Follow the email trail of how to justify new fossil fuel exports

The world’s efforts to fight climate change are quickly running out of time. On Monday, the New York Times published the email exchange between President Trump’s environmental adviser, Denis O’Leary, and the President of International Coal Ventures. In his correspondence, O’Leary described a series of initiatives to promote natural gas:

If you strip out the nat gas being sold in China by companies such as Valero, about 30% of US total Nat Gas exports (including coal) go to markets outside of US. 1) Rational approach – export Nat Gas to the world! Most prices at least in the EU and China are way below domestic US Pricing. The price difference is the reason why coal is getting consumed too. We can of course make the gas low cost/high yielding to the producer who is trading coal. US nat gas has lots of potential but especially gets taken out by cheap coal if not properly handled.

It’s just the beginning of this kind of internal email. A big list of Trump officials are involved in dozens of emails regarding the Department of Energy’s unfolding Climate Action Plan. Much of the writing focuses on new agreements:

Bringing the United States into the Green Climate Fund (GCCF) at the Convention was a priority, and most important we got a bit of bite for US development aid’s climate financing capacity. Easier than crossing D.C. with that kind of a diplomatic issue. It was approved in 11/12 of the G-77 but still beheaded. All three sides (US, EC, GHG Country) came out to Bali for that moment in the front to demonstrate commitment.

The other interesting thing that I came across is some of the message in the emails is about how much money countries are spending in trying to bring up the highest level of ambition on climate action. Canadian resources minister says $200B is being spent trying to move towards a consensus on global effort. After putting this on paper, a few days later we get an update from German finance minister saying: “Swift and powerful minds from all GHG countries are converging on Poland…with a shared vision of reducing emissions, replacing fossil fuels with carbon-based power, and deepening climate action all over the world.

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