprehensive energy policy resilient enough to withstand subsequent political transitions and to provide the power sector with a stable, more predictable investment climate. That is, complement upstream energy resource development with downstream technologies such as carbon capture and storage and nuclear power, which can serve as a long-term hedge for the power sector and limit its exposure to inevitable political changes. This will provide those in the pragmatic energy-environmental center with a strong base on which to argue for, and sustain, a policy correction—particularly if equipped with a renewed focus on nuclear power.

Also, a unilateral exit by the U.S. from international climate talks is a risky prospect with unpredictable outcomes and few, if any, upsides. Not only does it create a potential marginalization of U.S. industry as a partner in global energy infrastructure development, it isolates the U.S. from critical energy negotiations. Moreover, it creates a vacuum in global leadership with unknown geopolitical consequences and national security concerns. As such, the U.S. should remain diplomatically engaged in international climate talks independent of the administration’s position on climate change.

In summary, the following policy recommendations are offered:

1.Focus on policy correction rather than reversal in order to incorporate resilience into a comprehensive energy policy that can stand up under political shifts and provide stability for the U.S. power sector
2.   Build a strong coalition of pragmatic energy-environmental centrists who will champion and sustain a comprehensive policy correction through subsequent administration transitions
3.  Complement any expansion of coal and natural gas development with research and development of environmental technologies to help sustain these upstream resource expansions through future administrations that may shift the focus of energy policy back to carbon emissions
4.  Promote nuclear power as the climate-neutral and politically-bipartisan energy resource that it is, incentivize the U.S. nuclear industry to expand America’s nuclear capacity, and stimulate U.S. research and development in advanced nuclear reactor designs for implementation at home and abroad
5.  Remain engaged in international climate talks as a matter of leadership, diplomacy, humanitarian efforts to alleviate poverty, and in the interest of cultivating global investment opportunities for U.S. industry, independent of the administration’s position on climate change (see figures and highlights below).

Relevant Figures Highlighting the Need to Adjust the Focus of U.S. Energy Policy

Figure 1. Comparison of CO2 emissions for the U.S., China, India and the world.

Figure 2. Comparison of coal consumption for the U.S., China, India and the world.

Figure 3. Comparison of power generation capacity (total and fossil fuel) for the U.S., China and India

Table 1. Profile of power generation in the U.S., China and India. (Data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016 and the U.S. Energy Information Administration)

These trends highlight the need to focus on those regions of the world where economic growth is occurring (China), where economic growth is about to occur (India and other developing economies), and where CO2 emissions are increasing (all developing economies). These are regions where advanced energy systems such as nuclear, high efficiency combined-cycle natural gas plants, CCS, and renewable energy can be implemented to meet complex and emerging economic and environmental needs and where carbon reduction can have the greatest climate impact (Gattie 2016b). As such, this is an opportunity for a Trump administration to redirect U.S. energy policy and global carbon reduction efforts toward emerging economies, so that U.S. strengths can be leveraged more effectively as part of a comprehensive and globally strategic energy policy. This would also provide the opportunity to renegotiate U.S. carbon reduction targets rather than walk away from them. The intent should not be to simply preclude the U.S. from reducing its own carbon emissions—something the U.S. is already doing through its power sector. Rather, the intent should be to leverage U.S. strengths of technology, innovation, industrial capacity, research and development where they can be most effective—to regions of the world where economic growth is occurring, fossil fuel consumption and emissions are increasing and poverty is prevalent.

U.S. Industry and Humanitarian Relief

Global poverty issues are energy poverty issues. Therefore, international climate talks, which are inherently energy talks, are by proxy humanitarian relief opportunities to engage the global community in energy-based efforts to alleviate poverty. Current estimates indicate that 1.2 billion people (~18% of global population) live without access to electricity and more than 2.7 billion depend on wood or some other form of biomass, including animal dung, for heating and cooking (IEA, 2016). While energy poverty is bad enough for entire communities, its impacts are particularly acute on the day-to-day lives and health of women and young girls . It’s estimated that in India alone 92% of rural domestic energy needs are met by women gathering firewood, crop waste and cattle dung.

Developing countries, particularly those encumbered with energy poverty, may view these talks as opportunities to build relationships with industrialized countries sympathetic to their energy and economic challenges and willing to work with them in meeting those challenges. These countries have energy system, industrial and infrastructural needs that are fundamental to their economic development goals and they’re looking to build international partnerships with countries willing to invest in them and provide the industrial heft to help.

Withdrawing from international talks risks alienating U.S. industry as some countries may seek partnerships with countries that demonstrate an abiding interest in global economic development and have remained engaged in the climate discussion. In addition, climate talks also represent an opportunity to strengthen the case for U.S. corporate tax reform. U.S. industry is up to the challenge of engaging with developing regions on developing energy infrastructure, but it needs a sensible investment climate in countries where the financial risk is high. To this end, high level diplomatic climate talks can be leveraged as opportunities to negotiate friendlier business environments for U.S. industry in developing regions and as an argument for much-needed corporate tax reform in the U.S. to stimulate investment in regions where advanced technologies are critical but the investment climate is perilous.

Diplomacy and Leadership

International climate talks are energy talks, and energy talks are national security talks. As such, climate talks are discussions about world order and the projection of worldviews. Therefore, these are opportunities for the U.S. to provide global leadership and remain diplomatically engaged in an issue of common interest to 196 other countries—a hallmark of U.S. diplomacy since World War I. It isn’t incumbent on the Trump administration to agree on the extent to which climate is changing or even on the cause of climate change. But, it can agree that international climate talks are opportunities to negotiate, to project America’s ideals, and to remain strategically engaged with world leaders on what is arguably one of the most critical issues of our time—energy. Therefore, what is perhaps most concerning is that a U.S. withdrawal from international climate talks will create a global leadership vacuum. And this vacuum will be filled by countries such as Germany, China, India, Canada, Russia or other countries looking to expand their own sphere of political, economic and diplomatic influence. If the U.S. steps away from these talks, it may very well abdicate a leadership role it can never regain.

References – see the original post at David Gattie’s blog.

Moderation:  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and relevant.

148 responses to “Pragmatic energy policy recommendations for the Trump administration

  1. Pingback: Pragmatic energy policy recommendations for the Trump administration – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Excellent post, Thank you.

    However, while I recognise the current ideological and political objectives to limit GHG emissions form energy use, there does not seem to be a rational economic justification for GHG abatement. There does not seem to be valid justification to support the belief the GHG emissions are net harmful. Postulated rising temperature is not a measure of benefit or harm. Only the impacts (all impacts included and presented in economic equivalents) are relevant. The damage function is needed to convert postulated temperature change to estimated impacts (which may be net beneficial or net damaging). But the damage functions have very low confidence. In other words there is virtually no valid basis for the scaremongering about GHG emissions. It’s based on belief, not valid evidence. See here:

    • How about we “deep-six” the whole dopey climate- change con and concentrate on reasonably clean and reasonably priced energy for all. No subsidies and use the right technology in the right place.

      • Yep!

