Biden does not see Trump undoing much of environmental record

OTTAWA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday he doubted whether Donald Trump could undo much of the current administration's record on the environment because so many green policies have firmly taken hold.

Trump, who will take over as president on Jan. 20, has said he does not believe in global warming and will name a climate change skeptic, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Republican is expected to nominate another climate change skeptic, U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, to head the Interior Department, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Democratic President Barack Obama has made the fight against global warming a priority, and Biden said businesses now realized his policies made sense economically.

Related: Trump picks his cabinet

Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon


Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

"There is a constituency that crosses party lines. Regardless of whether the next administration is as aggressive as we have been - and I'm not suggesting they intend to - there is no way to turn back this tide that has begun to roll," the vice president told a Canadian environmental summit.

The Obama administration has lifted vehicle fuel standards, invested heavily in renewable energy, pushed to curb methane gas emissions and adopted a Clean Power Plan that requires states to cut carbon output.

Biden said that in some parts of the United States it was now cheaper to use solar or wind power rather than rely on power stations fueled by coal or gas.

Company executives were starting to price in carbon emissions reduction while motorists enjoyed not having to refuel their vehicles as often, he said.

"Reality has a way of intruding," he said. "Whatever uncertainly exists around the near-term policy choices of the next president, I am absolutely confident the United States will continue making progress on this path to a low-carbon future."

"And that's because many of the trends I've mentioned have taken hold and are no longer dependent on government initiatives. They are market-driven, they are common sense."

Trump has vowed that within his first 100 days in office he will rescind the Clean Power Plan, eliminate "unwarranted restrictions" on hydraulic fracturing oil-drilling technology, cut "outdated" regulations, and pull the country out of a global pact to curb warming of the planet.

Biden said, "One of the things the president and I are proudest of accomplishing over the last eight years is debunking the myth that America can't grow our economy and bring down emissions at the same time.".

Among those in the audience for Biden's remarks was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is also taking an aggressive stance on climate change.

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