Energy Department To Close Office Of International Climate And Technology

In response to the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement earlier this month, the Energy Department is shutting down the Office of International Climate and Technology, a department that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology.

An agency spokesman tried to justify the Energy Department shutting down the office by stating that the DOE is “looking for ways to consolidate the many duplicative programs that currently exist within DOE,” thus the Office of International Climate and Technology is getting the chop.

The 11-person office has been in operation since 2010, operating as a means for the U.S. to work with international partners on energy sector technology in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. The employees of the Office of International Climate and Technology also play a large part in the Clean Energy Ministerial, a conference for high-polluting nations to focus on making the energy sector greener.

DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said there are numerous international offices within the Energy Department that could take on the work of the Office of International Climate and Technology, however, she failed to acknowledge whether one actually would.

“The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has an International Affairs team, while the International Affairs Office has a renewables team,” Hynes said. “The Department is looking for ways to eliminate this kind of unnecessary duplication — just like any responsible American business would.”

The closing of this particular office is most likely a direct result of Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, which slashes funding for both the DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency, particularly cuts for climate change initiatives and research efforts. Naturally, environmentalists are horrified by the news of the international office’s closure.

“Willfully ignoring the climate crisis is recklessly and unnecessarily dangerous for families and communities across the country, and it’s clear that Trump will stop at nothing to completely isolate the United States and irreparably damage our reputation with the rest of the world,” said John Coequyt, the global climate policy director at the Sierra Club. “Ignorance is not diplomacy, and if Trump were acting like a leader, he would know that.”

Hynes responded by saying that the Trump administration is not bringing an end to its clean energy efforts, drawing particular attention to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s support for carbon capture storage and nuclear energy efforts at a recent Clean Energy Ministerial.

Featured image via Kevin Frayer/Getty Images