      • i think this is golden opportunity to make lemonade out of the agw lemon by focusing the world on energy security PERIOD. We’re eventually going to run out of “fossil fuels” anyway. The world is going to need alternative energy and increased efficiency in it’s use of energy (that said, i still want my light bulbs back…) If we attach energy security to agw and agw doesn’t pan out, then the quest for a sustainable energy future will likely be abandoned. (let’s not play dice with our future)…

        Peter Lang, as is usual, another worthy comment. (yer always a good read… ☺)

      • (meant your 3:28 am comment; i personally prefer “yup” over “yep”, so i weren’t too crazy ’bout yer 3:29 am one)…

    • On a second read of this, I’d step back from my first comment: “Excellent Post”.

      Also, a unilateral exit by the U.S. from international climate talks is a risky prospect with unpredictable outcomes and few, if any, upsides. Not only does it create a potential marginalization of U.S. industry as a partner in global energy infrastructure development, it isolates the U.S. from critical energy negotiations.

      This is only for those who believe climate alarmists’ and environmentalists’ claims about the dangers of GHG emissions. This is ideological stuff, not based on rational economic analysis. There is a lack of evidence to support their alarmist claims. Rational economic analysis does not justify GHG mitigation policies.

      The USA and the world will be much better off if it steps back from the policies that have been driven by ideological beliefs. Obama’s policies of encouraging the World Bank and other international aid agencies to not fund coal power stations in poor countries are doing great harm – slowing development and slowing world growth. Trump’s administration can lead USA, EU, UK and other high income countries to recognise how bad the climate and renewable energy policies have been.

      I wish Trump all the best with energy polices and hope he can lead the world to a better future by improving economic growth globally. Rational energy policies in the USA and other high income countries can be a catalyst to drive a better future.

      • We unilaterally exited the Kyoto Protocol to good effect.

      • With you all the way Peter for your sound analysis and logic.
        GeoffW Sydney

      • Peter Lang, David Gattie, Charles the Moderator, and others: Also, a unilateral exit by the U.S. from international climate talks is a risky prospect with unpredictable outcomes and few, if any, upsides.

        A better strategy is to stay “seemingly engaged”, paying lots of lip service, and so on, while not doing much of anything about CO2– the “Clinton-Obama strategy”. It’s kind of like wearing good clothes if you are a salesman or Doctor; or saying nice thing to the old outdated faculty if you are new in the tenure track. I think it helps when trade delegations, banks, trade negotiators and such folk arrange actual deals.

        Americans can say for a while into the future: “We are reducing our CO2 emissions faster than any other country, using our own “national means” (some language like that is in the Paris Accord), so a vast program copying Spain, Germany, China or India is not justified or required. And if China does in fact increase coal consumption 20%, who exactly is to complain if some of it is sold to them by the US under Trump?

      • Matthewrmarler,

        Thank you. Sorry for the delay in replying, I’ve been fully occupied on personal matters for a few days.

        a unilateral exit by the U.S. from international climate talks is a risky prospect with unpredictable outcomes and few, if any, upsides.

        I agree.

        A better strategy is to stay “seemingly engaged”, paying lots of lip service, and so on, while not doing much of anything about CO2– the “Clinton-Obama strategy”.

        I agree with “staying seemingly engaged”, if that is possible, while at the same time pulling out of the Paris Agreement, cutting back funding for UN programs that are ideologically driven, and substantially changing the terms of reference of the EPA to one not focused on pursuing green-ideology driven objectives. Are those compatible. If not, I think the changes have to be made by a strong US President and need to be legislated near the beginning of his term – otherwise they probably wont get done.

  3. All combined, this would extract from current U.S. energy policy the core of President Obama’s climate agenda and effectively put the Obama climate legacy into hibernation—a legacy that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would have likely kept intact and expanded upon. How this projects forward remains in question.

    According to NASA an iceberg the size of Delaware may calve off Antarctica’s Larson C ice shelf. In the past, the AGW establishment found it more poignant to give such bergs a name so as to make it seem as if a member of the family has drowned when it falls into the sea (caused of course by… global warming). Accordingly, I am suggesting a name: Iceberg Hillary.

  4. I morn for those who wish to see US climate policy entangled with energy policy. I support the complete withdrawal of US from IPCC and its UN connectivity. Rather, withdrawing provides an opportunity to form groups whose interests align with regards to types of energy needed/used within that group. An oil group would be assembled under an umbrella of mutual interests and investments. Natural gas would have its own group. Likewise coal; nuclear power, etc. Countries or regions that have more than one resource would belong to the appropriate groups. Taxes, pollution mitigation, innovation would fall within the domain of the resource group. The over riding interests guiding each group would be to research their energy source and promote its use; ie, using their particular energy source where it is located makes the most sense; ie available pipelines, deep water ports, rail service. Of course there are commodity nations like Canada and Australia as well as middle Eastern sources that would be members of various groups.

    It seems to me that the Tennessee Valley Authority had the right idea. Build a coal fired power plant adjacent to a coal mine. Build combined natural gas co-generation where electricity and steam can be used simultaneously, usually in urban areas. Build nuclear power were there is an abundant source of cooling water. There are all sorts of examples of which energy source and its location might sustain electric power production.

    In the developing world, theft, family ties, tribal allegiances, tithing conspire to prohibit large scale energy projects as the patronage: inserting into leadership and technical skill roles of sons, daughters, cousins, aunts and uncles is too tempting and the incompetence of most of these relatives and obligate parasites leads to no re-investment in the maintenance for these large scale projects an example of which is the hydro electric project near Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of Congo. Smaller scale, likely natural gas power plants with small regional and population scales are likely to be successful under local control vs far away sticky fingered controlling interest hands located in a remote capital. Natural gas pipelines to smaller regions are far easier to lay and maintain than roads necessary to transport other energy resources. Dig a trench, lay the plastic pipe, cover it up. Burrow under a river, pump stations draw their energy from the pipeline itself. Security would remain the main challenge.

    These are but a few of my ravings, to be regarded as such, yet, consider the possibilities if the US is not tied to climate change, rather, energy exchange.

    • Where would one get natural gas to ship to inland Congo? And what happens when the gas source runs out?

      • fernandoleanme

        Natural gas source? Start with good old’ USA

        Natural gas remains viable at least to 2060’s, then nuclear power of the small scale variety. Plenty of water around if needed for cooling.

      • So let me get this straight: you believe the USA has the gas resources to ship natural has via LNG to Congo, where gas pipelines will be built at least 1000 miles inland?

        I don’t think so. I guess there’s a need to educate the general public on both the cost of natural gas transport as well as the potential resources. You are very disconnected from reality.

        The practical solution for the USA gas industry is to focus on Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe (with emphasis on LNG and NGL transport to the uk). The natural gas is simply too strategic to be wasted in exports to Africa (which don’t make any economic sense anyway).

        To me it’s evident the natural gas combined cycle turbines are excellent as a complemented pair with wind turbines (as is done in Texas), and this provides very good synergy. I sure hope Tillerson gives trump this known insights and the USA can build a rational energy policy coupled to a successful winning foreign policy.

  5. The only way any climate change strategies will be relevant is if you can get them onto “The Apprentice” so the president elect can make additional money as the executive producer. We need a whole new approach. Equations, graphs, and tables just don’t make it now and won’t for the next four years.

