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Tim Profeta is the founding director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. The Nicholas Institute is part of Duke University and focuses on improving environmental policy making worldwide through objective, fact-based research in the areas of climate change, the economics of limiting carbon pollution, oceans governance and coastal management, emerging environmental markets and freshwater concerns at home and abroad.

In his role at the Nicholas Institute, Profeta has continued to use his experience on Capitol Hill to engage in climate change debates. His research has focused, specifically, on market-based approaches to environmental regulations—particularly energy and climate change policy. Other projects engage his expertise in environmental law and air pollution regulation under the Clean Air Act.

Appeals Court Pauses Litigation over Clean Power Plan

Last week President Donald Trump’s bid to rescind the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which seeks to regulate emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, was made easier by a Court of Appeals ruling that put a 26-state lawsuit challenging the plan on hold for 60 days without deciding on the plan’s legality. That decision followed…

Trump Evaluating Stance on Paris Agreement

Administration officials are reported to be meeting at the White House today to deliberate on whether the United States should stay in or exit the Paris Agreement, the global accord to address global warming. Although candidate Trump said he would “cancel” U.S. participation, eight Republican House colleagues are urging President Trump to take a different…

EPA Administrator Says United States Should Exit Paris Agreement

In an interview last week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Scott Pruitt said that the United States should “exit” the Paris Agreement—the first time such a high-ranking Trump administration official has so explicitly rejected the global accord to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts…

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program Survives Legal Challenge

Last week, California’s Cap-and-Trade Program to reduce carbon emissions was handed a victory when a state appeals court ruled that program’s auction of emissions permits does not constitute an illegal tax because the program is voluntary and the emissions permits have value. In a 2–1 vote, the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District…

EPA Budget Cut Priorities Outlined in Internal Document

An internal budget draft shows how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to meet Trump’s FY2018 Budget submission to Congress, which reduces EPA spending 31 percent. The memo repeatedly portrays climate as outside the EPA’s core statutory requirements. It focuses instead on funding “core legal requirements,” scrapping 56 programs dealing with scientific research, climate…

Trump Executive Order Takes Focus off Climate Change

President Donald Trump signed a long anticipated executive order greatly diminishing the role climate change plays in U.S. government decision making by directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review the Clean Power Plan, which sets limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil-fuel fired power plants. The order directs each executive department and…

Carbon Tax Not on Agenda for Trump

President Donald Trump is not considering a national carbon tax proposal that a group of Republicans discussed in February. A White House official told GreenWire in an e-mail that although the group of Republican leaders visited the White House to discuss their proposal that “the Trump Administration is not considering a carbon tax.” The plan…

Trump’s Detroit Visit Focuses on Fuel Standards

President Donald Trump announced in Detroit Wednesday that standards requiring automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 will be reviewed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards as a single program alongside the Department of Transportation’s fuel economy rules, popularly…

Executive Orders Expected on Climate Rules as Trump Contemplates Paris Agreement Fate

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dismantle Obama-era climate rules, including the Clean Power Plan, which sets limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil-fuel fired power plants. Originally expected this week, GreenWire reports that according to a White House official the order…

Trump Speech to Congress Focuses Little on Energy, Climate

In his first address to Congress Tuesday night, President Donald Trump touted accomplishments since taking office in January—including withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, ordering construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and nominating conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Crime, immigration, trade and health care dominated the speech, with little focus…

Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA

Friday, in a 52-46 vote, the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt was sworn in that evening. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt filed 14 lawsuits challenging EPA regulations, including limits on carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Many of the cases are pending in…

Congressional Review Act Used to Repeal Energy Disclosure Rule as Trump Cabinet Members Await Vote

The Congressional Review Act was used to repeal a rule that forced energy companies on the U.S. stock exchanges to disclose the royalties and other payments that oil, natural gas, coal and mineral companies make to governments in an effort to fight corruption in resource-rich countries. President Donald Trump signed legislation to scrap the rule,…

Obama Administration Environmental Rules in Crosshairs; Republican Group Proposes Carbon Tax

Using a rarely invoked Congressional Review Act, Congress has paved the way for President Donald Trump to roll back three Obama-era environmental regulations. On Thursday, the Senate, in a 54-45 vote, gave final legislative approval to a measure repealing a new rule aimed at preventing the dumping of coal mining debris into nearby streams. When…

Clean Air Act, Other Environmental Regulations Potentially Targeted by New Executive Order

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an order that will require federal agencies to cut two existing regulations for every new rule and that will set an annual cap on the cost of new regulations with the exceptions of military and national security regulations. For fiscal year 2017, the cap will require that the cost…

White House Scrubs Mentions of Climate Change, Tells EPA to Do Same, Then Backtracks

Shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration as 45th president of the United States, a revamped White House website announced the new administration’s intention.” That same day, Reuters reported that all references to climate change had been removed from the WhiteHouse.gov site, and the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder tweeted that the URL to the climate change…