Donald Trump clearly doesn’t give a damn about the environment or the fight against climate change. However, there was hope that since the bloviating megalomaniac is a ridiculously frequent liar, he may be suddenly about to announce that he actually does care about the natural world after all.
Sadly, if reports about who he’s picked to spearhead his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team are true, then it’s a sign that it really may be game over for America’s beautiful parks, forests, waterways and, of course, the entire goddamn planet.
Back in September, Scientific American reported that Myron Ebell, director of the conservative think-tank Center for Energy and Environment Institute (CEI), would be appointed to handle the Trump administration's dealings with the EPA.
His own CEI profile describes him as the chair of the “Cooler Heads Coalition, which comprises over two dozen non-profit groups in this country and abroad that question global warming alarmism and oppose energy rationing policies.” Well, that doesn’t sound suspicious at all.
Ebell has proudly boasted that he is listed by several activist organizations and media outlets as someone who actively campaigns against one of the most concrete and widespread scientific consensuses in human history. He has previously described the Paris agreement as “an unconstitutional usurpation of the Senate’s authority.”
He’s an active participant in the misinformation campaign of climate change denial with a lot of funding to boot. In fact, he’s the head of a company that has a long history of receiving donations from Koch Industries and Murray Energy Corporation, two groups that are profoundly against not just any environmental protection reforms, but the EPA itself.
A perfect sampler of Ebell’s ethos comes from an old CEI commercial, one that explains that carbon dioxide isn’t dangerous at all, oh no – it’s actually a rather good thing, not the primary driver of catastrophic climate change.
As if talking to incredibly young children, the narrator of the commercial says that carbon dioxide “isn’t smog or smoke,” but “it’s what we breathe out and plants breathe in. They call it pollution. We call it life.”
In this case, “they” means almost every single scientist and science journalist alive today. Call us pedantic if you’d like, but carbon dioxide has never been referred to by respected academics as a “pollutant”. It’s a greenhouse gas.
The aerosols coming out of coal-fired power plants – now they’re pollutants. Expect to see plenty more of them under Trump presidency and an EPA assaulted by Ebell that scraps the Clean Power Plan and burns far, far more fossil fuels.
Remember, the EPA is something Trump has repeatedly said he wishes to abolish. Ebell’s appointment is a sign that he’s doubling-down on its destruction.