  6. I voted for the candidate that did not say that the Syrian civil war was caused by climate change.
    My health insurance cost just increased 62%.
    The city I live in is so incompetently administered that a neighbor just got a $35,000 water bill.
    I want a President that does not think about climate change even for a minute.
    I’m fascinated by this issue and do my best to learn and understand the details, but I’m beginning to think it’s a bit like gawking at car accident … watching a society loose it’s collective mind.

  7. Curious George

    “If the U.S. steps away from these talks, it may very well abdicate a leadership role it can never regain.” Why should we provide a leadership to a mad race over a precipice?

  8. Willis Eschenbach

    I got as far as “carbon capture and storange” and I was laughing too hard to go further …


  9. This paper is not any different than those published by proponents of the unsettled climate science. No scientific basis for the recommendations; it is another kind of hand waving. This is expected for the climate issue is left for the public to settle, and climate scientists have been left in the background for their shortcoming.

  10. And on a more serious note, one can demonstrate leadership by upending the table as well as sitting at it.

    Also, a unilateral exit by the U.S. from international climate talks is a risky prospect with unpredictable outcomes and few, if any, upsides.

    Bul!….2hit….here are a few upsides off the top of my head.

    1. Saving a lot of money.
    2. Saving even more money.
    3. Saving a 2hitload of even more money.
    4. Help to move the rest of the world away from the cliff.
    5. Drive lefty globalists bat2hit insane. C’mon guys this one is worth gold. I haven’t had this much fun in years.
    6. Helping to restore freedom, free thought, and democracy throughout the world.
    7. Giving a civics lesson to the left who have grown quite ignorant about how the US Constitutional Republic functions.
    8. Potentially creating a stronger bond with the UK
    9. Potentially getting more anti-globalists elected around the world.
    10. Moving more international resources into defeating radical Islam.
    11. Helping to correct textbooks.
    12. Making Leonard de Caprio and/or Al Gore cry.
    13. Making US business more competitive.

    I’m sure people here can think of other upsides.

    I can’t think of any downsides except maybe it will get harder to get laid because I am surrounded by nothing but liberals.

  11. I’m going to be a chatty Kathy tonight. Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah

    The essay has some valid points about stability, both in energy and in political direction, but it is a tad verbose at delivering its message.

    I spent some time editing it down in order to avoid the dreaded tldr, which some of you may have originally applied. Here is the Cliff Notes/Readers’ Digest version of the opening post, abridged for clarity:

    Promote nuclear power

    And what is it with the words “upstream” and “downstream”? He’s not using any English usage I’ve ever encountered, I am willing to be educated/embarrassed on this one. Maybe present and future? mature, theoretical? Series Parallel?

    • We use upstream to designate the activities/industries which come ahead of our point in a supply chain, downstream refers to the activities/industries which take our products.

      In the gas business, upstream is the gas field, midstream is usually the pipeline and the gas plants taking out the gas liquids. Downstream is the gas distributor. This can be applied to other industries, for example ketchup. The tomato farmer is upstream, truckers and the ketchup plant is midstream, and the burger joint is downstream.

      • i live in the french quarter on the mighty mississipp. The burger joints are all upstream… (☺)

  12. As a Brit i have no recourse to advise on American politics and no intention to do so, but…….
    As an allied country that looks to be moving away from a left of centre regime, the EU, I would certainly encourage the US establishment not to become isolationist but remain in all current international bodies with a view to forging a new way forward for the world.
    The many international bodies that both countries are members of suffer from a socialist leaning that has hindered true human progress rather than encouraged it. This has to change.
    The idea of globalisation is enough to send shivers down many a backbone purely because of the historical means by which it has been attempted. There needs to be an international understanding that the next technological revolution is imminent and needs to be prepared for.
    Moving away from coal and oil is inevitable in a transition to a more connected world that will be ever more dependent upon electricity as a fuel source. That should be a gradual transition though, as and when the technology permits rather than a step change due to a poorly contrived hypothesis backed by political will.
    The future will always bring about mans dreams because this is what we strive for. Our previous generations sci-fi was for robots, electric cars and family flying vehicles. In order to reach utopia we have to amass all of our resources together.
    Yes there are still starving children in the world, yes there is still war and pestilence but coal and oil have done more to free us from these evils than any charitable organisation has ever done. So people and companies have profited along the way, this is the way we are encouraged to progress and this is right. Bad people and bad companies exist, but so do good people and good companies and they are the ones that tend to thrive, it’s the natural order.
    So what about how and where we live, our environment. When the technology advances and billions of people no longer work because of robots, nano technology and AI then we have to have a good sustainable living environment provided for all. This will be the big challenge to face and this is where the international bodies should be focused. They should no longer be looking at control of civilisation but the ability to respond and predict its needs.

    We need forward thinking societies to move mankind in the right direction which is why America needs to be involved, please.

    • Yes. I agree 100%.

      I’ll pull back from some of the points I made in my comments at the top of the thread.

    • “Moving away from coal and oil is inevitable in a transition to a more connected world that will be ever more dependent upon electricity as a fuel source.” Er, where does this electricity come from.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Lord Beaverbrook | December 9, 2016 at 4:16 am |

      As a Brit i have no recourse to advise on American politics and no intention to do so, but…….
      As an allied country that looks to be moving away from a left of centre regime, the EU, I would certainly encourage the US establishment not to become isolationist but remain in all current international bodies with a view to forging a new way forward for the world.

      So your best advice is for us to keep pouring money down ratholes like the UN Human Rights Commission that just held a minute of silence for that noted defender of human rights, Fidel Castro? Explain how that will help.

      And you want us to keep giving megabucks of taxpayer dollars to poor misunderstood world dictators because of our involvement with the international bodies promoting the UN Climate Money Pit? Point me to one dime of that money that has actually done any good.

      Why, oh why, should we prop up corrupt regimes with climate money from our taxpayers. Why should we continue to pay for the more corrupt parts of the UN like the ridiculously named “Human Rights Commission”?

      Seriously, Lord B, can you point to one accomplishment of the UN Human Rights Commission, other than to get their panties in a twist every time the Palestinians accuse the Israelis of being oppressors, and ignoring every other human rights issue on the planet?

      It’s like the ICC, the International Criminal Court … you fools signed up. Fortunately, we couldn’t sign up—we’re protected by our Constitution, which says Americans can only be tried by American courts … and the recent conviction of Geert Wilder is a fine example of why. His crime was that he was giving a speech and he said “Do we want more Moroccans or less?”, and then he …

      Now, in America, we’d be waiting for the “and then he …” to tell us what the crime was … but that WAS the crime. The rest of the sentence is “… and then he was convicted for asking whether Dutch people want more Moroccan immigrants or less, and THAT WAS IT! Off to the slammer with him …

      So I fear, my dear Lord B., that many Americans are not at all interested in being a member of many of your wonderful clubs and meaningful associations and stupendously imp0rtant international bodies.

      We view the Europe-wide opposition to free speech exemplified in the Wilders case as the epitome of elitist European stupidity and fear of their own people. Not interested.

      We view many of your vaunted “international organizations” as reeking pits of greed, rent-seeking, corruption, and power-grabbing. Don’t want to be anything like them or what they represent.

