On March 28, the White House announced that it is retracting the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s signature climate policy. The Clean Power Plan would have represented the first-ever federal limits on carbon emissions from power plants, which represent 40 percent of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the United States.  But the news likely won’t do much in the short-term to dampen enthusiasm and investment in renewables on both sides of the political spectrum.  

Despite the campaign rhetoric on ending burdensome climate regulations – the majority of Americans support action on climate. In a November poll of Trump voters conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the majority supported addressing climate change through either taxes, regulation, or both, with 62 percent supporting one or more approaches.  More broadly, 75 percent of Americans would like to see regulation on carbon pollution.

In February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reported that for the second straight year, the majority of new generating capacity (61.5 percent) is from renewable sources, with non-hydro renewable resources making up nearly 11 percent of electricity generation.

Tuesday’s Executive Order won’t slow down private investments in cutting GHGs through renewables and efficiency, either.  Recognizing the threat that climate change poses to their bottom line – major companies are pledging to reduce emissions across their supply chains. For example, in November, Walmart was the first global retailer to publish an emissions reduction strategy that meets the targets outlined by the Paris Climate Agreement.  The retailer pledged to source 50 percent of its energy from renewables and to lower emissions 18 percent in the next 10 years.

The same day as Trump’s announcement, beer giant, Anheuser-Busch InBev committed to 100 percent renewable energy sourcing, cutting its GHG footprint by 30 percent.  CEO Carlos Brito commented, “Climate change has profound implications for our company and for the communities where we live and work … Cutting back on fossil fuels is good for the environment and good for business.”  

Congress is noticing as well – with the recently reformed Climate Solutions Caucus.  The bipartisan caucus has doubled from 12 to 34 members in three months, with 17 Republicans and 17 Democratic members.  Additionally, 17 Republican House members have signed onto the “Republican Climate Resolution,” which acknowledges that climate change is an issue that must be addressed, and calls for economically viable climate action that adopts conservative principles.


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