Pershing is now trying to lock in the U.S. side of the accord, which requires all nations to develop public plans detailing how they would cut carbon emissions through at least 2025. Oddly enough, Trump’s own hand-picked new energy czar, Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, agrees that his boss can do only so much damage. Cramer, in an interview with me in late May, was notably noncommittal when I asked him if Trump would simply renege on the Paris accord. He noted that Trump has said at a minimum that he’d “renegotiate” it, and he made the point that this is how Trump has approached past business negotiations, starting from an extreme position.
“I think you might see him pivot away” from his hard-line stance on scrapping the agreement altogether, Cramer told POLITICO.
Even Trump himself appears to be conceding some ground on the pact, saying at a minimum he will “rein it in as much as possible.” It all feels rather made-up-as-he-goes-along: Cramer, known as an energy hawk who wants to cut “punitive” fees on oil—but also wants to see more of a federal role for selling power across state lines—says he had spoken to Trump only twice before the campaign tapped him. One was on a radio talk show in early April, Cramer says, and then again a couple weeks later when Trump came to Washington to deliver a foreign policy speech.