      And for me, that list of who I do NOT want to emulate in any fashion includes the European Parliament in Brussels, many, many parts of the UN, the ICC, and many of the flavors of the watermelon organizations and NGOs (green on the outside, red on the inside) that claim to be for the environment but in reality are anti-development of any kind any where and any time.

      Americans have poured huge amounts of time and treasure into those kinds of organizations and you know what we usually get out of it?

      A bunch of intrusive European pricks who don’t have a clue what we do or how we do it, trying to tell us how to run our own business … sound familiar?


      • So you walk away from the world instead of trying to improve it. Seriously, you’re fine with that. My mistake then, I didn’t think that was the American way.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Lord Beaverbrook | December 10, 2016 at 2:14 pm |

        So you walk away from the world instead of trying to improve it. Seriously, you’re fine with that. My mistake then, I didn’t think that was the American way.

        Good Lord! What ever gave you that idea?

        First, I’m not “walking away” from anything. I’m saying that the world is a huge place, you can only spend money once, and there are better ways to spend our money than pouring it down a UN rathole. I’m not walking away from the world. I’m walking away from that cesspit of corruption, rent-seeking, and greed called the UN.

        Second, not pouring money down a UN rathole DOES improve the world, and if every country did it, the world would be greatly improved.

        Nice try, Lord. Gotta say, though, anyone pretending to be a British lord even in his alias is one pathetic human being … my theory is you’re a 26-year-old kid still living in his mommy’s basement, but hey, that’s just me …


      • I would say that lord beaverbrook is in his sixties and has a keen sense of history as surely he is emulating lord beaverbrook the powerful newspaper proprietor who was a mover and shaker and changer of opinions.


      • Willis Eschenbach | December 10, 2016 at 3:40 pm |

        Well that would explain why you are not a diplomat then wouldn’t it.
        26, ha I wish, that was half a lifetime ago, you’ve put a smile on my face today.

        Hopefully the Trump administration will lead international politics in a different direction. I’m all for less waste as most business men will agree, but there is still a need for America to be involved in international negotiations as any sensible individual must know.
        The UK has already made a start with the EU but it would be good to maintain the momentum with the advent of President Trump next year stalling the damage of green economics by changing the expectations of international bodies with the greater accord that America wields.
        Join us or not it’s a people’s revolution.

        I haven’t found the average American any different from the average Brit, but of course there are those who have high opinions of themselves which is endemic everywhere and as you get older you tend to take that with a pinch of salt, some just never grow up and maintain an aggressive teenager ego, but hey that’s life, Willis.

      • climatereason | December 10, 2016 at 4:13 pm |

        You do me credit, a great man, you are spot on.

  13. Entergy’s Grand Gulf nuclear reactor of 1409 MWe net, the largest in USA, has been granted a 20-year licence renewal, taking it to 2044. It is the 86th US power reactor to have its operational life extended to 60 years.

    WNN 5/12/16.

    What is the average operational life (in real practice) of wind farms and roof top PV pannels?

    • Curious George

      Too early to tell. What’s the average interval between big earthquakes in California? We are told that a Big One is overdue, but this only concerns nuclear power stations, not PV panels or windmills. (I have no earthquake insurance; can’t afford it; too expensive.)

  14. Much of this proposal sounds like what is called a “go along to get along” policy. Given the radical green forces in action it is a bad plan. Now is the time to fight hard. Alarmism can be defeated.

    Likewise, the idea that the US should endorse the green agenda in order to “leverage our strengths” is an old one, and a bad one. Let’s use our strengths wisely instead.

  15. A key point of today’s blog article is U.S. trade — a concern that I previously raised (that Rud and Other called propaganda).

    The U.S. should be engaged at the international table on Climate Change, to (at a minimum) advance U.S. interests in the export of its products/technologies (which it’s guaranteed that China will do and will take full advantage of any void).

    Personally, I’d rank the following in importance in trade:

    (1) U.S. Efficiency products. Examples would include export of LGN coupled with natural gas generation technology (e.g., combined cycle); Ultra supercritical coal power plants; Nuclear Power (flexible, that can follow load).

    (2) U.S. Pollution Control products. Tie the export of U.S. products to reducing Short-Lived-Climate-Pollutants (SLCPs) of smog, black carbon, and methane. The argument certainly can be made that the biggest near-term climate impact would be to reduce these pollutants (especially in developing countries).

    (3) Renewables (primarily wind and solar). This is just a huge market — why cede it over to China?

    • An example of the trade concern: Is this a paradigm of the future?

      China finances 85% of Chinese Nuclear Technology Project in Argentina:

      • Segrest – as usual, you don’t take into account new technology and whatever the Trump administration comes up with in the way of removing obstacles to development.

      • Jim2 Yet another shallow comment. What are the “specific” obstacles that Trump could remove ASAP in order to increase trade of U.S. technology new nuclear units in foreign (especially developing) countries?

      • The last place you want nuclear is in most developing countries. 1. Lack of technical competency. 2. Risks of diversion and proliferation. Help them build modern USC coal, or CCGT supplied by LNG. Korea, Japan, Germany, France, China, and Russia all have their own indigenous nuclear industries. Not much of a market left to go after with nuclear trade policies.

      • Roger Knights

        Ristvan: How about the US (or China, or Russia) selling nuclear power to developing countries from an off-shore barge or special-purpose vessel?

      • Rud’s above comments on nuclear are interesting. Suffice to say the U.S. Nuclear Power Industry will not be backing Rud for an appointment to the Trump transition team.

        But again, on technologies like highly efficient ultra supercritical coal or combined cycle natural gas (which I supported in above comments) — what are some policies that would make the U.S. more competitive in the $28 trillion world market on new energy?

        A logical answer is U.S. Government credit support into international projects (e.g., Export/Import Bank).

        (note: the $28 trillion number is from Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance)

      • SS, specific to Ex-Im only. It exists to provide US credit the global market will not. One should inquire why. The basic reason is that other countries do the same ‘unfair’ gov subsidized financing ExIm counters. Now, there are two basic choices. Play the others dishonest game, or force them to become more honest via WTO and other mechanisms. Me, providing tax payer subsidized credit so GE can ‘compete’ with, say, China’s dishonest gameQ is totally bassackwards. Force China to play by the international rules they pretend to agree to. You remind me much of Neville Chamberlin and appeasement in 1938. Ex Im should go (maybe not abruptly) and we should get after the miscreants. Bilateral reciprocity, period.
        A personal tale from back when I was trying to save Harley Davidson as a small team of four. Spent 3 consecutive months in Japan with a translator. One research issue was motorcycle licenses. The four Japanese manufacturers were selling in the US nothing over 750cc at that time. Harley sold nothing under 800cc worldwide ( fundamentally diffrent engine designs for equivalent HP–oversteoke or overbore). So the Japanese adopted a ‘trade neutral’ MC license. Any Japanese MC license applicant riding a >750cc motorcycle had to pass an extra requirement: lay bike down on its side, then right it, mount and ride. Now, for short stature Japanese, this is very difficult. Plus stupid, speaking as a motorcyclist since 40 years. If the bike is on its side even in the US , you have much bigger problems than re-righting it to reride. Ah, fair trade….

