Edit: This is an update of an article that appeared here yesterday, shortly before the appointment was confirmed.
Trump’s cabinet is nothing short of an anti-intellectual roll call, a Pandora’s Box of bloviating ignoramuses just waiting to be opened on inauguration day. Now, another anti-scientific member has joined the roster for the legion of doom.
It has been officially announced that Trump’s nomination for the new Secretary of State is the current ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson, a multinational oil and gas corporation based out of Texas with an extremely checkered history.
“Rex Tillerson's career is the embodiment of the American dream,” Trump said, as reported by BBC News. “His tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice for Secretary of State.”
Tillerson has no prior government or diplomatic experience, so it’s worth looking at his business record to predict what his priorities will be as Secretary of State.
ExxonMobil was infamously found to have had lied about its prior knowledge of global warming for decades. Under Tillerson’s tenure, though, the company did ultimately acknowledge the science behind climate change.
However, ExxonMobil has failed to propose any initiatives to combat climate change, and Tillerson himself has claimed that the “world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels whether they like it or not.” Worse, although the company has invested in research groups designed to investigate climate change, it has simultaneously invested far more in climate change denial think-tanks.
Tillerson also has incredibly close ties to Russian conglomerates, including state-run Rosneft. Additionally, he’s quite a good friend to President Putin and has tacitly supported some of his geopolitical ambitions, something which is alarming to both Democrats and plenty of Republicans.
If Tillerson is confirmed by the US Senate, it is clear that he will bring a huge number of conflicts of interest to the table.
Scientifically speaking, though, this appointment is another chapter in the nightmare before Christmas. Under Tillerson, US foreign policy will no doubt be driven to a large extent by the erroneous need for fossil fuels, and he is surrounded by other cabinet members who will support his measures.
Although not seemingly one himself, it is remarkable how many climate change deniers will be in positions of power come inauguration day.
The Secretary of the Interior, the Chief-of-Staff, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, the space science advisor, the head of the Department of Energy and even the head of the Environmental Protection Agency are all seemingly convinced man-made climate change is a myth. Oh, and don’t forget the President-elect is too, recently claiming that “nobody really knows” what’s causing climate change.
[H/T: BBC News]