June 19, 2017 – As if withdrawing from the Paris Accords wasn’t enough, the Trump administration just went one better and closed an office dedicated to international cooperation on climate change and clean energy tech. The Office of International Climate and Clean Energy might have been small — all of its 11 employees have been given pink slips — but it had an important function. According to its still extant website, the office was “the focal point for international climate change and clean energy activities.” The site goes on to say that the office “also develops and implements international climate and clean energy initiatives consistent with administration policy objectives.” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was at a premiere event, The Clean Energy Ministerial, when the president announced the decision to drop the Paris agreement.
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.
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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.
The Department of Energy has responded to the Times story, saying that closing the office solved redundancies and that Secretary Perry remains committed to working with other nations on clean energy issues.
Read more installments in our series “While He was Tweeting” — keeping an eye on Trump’s wrecking ball.
Republished from Moyers & Company: http://billmoyers.com/story/energy-department-turns-off-the-lights-on-overseas-climate-office/