Trump Demands List of Energy Dept. Staff Supporting Climate Change Policies

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*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

As if any American needed another reminder, or revelation that the incoming administration is already hewing closely to the machinations that elevated Hitler’s Nazis to power in 1930’s Germany, a troubling report should bring them some much-needed clarity; clarity they wouldn’t need if they had paid attention during history lessons.

Trump has already demonstrated a despicable practice of going to social media to reveal to his rabid minions who is on his personal (s)hit list, but now he is going after more than just any one individual who fails to genuflect at the sound of his name; he’s compiling a list of government employees he, Republicans, the Koch brothers, and the fossil fuel industry regard as “un-friendlies.”

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Trump has directed his transition team to pursue government employees and contractors who, as part of their civil service duties, were associated with any of President Obama’s climate policies. Bloomberg reported that Trump demanded a “list of Energy Department employees and contractors who worked on key Obama climate policies, attended any United Nations climate meetings,” or have anything to do with the “social cost of carbon.”

Forget for a moment that there is no legitimate reason for a private citizen like Trump to ask for a “detailed list” of Energy Department employees, or contractors, except for retribution and vengeance. The vengeance is part of Trump’s pledge to fossil fuel to completely wipe out any and all of America’s attempts to fight climate change or promote clean and renewable energy sources. Trump believes the Energy Department exists to set energy policies dictated by the petroleum industry. It is worth noting that besides taking vengeance on Energy Department employees, Trump’s administration promises to be extremely hostile to clean and renewable energy and any federal or state regulation seeking to curb carbon emissions responsible for climate change.

The “social cost of carbon” is a metric used to calculate the concrete (real) benefits of certain climate policies that reduce carbon emissions. Fundamentally, the “metric” elucidates the real economic cost and damages associated with carbon emissions; damages that are seriously significant to national security and the people’s health and welfare. Currently, the social cost of carbon is used for various kinds of rule-making, whether it is from the Department of Energy to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Obviously, not only do Republicans criticize the metric as surrogates for the Kochs and fossil fuel industry, dirty Don’s oil industry “energy advisors have made no secret of their desire to kill the metric altogether.” It belies the Trump claim that they want “transparency” in energy policy; a policy that will certainly be the purview of fossil fuel who will likely tell Americans that more carbon emissions will create an economic Utopia, ensure lifelong good health, and bring Jesus Christ back to Earth.

Trump’s team is lying when they claim demanding an “enemies” list of government employees and contractors is to instill some much-needed “transparency” in setting energy policy. As expected, two “anonymous” Energy Department employees told Bloomberg that the Trump memo “sent to agency staff unsettled many within the agency,” and with good reason. However, that is when one of Trump’s disciples lied and said the “enemies list” demand was merely meant to “ensure transparency on the formation of existing, Obama-era policy.”

Here’s the thing, though; Trump concealing the real cost, and real damage, to the economy, national security and Americans’ health in eliminating the “social cost of carbon” is contrary to any remote idea of transparency. He is every bit as deceitful as he is vindictive.

In addition to Gestapo-like tactics of seeking information about specific staff and contractors Trump considers “enemies,” the memo specifically singled out the Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) unit; the “unit” responsible for expediting “research and development of clean energy projects.” As Bloomberg reported, Trump’s brown shirts demanded “a complete list of ARPA-E’s projects,” including all specific information on “Mission Innovation;” likely so they will know exactly which projects and innovations to conceal from the public and private sector so they can eliminate them from existence.

Mission Innovation is an “agency initiative to assist and accelerate the public’s and private industry’s transition to clean energy;” the fossil fuel industry and Republicans want clean energy transition halted forthwith including extracting American involvement from a global forum, “Clean Energy Ministerial” that aims at advancing clean energy technologies around the world.

As ThinkProgress’ Natasha Geiling noted, that Trump’s oil advisors are focusing on ARPA-E informs his determination Trump will follow through on a campaign promise to the fossil fuel industry to eradicate any and all federal funding for clean energy development. That should help the majority of Trump’s racist supporters understand that their hero is just another Republican oil industry shill; “75 percent of Trump voters want the federal government to help accelerate the growth of clean energy — not kill it.”

This entire episode is revealing on several levels and portends a seriously nasty fossil-fuel controlled government. However, it also demonstrates the lengths Trump will go to purge anyone he considers an “enemy;” enemy being anyone who does not support Trump policies.

That his “team” demanded a “detailed list” of Energy Department employees and contractors present over the eight years of the Obama administration, when vengeful Trump is still a stinking private citizen does not bode well for anyone in the department. This idea of an enemies list is very disturbing and not the first for the Trump. There is a list of “progressive professors” being gathered by a conservative site for monitoring and reporting, as well as another for “unfriendly” and non-compliant journalists and news outlets.

America under Trump will be an outlier, like Somalia or Yeomen, in the world’s attempt to combat climate change and there is no reason to believe his administration will not pursue climate scientists, Energy Department employees or private citizens and businesses that have embraced clean energy with a vengeance; including three-quarters of Trump’s base. The impending danger is inevitable with a vindictive cretin assuming unchallenged power, and it is just wretched that decent Americans will suffer. It is a sentiment that this author does not extend to the irresponsible racists who voted for Trump.