Energy Department Closes Office Working On Climate Change Abroad
WASHINGTON — The Energy Department is closing an office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology, another sign of the Trump administration’s retreat on climate-related activities after its withdrawal from the Paris agreement this month.
(From The New York Times / by Brad Plumer) — The 11 staff members of the Office of International Climate and Technology were told this month that their positions were being eliminated, according to current and former agency employees. The office was formed in 2010 to help the United States provide technical advice to other nations seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The small office also played a lead role preparing for the annual Clean Energy Ministerial, a forum in which the United States, China, India and other countries shared insights on how best to promote energy efficiency, electric vehicles and other solutions to climate change.
The Energy Department did not respond to a request for comment.
In May, President Trump released a budget for 2018 proposing the “elimination of climate change initiatives” within the Energy Department, including the international climate office. While the budget will require congressional approval, Mr. Perry has authority to reorganize parts of the Energy Department before lawmakers decide on spending levels.
The office is the only one in the Energy Department to have “climate” as part of its name.
The Trump administration has scaled back the federal government’s involvement on global warming on a number of fronts, scrubbing mentions of “climate change” from a variety of agency websites and unwinding climate regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Closing the Office of International Climate and Technology could make cooperation on clean energy with other countries much harder, said Graham Pugh, who headed the office from 2011 to 2014. While both the State and Energy Departments still have separate programs to engage with China, Brazil and other countries, the office being eliminated specialized in applying the agency’s technical expertise to other nations’ efforts to advance clean energy projects.