The Obama administration may be gone, but remnants of its malignant policies can still be found scattered around the sprawling federal bureaucracy like a rash they won’t go away.
But, alas, there’s more work to be done.
Not content with imposing energy rationing in the U.S. through such schemes as the Clean Power Plan, Obama officials – from the comfort of their climate-controlled Washington offices — were also determined to prolong the misery of people in the world’s poorest countries. To that end, in September 2014 they unveiled Executive Order 13677 with the fetching title “Climate-Resilient International Development.”
“This order requires the integration of climate-resilience considerations into all United States international development work to the extent permitted by law,” the document states. “Dedicated U.S. climate-change adaptation funds are critical to managing the risks posed by climate-change impacts in vulnerable countries,” the order explains. “Coping with the magnitude of accelerating climate change also requires enhanced efforts across the Federal Government’s broader international development work.”
Just as the executive order blithely accepts the notion of human-caused climate change (“global warming,” the old label, appears nowhere in its text), it conveys supreme confidence that the right mix of policies will serve up a climate to everyone’s liking. Reflecting the enthusiasm of Obama-era climate warriors, the order says “The Federal Government has greatly increased the number and variety of international development initiative focused on climate-change mitigation, including programs to promote clean energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable land-use and forestry practices, as well as partnerships with over two dozen countries to formulate and implement sustainable low-emissions development strategies.”
“Clean energy,” of course, is code for renewable energy (wind and solar). Subsidized by taxpayers and mandated by no fewer than 29 state governments throughout the U.S., these intermittent sources of power are propped up by government intervention in energy markets and yet are somehow supposed to meet the energy needs of the world’s poorest countries. Indeed, the order specifically targets the use of fossil fuels, saying “The world must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the most dangerous consequences of climate change.”
For the fiscal year (FY) 2019, the State Department is slated to receive $39.3 billion, of which $16.8 billion will go to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Under the Obama executive order, some of these resources would be devoted to fulfilling a global climate-change agenda that the Trump administration has rightly abandoned.
The green platitudes that underlie the executive order stand in marked contrast to Trump administration efforts to promote the use of fossil fuels worldwide, including in Africa, where affordable and reliable electric power is desperately needed. It is estimated that over 600 million Africans lack access to electricity, and their needs cannot be met by solar panels or windmills.
Instead of addressing the real problems afflicting poorer countries, such as access to electricity and potable water, the executive order seeks to combat “accelerating climate change,” for the existence of which it provides absolutely no evidence.
A Better Way Forward
President Trump’s Clean Coal Alliance, launched last year, aims at boosting the export of U.S. coal. It has had some success, notably in India, which is importing more American thermal coal, used to create electricity, in an effort to provide power to impoverished areas in the Indian countryside. The Clean Coal Initiative, along with the stepped-up export of U.S. crude oil and liquified natural gas (LNG), offer far better prospects for improving the lot of people in the developing world than the green utopia of Obama’s executive order.
Executive Order 13667 is diametrically opposed to everything President Trump is trying to do in the energy sector. That’s why the White House should immediately scrap this relic of a mercifully bygone presidency.
Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.