- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2017

A prominent oil and gas industry group said Monday the U.S. has dramatically reduced greenhouse-gas emissions without burdensome regulations and international deals, urging President Trump to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement and let market forces drive energy policy.

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, said the Paris deal — currently the topic of intense debate among White House officials, some of whom favor withdrawal and others who want to remain in the agreement — is a flawed experiment. 

She said the U.S. will be unable to meet the target emissions reductions in the deal, but that the arbitrary figures laid out in Paris distract from the underlying fact that the U.S. has seen its emissions drop substantially in recent years.

“The United States is a leader in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions not because of the Paris treaty or Kyoto [treaty] or subsidies to wind and solar, but because the natural gas industry, using technological innovation and market forces, has created this abundance so that we have been able to deliver real climate change benefits,” Ms. Sgamma told reporters on a conference call Monday.

Indeed, government figures have shown U.S. emissions have fallen steadily over the past decade.

 Some of that drop surely can be attributed to Obama-era environmental regulations limiting fossil fuel development, but much of the reduction has come from the market’s shift away from coal and toward natural gas and, to a lesser extent, toward renewable energy.

Environmental Protection Agency data, for example, show that from 1990 to 2014, greenhouse-gas emissions per dollar of GDP have fallen by 40 percent. That trend has accelerated over the past decade.

Critics of the Paris climate deal say the U.S. is cutting its emissions without the burdens of international commitments, which carry no legal weight and cannot truly be enforced. 

What’s more, Mr. Trump’s EPA has begun to dismantle the regulatory structure that would’ve made meeting the Paris commitment — a 26 percent reduction in emissions by 2025 — virtually impossible.

“Saying we’re staying in the Paris treaty when we’ve just taken the legs from under it really doesn’t make sense,” Ms. Sgamma said.


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