Trump’s energy policies yet to be defined: Expert
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