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Trump Proved The Mettle Of Environmental Regulations, Gina McCarthy Says

The Trump Administration’s repeated failure to overturn environmental regulations— even in front of Trump-appointed judges—proves their viability as a tool to fight climate change, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy said Thursday.
“This (Trump) Administration was very unusual in terms of the wholesale turnabout they tried to make, but in the courts, even with new appointees under the Trump Administration as judges, we still won over and over and over again,” McCarthy said, “because there is a law in our country and when you put on that that black robe you tend to want to do your job.”
New York University’s Institute for Policy Integrity tracked the outcomes of Trump Administration efforts to roll back environmental regulations. It found that Trump succeeded in 37 cases, but lost 152.
That’s a batting average of .196.
“As time goes on we realize how unsuccessful the prior administration was in actually rolling back good regulations,” McCarthy said this morning in an appearance at CERAWeek, “and sending different signals—like coal should come back. That was what the visible message was of the prior administration, but they they simply didn't succeed at all, and it's a big lesson to learn here.
“Yes we are going to use regulatory Authority,” she said. “That provides a level of certainty moving forward.”
But in the end, McCarthy said, the regulations themselves are less important than the signal they send to the marketplace.
McCarthy designed the Clean Power Plan during President Obama’s second term, and she predicted it would survive in the courts. The Trump Administration withdrew the regulation before it could be tested in the courts, but in 2019 the U.S. surpassed its goal anyway, of a 32 percent emissions reduction by 2030.
Those reductions likely derive from the inability of coal to compete with somewhat cleaner natural gas and with much cleaner renewables. McCarthy sees the impact of Obama-era regulation in those market trends.
“So we now know that if you do this right, and if you send the signals to the private sector, and if it makes sense—if you can defend it and talk about the health benefits today, the job opportunities—that these are efforts that will live far longer than the regulatory horizon.”
McCarthy said she works hard to convince people that Trump’s impact is smaller than it may appear.
“We have lost time, which in the climate space is precious, but we haven't lost (emissions) reductions,” she said. “Yes we lost time, but don't think that everything we did before was for naught, because clean energy is winning in the marketplace today.”
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