Trump 2.0 Set To Gut Biden’s Energy and Climate Policies

Yves here. One of the big characteristics of the first Trump Administration was ineptitude and flailing around. For instance, the tax reform plan that Steven Mnuchin presented was a napkin doodle, when tax is a complex area and a decent level of specificity is needed. However, tax reform was a pet Republican issue, and the business lobby had not just various schemes, but fully worked up legislative language that they gave to Team Trump and the Administration took it up.

2024 is shaping up very differently. Many experts have pointed out that Trump is running a highly professional election campaign, which is a dramatic contrast to his 2016 bid. Similarly, the press is starting to report that a lot of interests, particularly business, say they could live with Trump if he wins. So Trump may also have less difficulty getting competent people to join his Administration. Competent = higher odds of success in implementing initiatives.

And we can see also that, again in contrast with 2016, Trump’s operatives and allies are already working through details of what they’d like to get done.

The lack of alarm about weak climate initiatives getting weaker is consistent with green transition advocates failing to adequately convey the urgency of the problem. This is not just due to the fossil fuel industry engaging in agnotology, but also the weird self-censorship of progressives regarding “negativity” and being willing to discuss hardship and difficult choices. It is also due to overselling the idea that piecemeal “feel good” changes in consumer buying habits would be remotely adequate to the scale of the problem. This is consistent with investors like JP Morgan abandoning climate change priorities and former enthusiast BlackRock weakening its commitment.

By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. Originally published at OilPrice

  • Former officials in the Trump Administration and Republican policy consultants are already drafting blueprints of energy and climate policies for a second Trump term in office.
  • All indications are that if Trump wins, he will make yet another U-turn in America’s energy and environmental policies.
  • The oil industry as a whole is looking at a second Trump term much more favorably than it does at the current Biden Administration.

Donald Trump, the most likely Republican presidential nominee, is set to overturn or at least try to dismantle many of President Joe Biden’s energy and climate policies if the former president wins the November election.

The Biden Administration’s methane rules, LNG export pause, EV mandates, federal oil and gas leasing, and even the Inflation Reduction Act will be all on the chopping block in a second Trump term in office.

Trump would look to boost oil, natural gas, and coal development in the United States and, once again, withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, Republican policy advisers tell Reuters.

As the Biden Administration is racing to finish environmental rules so that they cannot be unwound by either a Republican Congress or the White House, Trump’s campaign and advisers are preparing to dismantle many of the energy and climate policies in the first days of a second Trump presidency.

Federal Agencies Race to Finish Biden Rules

Federal agencies are expediting unfinished rules on environmental protection to make sure they can’t be gutted early next year via the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, an oversight tool Congress may use to overturn final rules issued by federal agencies, Politico reports.

The first Trump Administration used that act to gut several Obama-era federal agency rules. CRA allows Congress to overturn agency rules within 60 congressional session days of when a regulation is finalized and sent to the Capitol. This means that the deadline for finalizing the Biden Administration rules to keep them out of CRA reach could be as soon as May or June.

“It’s pedal to the metal time,” James Goodwin, a senior policy analyst at the liberal-leaning Center for Progressive Reform, told Politico.

Advisers Line Up Trump Energy Agenda

Former officials in the Trump Administration and Republican policy consultants are already drafting blueprints of energy and climate policies for a second Trump term in office. All indications are that if Trump wins, he will make yet another U-turn in America’s energy and environmental policies.

Shale tycoon Harold Hamm, Trump’s former National Economic Council Director, Larry Kudlow, former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and former senior adviser Kevin Hassett are some of the people with whom Trump is directly discussing energy policy issues, according to Reuters’ sources.

The oil industry as a whole is looking at a second Trump term much more favorably than it does at the current Biden Administration, which, U.S. oil and gas associations say, has waged war on America’s oil and gas sector and risks to undermine national security.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and other organizations have heavily criticized the Biden Administration for reducing oil and gas lease sales on federal lands to a historical low, new methane rules, and the freeze on permitting new U.S. LNG export facilities.

Although U.S. oil and gas production has been setting records under Biden, the industry acknowledges it is doing that despite – not thanks to – the current Administration.

The sector associations have frequently criticized Biden’s energy policies as “hostile” to the oil and gas industry and undermining the American economy and jobs.

In the latest Dallas Fed Energy Survey, an executive at an E&P firm said: “The administration’s continued war on the petroleum industry has an effect for sure, but we’re seeing that the real world needs our industry, and the public is trumping the downward pressure the administration is trying to maintain.”

What Will Trump Change?

If Trump wins the presidential election, he is sure to support the oil and gas industry by introducing more lease sales – after all, “drill, baby, drill” is a frequent campaign talking point, as is Biden’s EV mandate.

“On day one, I will end Crooked Joe Biden’s insane electric vehicle mandate,” Trump said at a rally last month.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is also under scrutiny for possible scrapping of tax breaks if Trump wins in November. However, this would first need a Republican-controlled Congress with both House and Senate. And even then, it could be difficult to scale back or scrap the incentives, as they mostly benefit projects and jobs in Republican states, analysts say.

