OTTAWA Dec 9 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said
on Friday he doubted whether Donald Trump could undo much of the
current administration's record on the environment because so
many green policies have firmly taken hold.
Trump, who will take over as president on Jan. 20, has said
he does not believe in global warming and will name a climate
change skeptic, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to head
the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Republican is expected to nominate another climate
change skeptic, U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of
Washington state, to head the Interior Department, sources
briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday.
Democratic President Barack Obama has made the fight against
global warming a priority, and Biden said businesses now
realized his policies made sense economically.
"There is a constituency that crosses party lines.
Regardless of whether the next administration is as aggressive
as we have been - and I'm not suggesting they intend to - there
is no way to turn back this tide that has begun to roll," the
vice president told a Canadian environmental summit.
The Obama administration has lifted vehicle fuel standards,
invested heavily in renewable energy, pushed to curb methane gas
emissions and adopted a Clean Power Plan that requires states to
cut carbon output.
Biden said that in some parts of the United States it was
now cheaper to use solar or wind power rather than rely on power
stations fueled by coal or gas.
Company executives were starting to price in carbon
emissions reduction while motorists enjoyed not having to refuel
their vehicles as often, he said.
"Reality has a way of intruding," he said. "Whatever
uncertainly exists around the near-term policy choices of the
next president, I am absolutely confident the United States will
continue making progress on this path to a low-carbon future."
"And that's because many of the trends I've mentioned have
taken hold and are no longer dependent on government
initiatives. They are market-driven, they are common sense."
Trump has vowed that within his first 100 days in office he
will rescind the Clean Power Plan, eliminate "unwarranted
restrictions" on hydraulic fracturing oil-drilling technology,
cut "outdated" regulations, and pull the country out of a global
pact to curb warming of the planet.
Biden said, "One of the things the president and I are
proudest of accomplishing over the last eight years is debunking
the myth that America can't grow our economy and bring down
emissions at the same time.".
Among those in the audience for Biden's remarks was Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is also taking an aggressive
stance on climate change.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)