Trump’s en­ergy poli­cies yet to be de­fined: Ex­pert

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion will trig­ger a race among jour­nal­ists, an­a­lysts and traders to ex­plain what it means for en­ergy pol­icy and mar­kets.

But the pres­i­dent-elect does not yet have clearly formed poli­cies on most en­ergy is­sues so the im­pli­ca­tions will be­come clear only in the weeks and months ahead as he starts to build an ad­min­is­tra­tion. En­ergy an­a­lysts tend to make the mis­take of as­sum­ing that ev­ery­one thinks about the de­tail of en­ergy pol­icy as much as they do them­selves.

Trump’s en­ergy-re­lated poli­cies are prob­a­bly not even known in de­tail to the pres­i­dent-elect him­self much less know­able by any­one else.

In con­trast to his ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton, who con­ducted a clas­sic pro­gram­matic cam­paign, ac­com­pa­nied by highly de­tailed en­ergy poli­cies, Trump mounted a val­ues-based cam­paign, with few de­tailed com­mit­ments. Some of the broad con­tours of Trump’s en­ergy agenda can be dis­cerned from his state­ments as a can­di­date and com­ments made by his ad­vis­ers.

Trump has promised to end the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “war on coal” and over­turn un­nec­es­sary fed­eral reg­u­la­tions on oil, gas and coal pro­duc­tion.

Trump has also promised to over­turn the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Clean Power Plan, which is be­ing lit­i­gated in the courts. Trump is far less con­cerned about global warm­ing and cli­mate change than ei­ther his ri­val or the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He wants to take a much tougher line on Iran, which may in­clude the reim­po­si­tion of nu­clear-re­lated and other sanc­tions.

Trump also wants big tax cuts and a busi­ness-friendly pro-growth agenda, though that is com­pli­cated by his in­stinc­tive pro­tec­tion­ism and hos­til­ity to trade agree­ments.

In gen­eral, a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is likely to be much friend­lier to­wards oil, gas and coal pro­duc­ers, and less re­cep­tive to ar­gu­ments from re­new­able en­ergy and clean tech­nol­ogy firms.

Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion will pay closer at­ten­tion to the con­cerns of the Amer­i­can Pe­tro­leum In­sti­tute and less to ar­gu­ments from green groups such as the Nat­u­ral Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil.

The rhetoric of en­ergy pol­icy will un­dergo a trans­for­ma­tion as the fo­cus shifts from cli­mate change to en­ergy se­cu­rity and af­ford­abil­ity. But it is much less clear how far and how fast en­ergy pol­icy will change in prac­tice be­cause the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion will face for­mi­da­ble in­sti­tu­tional con­straints to its free­dom of ac­tion and dif­fi­cult pol­icy trade-offs. —Reuters

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