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Trump Faces Next Climate Hurdle

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The Houston Chronicle discusses the Paris Climate Treaty with Myron Ebell,

President Donald Trump, three months after he pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords, faces another critical decision in how far he is willing to go to undo federal efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The president is expected to soon decide whether to overturn the government finding on which the climate change rules put into place by the Obama administration are built. That finding, which determined that global warming endangers public health, established the legal basis for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels - considered by scientists as the primary cause of rising global temperatures. Eliminating it would leave the administration free to ignore greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite a pledge to do just that, Trump, as with several other issues, is discovering again that it is easier to say something on the campaign trail that get it done through the complicated machinery of government. And again, he is walking the line between true believers who want him to follow through on his pledge to overturn the so-called endangerment finding and pragmatists who see years of court battles ahead with uncertain results.

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Conservative groups have pressured Trump to follow through on his campaign pledge but are starting to back off as they recognize the legal challenges that would lay ahead. Myron Ebell, a Trump campaign adviser, said getting rid of the endangerment finding would make it far more difficult for future administration's to adopt climate policies, but he understood, "the imperative to do so is lacking."

If Pruitt's proposal for replacing the Clean Power Plan holds up in court, "they don't have anything really pushing them to reopen the endangerment finding," said Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank. "You can push that decision down the road."

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Climate change regulations have often been overshadowed by other developments, from the standoff with North Korea to the crackdown on illegal immigration to the efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But, Ebell said, Trump's base still wants the Obama climate policy undone.

"We're still pushing on Paris," Ebell said. "You want to keep up the drumbeat so he doesn't think conservatives have lost interest."

Read the full article at the Houston Chronicle.