    • Did you see that chart in the post? The United States reduced emissions 477 mmtons while China increased emissions 3,107 mmtons.
      The US did that with natural gas, China (according to wind/solar industry press releases) went the wind/solar route.
      You are right about one thing, if you believe in CAGW the last thing you want is to “cede” the renewable market to China. All that coal they’ll have to burn will fry the country.

      • “how U.S. nuclear manufacturers (with zero Government involvement)”

        You just love getting the government entangled in stuff don’t you, Segrest?

        A recipe for disaster, of course.

    • Segrest – these things you mention are things businesses should be doing – NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

  16. Therefore, what is perhaps most concerning is that a U.S. withdrawal from international climate talks will create a global leadership vacuum. And this vacuum will be filled by countries such as Germany, China, India, Canada, Russia or other countries looking to expand their own sphere of political, economic and diplomatic influence. If the U.S. steps away from these talks, it may very well abdicate a leadership role it can never regain.

    The idea of a leadership vacuum is a ruse. Does anyone really think China or India could show leadership? Well if they give up coal and go nuclear perhaps. I really don’t see it. The rest of the world will still just reluctantly follow the US lead IMO. If the US wakes up it’s nuclear potential it will be even more dominant.

    • Curious George

      Leadership vacuum: that’s declaring a red line and not following up. That’s announcing your battle plans to Taliban. We have such a proud President.

  17. Summary. As President-elect Trump and his administration look to relieve the U.S. power sector from what he considers regulatory overreach and unleash America’s energy potential, it is recommended that he do so with a view towards developing a comprehensive energy policy resilient enough to withstand subsequent political transitions and to provide the power sector with a stable, more predictable investment climate.

    Don’t do anything that won’t be undone, or the price of speculation will go up.

    Also climate scientists would have to look for work.

  18. I’m all for nuclear power, so I like that recommendation.

    Other points:

    1. Obviously the power industry correctly perceives that future administrations might emphasize CO2 reduction. Knowing that, the industry, not the government, should sponsor their own research into carbon capture. It’s obvious why the industry would rather the taxpayer foot that bill, but no, do it yourself.

    2. The US government doesn’t exist to eliminate world poverty. Again, the industry is attempting to leverage the taxpayer to do things it should be doing itself. If you want to figure out ways to bring electricity to the third world, knock yourselves out. You know how to get on a jet and fly to other countries. It’s a business thing, not a government thing.

    I guess we all would like to be insulated from political change in the US, but it ain’t gonna happen.

  19. It’s abundantly clear that Trump will have to fashion a ring of C4 around government teats in order to unlatch the money suckers.

  20. in my opinion a lot of this is very fuzzy thinking, and poor policy advice. Advanced nuclear research, sure. Gen 4 of some sort, and we should build various prototypes to sort that out as China is already doing. Fund by shutting NIF and withdrawing from ITER. Both are hopeless boondoggles. See essay Going Nuclear.
    Leadership by staying in the Paris Agreement? A joke. CCS is unviable economically and, it turns out based on Boundary Dam, technically. A non-solution to a non-problem on which no money should be wasted.

    Energy policy is real simple. Remove all true subsidies (wind, solar, cellulosic ethanol) and silly regulations (CPP, ethanol mandate) then let the energy companies sort the technology and infrastructure mix out. That is why they exist; those that cannot don’t deserve to exist. Results in lowest energy costs and highest growth. On the side, force agencies like ARPAE to quit wasting money on harebrained schemes, and agencies like EIA to be honest– for an example of how EIA is not, see guest post True Cost of Wind.
    One policy exception not so simple. Raise transport fuel taxes (they have not been touched in decades) to help fund a rebuild of crumbling roads and bridges. This could be done in a series of predetermined smallish steps over time to facilitate adjustments.

    • Rud – we do need a source of funding for transportation infrastructure, but I think a fuel tax ignores the fact that even people with no personal vehicle benefit from roads. Everything they buy (or get for free) traveled over a road at some point. I would wait and see how much un-necessary funding can get diverted to that end first.

      I have a question for you. Let me preface it by saying we have empowered China with our money due to lust for cheap labor and goods. They now have a powerful military.

      Should we help impoverished nations if we know by considering their culture and societal values, that they would attack us if they could? We should at least be able to come up with a probability that they would become an opposing force if enabled.

      • Should we help impoverished nations if we know by considering their culture and societal values, that they would attack us if they could?

        IMO, that (intentional or not) hasn’t stopped them before. It would seem to me that this is a case where honey might work better than vinegar. Helping people have a better life, seems noble, but as we see for some that isn’t enough, so I don’t know if kindness get returned, or hate would anyways.

      • J2, that is a very tough question. These days, except for North Korea, it is not nations that attack us,or the west it is zealots harboring within them. We got involved in Afganistan be suse the Taliban harbored Bin Laden and Al Queda. And ‘help’ is ambiguous. Big difference between say money that gets ‘diverted’, food aid, and project aid.
        I think you need to go case by case. Food and direct development aid (loans, technology, expertise, as China is doing) are probably in general good things. Maybe not to Robert Mugabe or Maduro.

      • jim2: I think a fuel tax ignores the fact that even people with no personal vehicle benefit from roads. Everything they buy (or get for free) traveled over a road at some point.

        Such people pay for the benefit when the cost of the fuel tax is passed on to the consumers as increased prices for the goods. Or so the fuel taxes can be managed.

      • jim2 wrote, “I think a fuel tax ignores the fact that even people with no personal vehicle benefit from roads. Everything they buy (or get for free) traveled over a road at some point.”

        And the trucks that “traveled over a road at some point” used fuel that was taxed. The trucker pays the tax and the consumer pays the trucker.

      • The fuel tax hits suburban commuters the hardest. Use some other funding method to support infrastructure.

      • And you may have noticed that for this election, many big, blue cities were surrounded by red suburbs. It’s the middle class that’s been dragged down by various factors, they don’t need to have to spend more on fuel.

      • jim2 wrote, “The fuel tax hits suburban commuters the hardest.”

        The fuel tax (properly implemented) hits hardest those that use the infrastructure the most.

      • People who benefit in any way from roads should pay the tax, not just people who drive on them.

      • Jim2: People who benefit in any way from roads should pay the tax, not just people who drive on them.

        What ways other than driving on the roads and buying products shipped across the roads do you have in mind? Perhaps you are thinking of the people who ride bicycles on the roads? Pedestrians who use the sidewalks on the bridges?

      • ==> What ways other than driving on the roads and buying products shipped across the roads do you have in mind? ==>

        Seriously? . How about people who rely on police or firefighters who use roads to reach then? People who take ambulances to hospitals? Try finding anyone who doesn’t benefit from our federally supported motor vehicle infrastructure.

    • Rud is literally tilting at windmills. Trump’s transition team has been very clear they are not going after the wind and solar tax credits. The tax credits were just extended last year with significant Republican Senate support from wind and solar States (e.g., Texas, Iowa, Nevada, etc).

      (Note: Do people here at CE know that there is a Production Tax Credit (PTC) for new nuclear units [e.g., Georgia Power Vogtle units under construction] which is almost identical to the current wind PTC?)

      Of course, the Federal Government can do nothing on State Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards — and as a big State Rights person, Trump wouldn’t intervein even if he could.