The current pause on new permits for LNG export plants could also be undone by a Trump administration.

“A Trump administration could be expected to be more supportive of developers, allowing more export projects and ultimately boosting international sales of US gas,” Ed Crooks, Vice-Chair, Americas, at Wood Mackenzie, wrote in an analysis last month.

“A more active leasing programme could potentially boost production, but only in the longer term. It would be unrealistic to expect a change of administration to make a large and rapid difference to the supply side for US oil and gas,” Crooks noted.

Trump could actually influence U.S. fossil fuel demand more than supply, according to WoodMac.

A combination of scrapping the EV mandate and supporting domestic demand for fuels and natural gas “could make a material difference to US demand for oil and gas over time,” WoodMac Crooks says.

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  1. Vicky Cookies

    “Although U.S. oil and gas production has been setting records under Biden, the industry acknowledges it is doing that despite – not thanks to – the current Administration.”

    I wonder if this is histrionics from ‘the industry’. Biden gave us the Willow project, and American LNG exports, pause notwithstanding, will now supply Germany, thanks to Biden.

    1. JonnyJames

      Good point: It looks like BigOil has also made record profits under the JB regime, they should formally thank JB and the Bipartisan Consensus (one party rule) Congress for this, but that would not be good for appearances. We have to maintain the illusion of choice.

      JB, DT, – D or R it won’t make any difference. BigOil is heavily subsidized and largely tax exempt. They are an oligopoly/cartel: their price gouging and market manipulation are notorious.

      The phony histrionics is good for appearances and PR. Congress is institutionally corrupt and there is no functioning democracy to begin with, but we don’t want to admit that. USA has the Best Democracy Money Can Buy! USA #1!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Very good point, and that is why Trump is likely to be much more effective this time if elected. He looks set to advance long-standing R agendas.

      1. NotThePilot

        And honestly, that’s what worries me most about Trump 2.0, not that Biden is effectively different enough to justify a counter-vote, which is why I honestly expect the Dems to lose.

        Trump is Trump, and I still stand by the working theory that he overwhelmingly cares about his own ego. But he’s also great at working a crowd and can sense which way the wind blows in the moment. I swear if we could somehow surround the guy with a bunch of Quaker elders, anti-imperialists, and climate scientists, he might actually do an amazing job.

        Looks instead like we’re about to get Kudlow, Miller, Pompeo, and Pruitt redux (the law firm from hell).

  2. flora

    I’m sorry, but after the last 3 years the lesser of two weevils argument doesn’t work for me. Or rather it does work but not in the way the Dem estab hopes it works. I compare 4 years under T with the last 3 years under B and the two weevils thing isn’t working in the Dems’ favor. New wars, open border, increase in opioid o.d.s, cuts to social safety nets, ramping inflation, increasing job layoffs, etc. Fear monger away, Dems. B still owes me $600 bucks.

    (If B really wanted to cut oil use he’d get the US out of Syria and northern Iraq, oil country.)

      1. JonnyJames

        Not to mention, funding, cheer-leading and enabling the Genocide of Palestine has made Gaza a toxic hell. Plus, imposing illegal siege warfare on Venezuela, Cuba, Iran etc.

        Meanwhile, so called High Court in the UK makes a mockery of the so-called rule of law and looks to Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition. It looks like he will be extradited to a US gulag to die in prison.

        DT, JB regimes both work against freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and basic human rights and support kleptocratic oligarchy.
        It won’t make a dime’s worth of difference which geriatric freak or which of the Bipartisan Consensus has a majority in Congress.

    1. Dolly

      Trump is honest. “We are in Syria to keep the oil.”

      “Trump: Hindsight is 20-20.”

      Seeing that on the back of Twenty Dollar bills with an arrow pointing at little stick figure of him looking out of the West Wing Window.

      Marku, We’ll know they are serious about climate change when they tax private jet fuel, which is now exempted.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        There is not enough oil in that Syrian oil field to matter to America. We are in Syria to keep the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic from being able to have that oil, in order to starve and delay Syrian reconstruction as much as possible.

        The “keep Syria’s oil” policy is based on pure hateful spite.

  3. griffen

    Not covered here obviously, the tax policy could be a biggie should firstly, Joe Biden win a reelection campaign. I’ve only seen or heard this briefly mentioned, so I need to personally dig into the weeds here. The Trump tax cuts from 2017 are scheduled to sunset at the end of 2025. Individual tax rates would be set to fluctuate, as well as other adjustments. Corporate tax rates would, or appear to be scheduled for an increase from the current flat level as well. American consumers, that is more consideration to add on top of pocket book concerns that have only expanded or worsened in the past 2 to 2.5 years. So projecting somewhat, I’d suggest higher tax rates and higher mortgage rates / consumer loan rates in a possible Biden second term. Thanks Joe !

    As for any policy changes to energy and green initiatives, if the John Kerry wing of Democrats are for it then it will get tossed into the dustbin.

