Some big American coal companies have advised President Donald Trump’s administration to break his promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement — arguing that the accord could provide their best forum for protecting their global interests.
Remaining in the global deal to combat climate change will give U.S. negotiators a chance to advocate for coal in the future of the global energy mix, coal companies like Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp. told White House officials over the past few weeks, according to executives and a U.S. official familiar with the discussions.
“The future is foreign markets, so the last thing you want to do if you are a coal company is to give up a U.S. seat in the international climate discussions and let the Europeans control the agenda,” said the official.
In Cloud Peak’s view, staying in the agreement and trying to encourage “a more balanced, reasonable and appropriate path forward” on fossil fuel technologies among signatories to the accord seems like a reasonable stance.
The coal industry is interested in ensuring that the Paris deal provides a role for low-emission coal-fired power plants and financial support for carbon capture and storage technology, the officials said. They also want the pact to protect multilateral funding for international coal projects through bodies like the World Bank.