      But even if subsidies for wind and solar were eliminated, this wouldn’t solve existing nuclear’s problem in competing against low-cost natural gas generation especially in current de-regulated markets.

      A pro-active Federal approach to keep existing nuclear on-line and cost competitive could be a “HUGE” Investment Tax Credit (and accelerated tax depreciation) on new capital spent to make the existing units more efficient.

      (Note: Do people know that current nuclear plants got similar tax credits back in the 1980’s when they were originally placed in service, that wind and solar are receiving today?)

      Also, Rud needs to read more. Trump has been very supportive of biofuels and the RFS. The Biofuels Industry is downright giddy over Trump (who is more supportive than Hillary). No Rud, I didn’t lose when Trump got elected.

      • My oh my Segrest!

        You seem to know more about Trump’s energy policies than Trump does!

      • It would be interesting to get a nuclear power engineer to the CE Blog to discuss whether capital improvements could be made on existing nuclear power plants to make them more efficient to the extent of being competitive on a marginal cost dispatch basis concept –especially in deregulated markets.

        If so, I vote for a “HUGE” Tax Credit on existing nuclear capital improvements.

    • J2, if an increased fuel tax hits suburban commuters hardest, it is because they use the most fuel. Precisely the targeted point. See chapter 9 of my early 2012 ebook Gaia’s Limits for a much longer and more detailed rationale based on chapters 5-8, plus working out general economic ‘least harm’ consequences if the fuel tax increase is ramped over time.

    • Rud,
      Trump is a Keynesian and will be a big spender. Most important, though, is that moving to next generation nuclear and molten salt reactors will require subsidies to get that moving. Also, Trump made a huge public promise to coal. Coal has to be subsidized to compete with natural gas. There is new carbon capture technology and it will cost money:

      “Power companies contribute a third of all carbon emissions in the United States, according to the Congressional Research Service. Older coal-fired facilities — the biggest culprits — could be retrofitted so as to trap the carbon before it leaves the smokestack. But such remedies are considered less efficient than building modern coal gasification plants with carbon burial.

      Those plants scrub the mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide before they would separate the remaining byproducts: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which could be used to power everything from cars to power plants. The largest demonstration projects are in Norway, where Statoil is placing 1 million tons of carbon per year into a saline aquifer deep in the North Sea, and in Canada, where the carbon is going into the Weyburn oil field.”

      “But such remedies are considered less efficient than building modern coal gasification plants with carbon burial.”

      He will retrofit as soon as possible as building gasification plants will require large up front expense.

      Trump will subsidize all forms of energy in a quest to make America independent of foreign sources. The exceptions may be oil and natural gas but I’m sure he will incentivize them one way or the other as well. Renewables will be high on the list but since it will take less money it will be a smaller part of the overall pie. Solar powered roofs will really be in vogue. Coal will require large subsidies even if it’s only green coal. Carbon capture or recycle will probably be the biggest piece of the pie followed by nuclear. This is only my guess but Trump will be a big spender. Just look at his own business practices; He loves to spend

  21. Pragmatic energy policy. From the article:

    Advisers to President-elect Donald Trump are developing plans to reshape Energy Department programs, help keep aging nuclear plants online and identify staff who played a role in promoting President Barack Obama’s climate agenda.

    The document also signals which of the department’s agencies could face the toughest scrutiny under the new administration. Among them: the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a 7-year-old unit that has been a critical instrument for the Obama administration to advance clean-energy technologies.

    Since going into operation in 2009, ARPA-E, as it is known, has provided about $1.3 billion in funding to more than 475 projects involving grid-scale batteries, power storage, biofuel production, wind turbines and other technology, according to a May report on the agency. Trump’s energy landing team is seeking “a complete list of ARPA-E’s projects” and wants information about the “Mission Innovation” and “Clean Energy Ministerial” efforts within the department.

    The group also questions whether any technologies or products that have emerged from Energy Department programs “are currently offered in the market without any subsidy” and asks “what mechanisms exist to help the national laboratories commercialize their scientific and
    technological prowess.”

    The Energy Information Administration, the department’s statistical arm, is the subject of at least 15 questions that probe its staffing, data and analytical decisions, including whether its forecasts underestimate future U.S. oil and gas production.
    EIA staff also are asked how they account for added costs to transmit and back-up renewable power.

    The document shows Trump advisers contemplating ways to keep aging U.S. nuclear power plants on line, including by addressing concerns about the long-term storage of spent radioactive material. “How can the DOE support existing reactors to continue operating,” and “what can DOE do to help prevent premature closure of plants?” the transition team asks.

    Trump advisers have been weighing how to revive a long-stalled plan to stash radioactive waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. In the document, they ask if there are any statutory restrictions to restarting that project or reinvigorating an Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management that was responsible for disposing of spent nuclear material.

    • Curious George

      ARPA-E is fully worth three Solyndras.

      • UNcurious george selectively shows his outrage on things like ARPA-E or Solyndra — but is of course silent on $8.3 billion in DOE loan guarantees for new nuclear.

      • Loan guarantees – as long as they are issued to projects that stand a reasonable chance of actually paying them back – ie NOT “renewables” – are not subsidies, Segrest.

        Nor are deferred taxes on new wells and the like, of course. Curious how you lot have difficulty differentiating between them…

      • “Try reading some real news rather than your mainstay of sources like Breitbart:”

        Not my mainstay Segrest.

        I’d have thought it was more likely to be yours.

      • That article is classic Segrest bait and switch. The article claims the loan office is profitable and it backs sane projects, such as nuclear, as well as fantasy, such as utility scale solar.

        It says the office is profitable. It does not say which programs are profitable. Reading between the lines, it says the sane projects are carrying the fantasy projects.

        It also says that if the fantasy projects are ever profitable, they have everything in place to hand the projects off to private financing, while implying that they already have.

        This is classic deceptive reporting at its finest. Just fake news.

        Oh yeah, the positive for Stephen’s side is that Musk paid off his Tesla loans early. That’s another story.

      • Stephen Segrest:

        Thank you for the update.

        Solyndra, interestingly enough, had been turned down by the Bush administration but then approved by the Obama administration after some high-level lobbying by Solyndra executives, and after possibly a promise to donate to Democrats’ election campaigns .

      • Charles the Moderator: That article is classic Segrest bait and switch.

        Ii would not call that bait and switch. The topic was “pragmatic energy policy”, which includes judicious government support, including possibly more support to the nuclear power industry. Curious George narrowed the focus down to APA-E and Solyndra. Stephen Segrest appropriately restored the larger perspective and supplied an informative link. .

      • Curious George

        Matthew, you narrowed the focus down to Stephen Segrest.

  22. I agree in general with these recommendations but I also agree with some of the comments above that question the need for CO2 considerations. I think the US should insist on an international policy that puts alleviating energy poverty ahead of climate change limitations.

    For example, Dr. Gattie states:
    “These are regions where advanced energy systems such as nuclear, high efficiency combined-cycle natural gas plants, CCS, and renewable energy can be implemented to meet complex and emerging economic and environmental needs and where carbon reduction can have the greatest climate impact (Gattie 2016b).”

