Trump signals big shift on energy, climate policies

New York, United StatesUpdated: Jan 20, 2017, 08:41 PM IST

Trump also aims to "revive America's coal industry, which has been hurting for too long," the statement said. Photograph:(AFP)

US President Donald Trump signaled a sharp break on energy and the environment policy Friday, announcing plans to undo climate policies and promote domestic energy development as part of his "America First" agenda.

A statement on the White House website, posted shortly after Trump took the oath of office, said he was "committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan" advocated by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump also will focus on removing hurdles to domestic energy development that he argues will make the US independent of foreign oil.

"The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans," the statement said.

"President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy."

Trump also aims to "revive America's coal industry, which has been hurting for too long," the statement said.

The website makeover was part of the transition of power to the new administration.

During his two terms, Obama made the environment a cornerstone of his policies, including the landmark Paris climate agreement in December 2015 signed by nearly 200 countries, and policies to encourage renewable energy through actions to limit emissions and promote investment in new technology.

Trump during the campaign dismissed climate change as a "hoax" perpetrated by China. But since the election he and his cabinet designees have sent mixed signals on climate policies and the Paris accord.

The White House acknowledged that protecting the environment also was a priority and said the administration would "refocus" the Environmental Protection Agency on "its essential mission of protecting our air and water."

The statement drew sharp criticism from the environmental group Friends of the Earth.

"This is just the beginning. Trump has announced his intentions. If we let him get away with it, what's next? Gutting the EPA? Drilling for oil on our public lands in the Arctic?"