OTTAWA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday he doubted whether Donald Trump could undo much of the current administration’s record on the environment because so many green policies have firmly taken hold.
Trump, who will take over as president on Jan. 20, has said he does not believe in global warming and will name a climate change skeptic, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Republican is expected to nominate another climate change skeptic, U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, to head the Interior Department, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday.
Democratic President Barack Obama has made the fight against global warming a priority, and Biden said businesses now realized his policies made sense economically.
“There is a constituency that crosses party lines. Regardless of whether the next administration is as aggressive as we have been - and I‘m not suggesting they intend to - there is no way to turn back this tide that has begun to roll,” the vice president told a Canadian environmental summit.
The Obama administration has lifted vehicle fuel standards, invested heavily in renewable energy, pushed to curb methane gas emissions and adopted a Clean Power Plan that requires states to cut carbon output.
Biden said that in some parts of the United States it was now cheaper to use solar or wind power rather than rely on power stations fueled by coal or gas.
Company executives were starting to price in carbon emissions reduction while motorists enjoyed not having to refuel their vehicles as often, he said.
“Reality has a way of intruding,” he said. “Whatever uncertainly exists around the near-term policy choices of the next president, I am absolutely confident the United States will continue making progress on this path to a low-carbon future.”
“And that’s because many of the trends I’ve mentioned have taken hold and are no longer dependent on government initiatives. They are market-driven, they are common sense.”
Trump has vowed that within his first 100 days in office he will rescind the Clean Power Plan, eliminate “unwarranted restrictions” on hydraulic fracturing oil-drilling technology, cut “outdated” regulations, and pull the country out of a global pact to curb warming of the planet.
Biden said, “One of the things the president and I are proudest of accomplishing over the last eight years is debunking the myth that America can’t grow our economy and bring down emissions at the same time.”.
Among those in the audience for Biden’s remarks was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is also taking an aggressive stance on climate change. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)