Industry to Trump: Some Climate Deals Are Worth Keeping

By Siciliano, John | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, November 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

Industry to Trump: Some Climate Deals Are Worth Keeping


Siciliano, John, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


The Trump administration will need to know the difference between a good and bad climate deal if business is to emerge unscathed under the next president, say industry and top environmentalist officials.

It is widely known that Trump is looking to reject big climate deals, notably the Paris Agreement reached in December, but it could be dangerous for some U.S. manufacturers if all deals are targeted just because they have something to do with climate change, the officials warn.

For example, large appliance manufacturers, which make everything from window-mounted air conditioners to giant walk-in refrigerators, fear Trump could take a "knee-jerk" approach to anything perceived as a climate agreement, like last year's Paris deal.

The Paris deal doesn't have "teeth" and is primarily an unbinding agreement, said Stephen Yurek, the president of the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, representing appliance manufacturers. But a more recent international deal to cut refrigerant chemicals does have binding requirements, with the ability of squeezing American-made products out of the global market if they are not met, he told the Washington Examiner.

Yurek was part of the negotiations to update the 30-year-old Montreal Protocol to impose a global ban on the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are a common chemical refrigerant used in most air-conditioning units.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the deal, which was reached in Kigali, Rwanda, in October, is necessary to stave off the effects of global warming because the refrigerants are more potent than other greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. Removing the chemicals from the global marketplace over the next two decades would bring down the temperature of the Earth by half a degree.

Many scientists blame greenhouse gas emissions for causing the Earth's temperature to rise, resulting in more catastrophic weather, droughts and floods.

Yurek and others want Trump advisers to understand that just because the Kigali deal is tied to climate change, it doesn't mean the industry opposes it, despite his group having problems with other aspects of President Obama's climate agenda.

"We are hoping they won't do the knee-jerk reaction ... of tying this to climate, and other things," Yurek said, explaining that the Trump team might think it has to oppose it because it assumes businesses do.

Francis Dietz, spokesman for Yurek's group, put it this way: "They may be afraid that we don't support it. They could think they are doing us a favor."

There is some indication that Trump himself is wading more cautiously into the idea of exiting from Paris than he pronounced on the campaign trail, according to remarks he made on Tuesday to reporters at the New York Times, but it wasn't clear why. He did suggest that efforts to combat climate change would raise costs for companies.

Yurek and others plan to begin lobbying the Trump transition team to get across the idea of the HFC agreement being important, "not just for the environmental aspects," but also as a matter of trade and competition. …

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