    I disagree that CCS should be part of the energy mix for developing regions. I do not agree with the EPA that this is proven technology, it requires someplace to store the CO2 and that limits its applicability, and adding a refinery to a power plant adds so much complexity and cost that ultimately it means that we cannot afford to do it in the US much less in a developing country. Because carbon reduction is so expensive including it means that there is that much less money available to reduce energy poverty.

    The US should argue that the moral imperative should be to reduce energy poverty because the immediate health benefits to those who depend on biomass for heating and cooking far outweigh the costs of climate impacts. If the US were to provide support for our level of pollution control technology to developing region coal-fired power plants and the latest and greatest efficient boilers were used then the power available could address energy poverty. If you could get natural gas then by all means go that way. An energy policy that includes R&D to reduce the cost of nuclear would also be a good thing. My point is that cheap, dense, dispatchable power is necessary to alleviate energy poverty, at this time that requires fossil fuel, and that should be the cornerstone of our energy policy.

  23. The Hill had a good trade article today (although Rud and Others would consider it propaganda) — that front and center questions the Trump Administration should be asking on energy is: What are the best policies that could be put in place for U.S. technology to compete ASAP in the $28 trillion world market in new energy? (especially with China).

    An example is the Export/Import Bank which the U.S. Nuclear Power Industry supports but Tea Party Republicans oppose:

    • I went to the Hill and tried to find your reference. Failed. Wasted 15 minutes trying, because curious as to what you think I might think is propaganda. Would have been an insight into your own thinking. Provide a link, I will read and comment. Despite your putative propaganda aspertion. I am really interested in how you ‘think’, cannot help but be informative for future purposes.

      • Curious George

        Don’t tempt Stephen: he will provide links. He has plenty of them. We got acquainted when he provided a link stating that octane was an additive to gasoline. He never acknowledged that the link was not worth linking to.

        Stephen, you seem to be an earnest guy, but young. You read a lot, but you can’t tell chaff from grain. Be a little critical to what you read. A reputable Swedish website asserting that a rise of CO2 causes plants to absorb more pollutants is another example.

    • Stephen Segrest: The Hill had a good trade article today

      I looked for it yesterday (the “today” referred to) and could not find it. Have you posted the link since then?

  24. I think the post makes sense. The power sector needs stability as producing power requires huge investments in infrastructure by the power providers. If Trump is in office for only 4 years his efforts may be harmful to the sector over the long term. So what to do? Obviously there is a malaise in non-scientifically belief in the harm of CO2 emissions. Trump needs to invest in the science to refute that and actively seek, as Dr John Christy recently said, a deep look into the science surrounding the theory .

    Getting the politics out of the science discourse is a big job in itself but how many people have been influenced by, not necessarily incorrect statements, but deceptive ones within the science of the greenhouse effect? Keeping first in mind the hubristic attitudes of the climategate scammers that the only that counts is their opinion of what should be done. That not being a science issue but instead a policy issue.

    My opinion is subsidies should continue for home owners. The reason is its a way of building infrastructure that has multiple benefits down the road. Its not necessary to provide subsidies for business as they are already subsidized, tax wise, in all their business costs. Perhaps it would be helpful to allow, particularly for small businesses, accelerated depreciation of installed renewable energy infrastructure. For home owners you can allow it optionally as a deduction for all tax payers and perhaps to address the fact that lower income people seldom itemize deductions for an equivalent refundable tax credit on a system for a modest home. Tax credits could be devised for multi-family landlords and/or tenant to accomplish the same thing.

    Actually this sort of approach is the equivalent of providing funding for building infrastructure. If homeowners are effectively building powerplants on their homes why should they not be able to deduct it like a for profit business?

    OTOH, withdrawing from the Paris deal which the Senate has never ratified is hardly walking away from international negotiations so I think that part of the post is over reaching in suggesting thats whats happening. Its not necessary to “agree” to continue to negotiate. This seems more like democrat spin on Trump’s agenda.

  25. I don’t see anything new here. The USA is the world leader owing to having the dominant economy. We have had 40 years or more of playing with wind and solar power, and it still remains intermittent and unreliable. If you can figure out a way to turn night into day, make the wind blow at a constant speed and invent an efficient battery, then wind and solar might work. The rapid commercialization of these technologies has been a disaster – and it remains a disaster. The history of so-called “renewables is long and sorted, and the global warming scare has fostered potentially massive disruption of the evolution of human societies.

    There is no need to have all of the essential sharing of new technologies, both for profit and the betterment of humankind, flow through the United Nations. The UN has far more political goals than economic/environmental betterment, they are unelected, voting power is one vote per member, and costs are nothing but a totally wasteful, unnecessary bureaucratic boondoggle.

    The US is about the only country that has managed to reduce emissions. This was done outside of the Copenhagen Agreement. There is, therefore, no reason to validate the Paris Pact. There are far too many strings attached, not the least of which is no mechanism to ensure that all members actually do what they say, and the fact that many will do nothing. The only way to get rid of the over-riding goal of global governance is to destroy the UNEP/UNFCCC/WMO/IPCC bureaucracy. It will not change, and any climate goals deemed important can be addressed without the baggage of global politics.

    It is -27C here (Manitoba). The last thing we need is reliance on wind and solar power. Yet our government is meeting today to work out Canada’s climate change strategy. I have come to the conclusion that the dumbest person on earth is a Canadian who opposes a little global warming.

  26. David Gattie, thank you for the essay.

  27. Just an OT note. There were so many ballot count dependencies in Detroit that fraud became obvious. The recount wouldn’t have been possible there. Voter fraud definitely exists.

    • to continue a story I have been following: the CA “unprocessed” ballots have all been processed, and Clinton carried the state 62.2% to 31.8%; 8.75 million to 4.48 million votes.

  28. A content-less post. A deluge of slogans and empty words.

  29. Here’s a recommendation: abolish the department of Energy and deregulate energy markets. Simple.

    • Ah. yes. Paradise. Fields of Enrons blossoming across the nation. Masters of the Universe manipulating every facet of energy markets with no gubbermint oversight. Yes, truly simple. I’ll be watching for pure plays to profit from this Heaven on Earth.

      • “Fields of Enrons blossoming across the nation. Masters of the Universe manipulating every facet of energy markets with no gubbermint

        Enron was created in 1985 via merger of Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth. It was a $2.3 billion dollar merger which meant it took government approval before the merger could happen. Some years later, Enron hired Jeffrey Skilling who used accounting loopholes, special purpose entities and poor financial reporting to hide debt that totaled in the billions.

        Poor financial reporting is a euphemism for financial reporting fraud. Certainly Andrew Ceresney of the enforcement division of the SEC thinks so. Accounting loopholes, however, are not illegal activities but rather activities that exploit ambiguities or inadequacies within the legislation. Special purpose entities (SPE) are legal entities chartered by government.

        Let me explain that so that a nine year old can understand it. The Enron scandal did not happen because of no regulation or deregulation but happened because of incompetent regulators fully equipped with the regulatory state they needed to prevent the scandal.

        The subsequent rhetoric of “too big to fail” – suspiciously touted as an economic theory – flies in the face of anti-trust laws and certainly flies in the face of Adam Smith’s theory. If an entity is too big to fail it is too big, but those tasked with preventing such monstrosities (regulators) helped bring them to life like Victor von Frankenstein they marveled at their creations proudly whispering; “It’s alive!”

