Two of the top U.S. coal companies reportedly asked the White House to back down on President Trump’s vow to pull out of the landmark Paris climate pact, arguing that the deal could protect its global interests.
Cloud Peak Energy and Peabody Energy executives told White House officials over the last few weeks that staying in the climate deal may give U.S. negotiators a change to advocate for coal in the future, Reuters reported Tuesday.
"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," a U.S. official familiar with the talks told Reuters. "They can’t afford for the most powerful advocate for fossil fuels to be away from the table.”
Richard Reavey, Cloud Peak’s vice president of government affairs, said staying in the accord and trying to create a “reasonable path forward” on fossil fuel technologies is a reasonable stance.
Officials said the coal industry wants to ensure the Paris deal provides a financial role for storage technology as well as role for low-emission coal-powered plants. The industry also hopes the agreement would protect multilateral funding for global coal projects through international bodies like the World Bank, Reuters reported.
Sources told Reuters in March that Trump’s administration had contacted U.S. energy companies to seek their input about their views on the accord. The sources said many companies would prefer the U.S. remained in the deal, but would also support reducing the country’s commitments in the deal.
Press Secretary Sean Spier said last week that a decision on whether to remain in the deal would be made during the G7 meeting in May.
Trump promised during his presidential campaign to pull the U.S. out of the pact. Trump signed an executive order last week that initiated the unravelling of the Obama administration’s sweeping plan to curb global warming.