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Climate Roundup, Mar. 10, 2017

1. Media have been reporting for a week now that the White House is preparing to roll back fuel economy and tailpipe pollution rules, as well as the Clean Power Plan, which curbs carbon pollution from existing power plants. The administration is also wrestling with whether to back out of the Paris climate accord or just find other ways to subvert it, like weakening the U.S. pledge (paywall).

2. Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three felonies for deliberately cheating on emissions tests, which enabled it to sell cars that spew 40 times the pollution permitted by law, killing an estimated 60 people in the U.S. (Public Citizen statement here.)

3. EPA chief Scott Pruitt is “stacking” the agency with climate deniers, and on Thursday he contradicted the long-standing scientific consensus on climate change by saying CO2 is not a primary contributor to global warming. Perhaps related: The EPA Office of Science and Technology deleted the statement that its rules are “science-based” and substituted the phrase “economically and technologically feasible.” And a key environmental justice advocate left the EPA after nearly 25 years of service.

4. Multiple members of EPA’s new climate-denial brigade have worked for Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who infamously tossed a snowball on the Senate floor on Feb. 26, 2015 to disprove global warming. (See — snow! In February! Get it . . . ?) Two years later, scientists have concluded that climate change is the culprit in 2017’s early spring. We haven’t heard a peep about it from Sen. Inhofe.

5. Public Citizen called for an investigation of whether Trump adviser Carl Icahn or his associates violated the law by failing to disclose lobbying activities. Icahn is advocating a change to the Renewable Fuel Standard that would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to one of his companies. Icahn fired back by terming Public Citizen’s request a “witch hunt” and calling for an investigation of the “dark forces” behind it. Politico reports that Icahn also might have run afoul of government ethics rules (paywall).

6. The White House and ExxonMobil shared a press release touting ongoing investments by the company in Louisiana and Texas, with Trump claiming credit for job creation in projects that date back to 2013. Yours truly called the episode a trifecta of cronyism, dishonesty, and incompetence.

7. While we’re talking about the swamp, DesmogBlog reports that congressional committees are “loaded with ex-fossil-fuel lobbyists.”

8. But Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, has been positive on climate change in the past.

Finally, some sunnier (and windier) news:

9. The Solar Energy Industries Association says the U.S. solar PV market nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016, with most of the growth in utility installations, and says the country added more generation capacity from solar than any other source.

10. A study by Navigant Consulting says U.S. wind-industry jobs could grow from 100,000 at present to nearly 250,000 by 2020.

11. NPR’s All Things Considered reports on how Georgetown, TX went 100% renewable.