        But keep on pretending that regulation and government protects you from the boogieman.

      • Not today either. Maybe tomorrow.

      • Fields of Enrons blossoming across the nation.
        Hmmm… you do remember that one of the commodities that Enron was into toward the end was carbon credits, right?
        And even the energy trades were in a highly regulated market – taking advantage of California regs.

        Regulation doesn’t end corruption, it often fosters it.

        I’m not absolutist, but gaming the system will exist no matter how you change the system. Best to keep it simple, minimal, and transparent.

  30. Here’s another (implied in the former): stop all solar and wind subsidies.

  31. Roger Knights

    (I posted this about an hour ago on WUWT.)

    It’s just occurred to me that Hansen’s recent statement that mitigation is not immediately urgent, but can be phased in over a lengthy period, is consistent with the implementation of a “nuclear” CO2-reduction strategy. I suspect he made this statement after consulting with a member of Trump’s team, which may be planning to unveil such a plan.

    Hansen is Gore’s advisor on climate-related matters. Gore’s visit to Trump is consistent with what I speculated about Hansen, namely that a “nuclear” CO2-reduction strategy is in the works.

  32. ALL HANDS ON DECK! This just the first shot in a 4 year agenda that will yield some interesting results.

    Trump transition team seeks details on Energy Dept. workers

    • Yup.

      Blacklist them all.

    • Yep. Having the Commander-in-Chief-Elect asking questions raises “alarms” among agency staff. But they won’t tell you their real alarm is about keeping their cushy jobs.

    • Trump transition team seeks details on Energy Dept. workers

      Why is DOE involved in climate science at all?
      Even if one were an advocate for more climate research, wouldn’t one want a single agency, not a wasteful dispersion across government?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Actually, the Transition Team are asking fascinating and very revealing questions in their infamous memo to the Energy Department. The questions lay out their plans in some detail. I discuss it here


      • A very impressive list of questions. Evidence of people knowing their subject matter. Hopefully, evidence also of a culture placing a premium on costs, efficiency and effectiveness.
        This gives me optimism that the other 1000 programs neglected from this kind of scrutiny will finally get theirs.

        Nervous nellies are at this moment running around in the bowels of the bureaucracy digging up information they didn’t know existed. All of them exclaiming “WTF”. Get over it boys. A new sheriff is in town.

  33. * CO2 emissions have peaked.
    * Regulation did not cause emissions to peak, demographics did.
    * Demographics ( and efficiency ) will continue to decrease CO2 emissions.

  34. IMO, the most important sentence in David’s blog essay:

    “It isn’t incumbent on the Trump administration to agree on the extent to which climate is changing or even on the cause of climate change.”

    The U.S. needs to approach this like China, and exploit every opportunity to benefit our national interests — specifically, the export trade of U.S. products (energy efficiency, pollution control, Renewables).

    • And US businesses are free to do just that.

    • Jim2 You continue to show no depth or breadth on international trade — especially any ideas of how to compete internationally against China.

      • Frankly, your questions are extremely premature. Ask again after a year of Trump actually being in charge. After reading the list (Willis’ compilation) of Trump team questions to the DOE, you can see the intention that there will be a lot of change blowin’ in the wind. Hide and watch.

    • SS, news. US exports include LNG, efficient jetliners, software, pharma, and pork plus other ag commodities.. We import polysi solar because of the pollution environmental cost china does not pay. We import shoes and cloths because we do not allow slave wages in firetrap factories. You really have to get a grip on trade specifics. Start with theoretical comparative advantage. Modify with purchase parity exchabge rates. Then sort by specific unfair trade policies like the Japanese MC license example ommented on above. Then add a dose of international experience. Then get back with something realistic rather than hopelessly idealistic.

  35. Nicely written, especially about the need for stability for the energy industry.

    However, not withdrawing from the UNFCCC and/or the Paris agreement is a bad idea, especialy seen from a European perspective.

    The UNFCCC process is entirely controlled by the green extremists in the Climate-industrial complex. (See Lindzen on the Iron Triangle). This framework includes the greenest politicians from both the left and the right side of the political spectrum in Europe. The green NGOs are running the show, having infiltrated the environmental bureacracy of most western nations. Acccordingly you simply cannot discuss energy policy or any sensible form of diplomacy with this crowd, because they believe that all (or most of) coal, gas and oil needs to remain where it is if the planet is to be saved from the Global Warmig which ceased 20 years ago, according to the IPCC.

    This crowd have perverted WG1 of the IPCC to the extent that it is believed that the sun is merely a 7% climate driver (assisted by mandate containing only manmade climate change). Even worse, these sun deniers have convinced the world to go for CCS in a situation where the CO2 level has decreased from an average of 2700 ppm over 500 mill. years, to the current low level of only 400 ppm. Soon, in a geological perspective, there will be nothing left unless we recycle more CO2 back to where it came from. There is simply no need whatsoever for CCS technology.

    This nonsense needs to stop. Yesterday. Currently only the US can start this process,and only by withdrawing from the UNFCCC. Have the Senate do it, then the next president cannot get back in with an executive order. This is The Right Stuff! If done right, it will be the signal for the rest of the Western world to scramble for the Climate Exit.

  36. Harry Twinotter

    Probably irrelevant now as Trump is unlikely to become president. The Electoral College is there for a reason.

  37. CEI has published its agenda for Congress (working with Trump). Here is the relevant list. Note climate focus.

    Energy and Environment:
    Repudiate the Paris Climate Agreement
    Defund the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
    Overturn or at Least Defund the EPA’s Clean Power Plan
    Repeal the EPA’s Purloined Power to Legislate Climate Policy
    Repeal the EPA’s Carbon Dioxide Standards for New Fossil-Fuel Power Plants
    Oppose Carbon Taxes
    Prohibit Use of Social Cost of Carbon as a Justification for Regulating Emissions
    Freeze and Sunset the Renewable Fuel Standard
    Require all Agencies to Meet Rigorous Scientific Standards
    Address Unaccountable Environmental Research Programs

    Sounds right to me.

  38. With an average coal mine depth of approx 500 meters in China(450 in 2009 and going deeper at the rate of 8-10 meters per year), the economics of extracting coal in China is declining.

    The whole ‘we need some global climate framework’ to find energy sources ‘cheaper then coal’ ignores the reality that the geographic area where coal power is an economically preferable option is declining.

    We have the The Generation IV International Forum for R&D into next gen nuclear which is progressing as anticipated.

    At some point rising coal extraction costs and declining alternative energy costs will cross and the CO2 problem will be solved by market forces.

    In the US that ‘someday’ already occurred.

  39. We as a nation are done fantasizing about humanity’s impact on climate. The need to stop projecting our personal beliefs onto the science of climate change to implement societal and cultural change is overdue.

  40. Pingback: Pragmatic energy policy recommendations for the Trump administration | privateclientweb

  41. David Springer

    I figured out why democrats hate Russia so much.

    The vast majority of the population are northern Europeans near or between Moscow and St. Petersberg in western Russia. A large majority of those have blue eyes.

    Russia is too white.