10 january 2017

Trump’s ‘Extreme’ Cabinet Could Fuel Warming Crisis

John Upton, Climate Central, January 10, 2016

Senate hearings into President-elect Trump’s proposed cabinet members began Tuesday, with anti-science politicians and fossil fuel executives being considered for key posts, threatening to undermine the worldwide fight against global warming at a crucial moment.

Given Trump’s campaign promises to rejuvenate the coal sector and boost drilling for other fossil fuels, it’s little surprise that he has assembled a team that could strive to pare back federal environmental protections affecting the energy sector, which is America’s greatest source of greenhouse gas pollution.

Stunning many experts, however, is the preponderance of nominees who dispute established climate science and have profited from global warming. Trump’s cabinet could combine President Reagan-era attacks on environmental protections with science denialism reminiscent of the George W. Bush administration.

“It is, first of all, an extreme right-wing ideological cabinet,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs at the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, which helped the Obama Administration develop its climate rules and strategies. “Those who are not ideologically far right wing are very corporate in their orientation.”

Trump’s nominees will each require blessings from Congress. The House and Senate will both be controlled by his fellow Republicans, suggesting they will support a team focused on repealing climate protections. Despite most voters telling pollsters they support efforts to slow warming, Republicans have become fierce opponents, frequently citing principles championed by fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks.

Trump’s pick to oversee the EPA is Scott Pruitt, who in his job as Oklahoma attorney general has repeatedly sued the EPA over its rules. To run State, Trump chose former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who downplays the seriousness of the climate crisis. And in picking former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as Energy secretary, Trump is seeking to elevate a paid board member of the company building the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline — somebody who previously campaigned for president on a policy platform that included eliminating the department he is now nominated to lead.

“We’re facing an onslaught of the most extreme anti-climate measures imaginable,” Goldston said.

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