In a series of recent conversations with industry groups and European officials, Trump advisers have said the White House decision on the Paris deal could hinge on international willingness to come up with a strategy to commercialize and deploy technologies that will reduce emissions from fossil fuels.
That may not sit well with Democrats and environmental groups, who have long argued against spending billions of dollars to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants when the same money could help speed the transition to wind and solar power. But such a deal could avoid the enormous disruption that would result if the United States, the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, walked away from the most comprehensive international agreement ever crafted on global warming.
Administration officials who want to stay in the 2015 Paris agreement believe that creating a future pathway for fuels like coal is the only way to win support from conservative and industry groups that want the U.S. to withdraw from the accord. And some fossil fuel supporters are beginning to come around, despite their overall skepticism toward the climate pact.
“If the world can’t go on without us in the Paris accord — that’s a bit of an overstatement, but to illustrate my point — then perhaps we ought to be in it,” said Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a pro-oil lawmaker who advised the Trump campaign on energy issues. “And if we have that much influence, perhaps we have enough influence to moderate it.”
In recent weeks, administration officials have met with many of the country’s major energy companies and trade groups. Those who have talked to the administration include representatives from the American Petroleum Institute, as well as the Independent Petroleum Association of America, ConocoPhillips and coal company Peabody Energy, among others, according to people familiar with the meetings.
A White House spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the administration did not yet have any announcements to make regarding the Paris agreement.