President Donald Trump on May 17th issued an executive order that replaces a March 19th, 2015 executive order by President Barack Obama requiring all federal departments and agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% within ten years. The Obama order also required the federal government to increase the share of electricity it uses from renewable sources to 30% and reduce per-mile greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the federal fleet of vehicles.
Trump’s new order gets rid of all the targets arbitrarily set by his predecessor. Instead, it directs all federal agencies to follow the laws related to energy use enacted by Congress “in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment. In implementing this policy, each agency shall prioritize actions that reduce waste, cut costs, enhance the resilience of Federal infrastructure and operations, and enable more effective accomplishment of its mission.”
Besides dismantling another part of Obama’s climate agenda, Trump is also showing a welcome restraint in exercising executive power and an equally welcome deference to Congress, which used to make laws. Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress should be pleased.