  4. Pat

    Nothing is ever good enough for the oil industry. As far as I can see Biden’s agenda is largely a payout to other industries. And I hate to say it, but even if Biden and Trump were replaced on the ballot it wouldn’t much matter. Because no one is really going to make more than token changes to the system. Changing the party at the top only determines scale and the biggest winners and minor losers in the powers that be. Climate and the public always lose.

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      I agree. Look at unconventional oil under Obama and Biden and coal under Trump. Market and geopolitical forces mattered much more in the big picture. Oil production hit a new record under Biden and coal fell under Trump. There will be some more pollution under Trump presumably. If real action was taken on FFs the economy would scream. Not voting for genocide Joe over that or anything else though. Voting green again or for no one at the top. Not that we have any sort of real democracy anyway; I guess I vote as some sort of ritual to an ideal

    2. Jams O'Donnell

      “if Biden and Trump were replaced on the ballot it wouldn’t much matter. Because no one is really going to make more than token changes to the system”

      As fa as I can make out, this applies to everything of real importance.

  5. Chris Smith

    Biden has already begun to walk back his EV program. See here for instance. Add to that the materials aren’t there for a transition to EV. See here

    As for the rest of climate change, all I have seen in my lifetime are unenforced agreements like Kyoto and Paris, which set moderate goals that nonetheless get blown past when their deadlines roll around.

    Bluntly, I think Biden’s climate policies are pure BS, and that there is nothing to “gut” except the lip service.

    1. ISL

      The PMC focuses on narrative control as opposed to serious policies, which also have serious costs. Then blame adopting Republican-favored policies on the latest Manchin.

      Of course atmospheric chemistry does not pay attention to narrative, and eventually (as in Ukraine) reality asserts itself.

      Given how overwhelmingly skewed the power balance has moved towards the administration over legislative or even judicial, it seems unlikely that the Dems can lock in anything (assuming they actually want to lock something in rather than appear to be doing something, while actually doing nothing).

  6. Rob Urie

    The ‘recycling fraud’ that has wasted weeks and months of our lives segregating, cleaning, and placing at the curbside bottles and containers is instructive here.

    In the 1970s the oil and gas industry (plastics) petitioned Congress to allow it to replace more expensive to produce metal and glass containers with plastics.

    An elaborate graphic was produced to suggest that all plastics were / are recyclable when only about 5% are actually recycled.

    This had the effect of greatly reducing the proportion of actually recyclable metal and glass containers by replacing them with plastics.

    The point: the Federal government, acting for the benefit of its corporate benefactors, perpetrated a fraud against the American people using the ruse of environmental resolution.

    While this has no necessary bearing on environmental legislation going forward, it does have contingent bearing.

    Of current relevance is that the policies needed to actually solve environmental woes haven’t even been articulated in US policy circles, let alone proposed as legislation.

    The better-than-nothing approach taken by the ‘environmental industry’ (only in America) to date seems intended to perpetuate environmental woes under the ruse of solving them.

    A necessary first step toward solving these problems is to fully account for what is causing them, where they stand, and what the available options for ending them are.

    The political party competition frame is not useful in this regard.

    Sure, the Republicans are as their critics describe them. The future looks incredibly grim.

    The only thing worse is adding multiple wars to the mix, as the Democrats have done.

    1. Neutrino

      Side effects on health like microplastics will plague Americans and others around the world. That is just one unintended consequence of so much legislation. How many others have domestic or foreign impacts that are minimized or ignored?

      The discussion about rules that can’t be unwound is another area that should sound alarm bells for voters. How many are aware of the those? Their representatives, and the media, don’t seem to want to tell them, so who is serving whom?

    2. JonnyJames

      Yeah, not to mention that Bush Jr. and the gang committed multiple high crimes and launched the destruction of entire countries based on a pack of willful, transparent lies and cost trillions.

      Those dudes were Rs not Ds. Like you say, it makes no difference.

  7. Socal Rhino

    What happens to neocon policies regarding, say, the Black Sea under Trump 2.0? Whatever the possible benefits of the IRA, the conflict in Ukraine had not been neutral for energy or environment, same with west Asia including energy used in shipping avoiding the Red Sea.

    As a prominent world leader recently opined, elite opinion in the US is what matters, much more than who occupies the Oval Office.

  8. i just dont like the gravy

    Please keep releasing CO2 I am acquiring vast swaths of Canadian boreal forest real estate looking to clear cut it and start palm oil plantations in about 50 years

  9. Michael Fiorillo

    Wait, I thought Biden’s climate strategy involved bombing the underwater gas pipelines of our allies…

  10. mrsyk

    As the Biden Administration is racing to finish environmental rules so that they cannot be unwound….
    This particular bit annoys me because it’s dishonest framework and causes me to question the motivation behind the essay.

  11. Rubicon

    At this point in time and because the US never, ever became an authentic civilization, you can’t fix “stupid.” We’ve simply accepted this fact.

  12. Craig Dempsey

    One environmentalist woke up, and last year published Breaking Together: A Freedom Loving Response to Collapse (Jem Bendell, 2023). He argues the collapse of global industrial society is already underway (since before 2016), and the best we can do in our dysfunctional world is to be kind to our neighbors and work on our bucket lists. If you check the link, you can get a free download of his book at the end of the article.

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