Three Climate Policy Executive Orders the President-Elect Should Repeal

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to “cancel immediately” all of President Obama’s “illegal and overreaching executive orders,” and he strongly opposes Obama’s climate agenda. Will Obama’s climate policy executive orders be among the first on Trump’s chopping block?

Here are three prime targets for repeal, beginning with the most recent.

  • Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade (March 19, 2015). This order requires federal buildings to obtain at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030. All new federal buildings constructed in that year must be “energy net-zero,” meaning their energy consumption must be “balanced by onsite renewable energy.” Also in 2030, 50 percent of all new passenger vehicles in agency fleets must be zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles. To carry out those and many other requirements, agencies must establish “chief sustainability officers” to implement “green supply chain management” under the tutelage of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In addition to using our tax dollars to expand the federal trough for green special interests, the order is a consciousness-raising exercise. If kept in place, it will help perpetuate climate-centric groupthink in federal agencies.
  • Climate Resilient International Development (September 23, 2014). “This order requires the integration of climate-resilience considerations into all United States international development work to the extent permitted by law.” The main problem here is that development is the best strategy for making poor countries more resilient, and affordable energy is critical to development. Elevating “climate-resilience considerations” too easily becomes an excuse to deny poor countries access to affordable energy, ignore the real causes of poverty (corruption, lack of strong property rights), and legitimize phony grievances against the fossil energy-rich United States.
  • Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change (November 1, 2013). This order requires federal agencies to promote “engaged and strong partnerships and information sharing at all levels of government” to help “safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources” from climate change impacts. Agencies are to “support and encourage smarter, more climate-resilient investments by States, local communities, and tribes, including by providing incentives through agency guidance, grants, technical assistance, performance measures, safety considerations, and other programs, including in the context of infrastructure development.” In other words, the order directs agencies to recruit, indoctrinate, bankroll, and coordinate climate activists at all levels of government. Perhaps a better title for the order is “Mobilizing the Long March through the Institutions.”