As the world continues to grapple with yesterday’s stunning election results, many Americans want to know what the United States will look like under a Trump presidency and what policies he will pursue. Given his lack of specifics during the campaign, it’s hard to know for sure.
But one area that can be particularly helpful in determining Trump’s policy goals is his transition team – the people helping him choose his future government. In the area of climate change and environmental policy, his choices spell big trouble.
According to a report from Scientific American, Trump has chosen “one of the best-known climate skeptics” to run his EPA transition team.
His choice, Myron Ebell, who is the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute, calls climate change “nothing to worry about” and questions whether humans contribute to it.
Let me repeat: the guy running Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team thinks climate change isn’t anything worth sweating over.
More from the report:
Ebell is a well-known and polarizing figure in the energy and environment realm. His participation in the EPA transition signals that the Trump team is looking to drastically reshape the climate policies the agency has pursued under the Obama administration. Ebell’s role is likely to infuriate environmentalists and Democrats but buoy critics of Obama’s climate rules.
Ebell, who was dubbed an “elegant nerd” and a “policy wonk” by Vanity Fair, is known for his prolific writings that question what he calls climate change “alarmism.” He appears frequently in the media and before Congress. He’s also chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group of nonprofits that “question global warming alarmism and oppose energy-rationing policies.”
Ebell appears to relish criticism from the left.
In a biography submitted when he testified before Congress, he listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in a Greenpeace “Field Guide to Climate Criminals,” dubbed a “misleader” on global warming by Rolling Stone and was the subject of a motion to censure in the British House of Commons after Ebell criticized the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser for his views on global warming.
More recently, Ebell has called the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan for greenhouse gases illegal and said that Obama joining the Paris climate treaty “is clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the Senate’s authority.”
The choice of Ebell is just one alarming pick Trump has made when it comes to his environmental team. The president-elect has also tapped a GOP lobbyist, Mike McKenna, to lead his Department of Energy transition team.
You know those lobbyists and special interests Trump slammed throughout the campaign? Well, now they’re choosing who will run his White House.
With these decisions alone, two things are becoming apparent:
1. Donald Trump’s energy policy is likely to undo all the progress made under President Obama, including massive investments in green energy that have pushed America toward energy independence and a historic international climate agreement. If you don’t believe climate change is a problem, you’re not going to try to tackle it.
2. Trump is shaping up to be a standard right-wing shill, owned by the very elites and lobbyists in his own party that he spent over a year attacking. He won’t turn the system upside down; the system will turn him upside down.
In any case, the incoming Trump administration is likely to be a disaster for the environmental health of the planet, and that should alarm any American who cares about the one planet we all share.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.