U.S. President Donald Trump’s decisions to get two stalled pipeline projects moving again, to promote shale oil and gas and to remove references to climate change on the White House’s website are bad for the world, a leading French minister said.
“These are very bad decisions for the future of the planet,” Environment and Energy Minister Segolene Royal said Wednesday on RMC radio. “I hope they aren’t definitive. If the production of fossil energies gain in the U.S., it will contribute to global warming.”
Trump took steps to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, while stopping short of green lighting either. He put a deadline on the government’s review of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL to transport Alberta oil sands crude to U.S. refineries.
The moves, taken on Trump’s fourth full day in office, are a major departure from Barack Obama’s administration, which rejected the Keystone proposal in 2015 and has kept Dakota Access blocked since September. Environmentalists, concerned about climate change and damage to water and land, now face an executive branch that’s less sympathetic to their efforts. For the oil industry, it heralds more freedom to expand infrastructure and ease transportation bottlenecks.
Royal, whose ministerial tenure will end when France elects a new president in May, said she hopes the views of American and other scientists on climate change will prevail. The U.S. may exit the Paris climate accord that’s been ratified by 126 countries, Royal said, but the deal to “fight” against fossil fuels and air pollution “is irreversible” and will continue with U.S. states, companies and investment funds.
Trump has pledged to drop out of the Paris climate accord and cut funding for United Nations climate programs. He’s skeptical of the science behind global warming, famously Tweeting in 2012 that it’s a hoax perpetrated by China to make U.S. manufacturers less competitive.