What could Donald Trump as president mean for climate change?
During the presidential campaign Trump made a number of promises about reviving the coal industry, building new gas pipelines and relaxing environmental regulations.
Although he did later say it was a joke, Trump tweeted that he thought climate change was a hoax. The tweet read: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Trump has already threatened to pull America out of the landmark Paris climate change accord, eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repeal environmental regulations, and cut climate funding. It’s no wonder climate scientists are worried about what his presidency could bring but does he really have the power to follow through on his promises?
It would take Trump four years to official withdraw from the Paris accord but in that time, he could choose not to enforce its regulations. The accord allows countries to choose how much they cut their emissions by and while this has been a fantastic way to get more involved, it could hurt it too. If America doesn’t choose to cut its emissions, it’s unlikely other countries around the world will.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also at risk as Trump wants to scrap it all together and has put one of the most well-known climate change sceptics in charge of the transition, Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment. This could be especially damaging for people who live in high pollution areas.
There’s no doubt that creating new jobs is going to be a good thing for the USA but Trump is determined to do this by reviving coal mining. Not only does this have massive health implications but it’s just not a sustainable idea as natural gas is a much cheaper source of energy.
If Trump goes ahead with all his promises when in charge of such a large country with so much influence, climate change will continue unchecked.
Even if Trump isn’t able to make good on all his promises, a unified Republic government means environmental policy will change.
Republicans in congress have been pushing against Barack Obama’s green policies for years and now they might have the chance to undo all that work. The radical bills proposed by the Republicans aren’t a secret but they don’t often get much attention because they’re blocked by the senate or White House.
In 2013, they proposed cutting EPA funding by one-third. Multiple bills were churned out to cut research funding for renewable energy by 50 percent, block rules on coal pollution, block rules on oil spills, block rules on pesticide spraying, accelerate oil and gas drilling permits on public land, prohibit funding for creation or expansion of wildlife refuges and cut funding for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, the list goes on.
The senate isn’t much better and have floated bills to cut EPA funding and block rules on all sorts of polluting practices. While there are some senators who understand climate change, there are more fossil-fuel enthusiasts.
Trump is likely to leave environmental policy to his advisors and Republican leaders in congress, many of whom are against Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP limits emissions from existing power plants and could be overturned by a simple bill if the democrats don’t filibuster the measure. If the Democrats did succeed, the Republicans would have to resort to other measure to weaken the bill.
Thankfully for the environment, it’s quite an arduous process to roll back existing regulations. George W. Bush wanted to do something similar in the 2000s but only managed to rescind a handful of Bill Clinton’s environmental rules.
It’s not clear how many of his promises Trump will be able to go ahead with but with a unified Republican government, there’s no doubt that this has big implications for the environment.
Image credit: LPETTET
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.