13 march 2018

Pompeo, Trump’s Pick for Secretary of State, Is a ‘Great Climate Skeptic’

By Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport, The New York Times, March 13, 2018

WASHINGTON — The fall of Rex W. Tillerson from the Trump administration — on Tuesday, Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, was tapped to replace him as secretary of state — removes one the last remaining presidential advisers whose views on global warming are in line with the rest of the world.

Mr. Pompeo has questioned the scientific consensus that human activity is changing the climate, and he has strongly opposed the Paris Agreement, a pact among nearly 200 nations to address climate change. He told Congress last year during his Senate confirmation hearing for the C.I.A. post that the notion of climate change as a top national security threat was “ignorant, dangerous and absolutely unbelievable.”

Mr. Tillerson, despite his decades-long career in the oil industry — a major contributor to planet-warming pollution — holds that rising global temperatures spurred by human activity pose significant risks.

The change in leadership at the State Department all but cements an increasingly hard-line opposition to the idea of climate change at the highest levels of the United States government. Mr. Tillerson’s departure follows the resignation announcement last week of Gary Cohn, the president’s top economic adviser, and the departure last month of George David Banks, a senior adviser to the president on international energy issues. All three had argued to keep the United States in the Paris agreement.

With the three departures, “the moderating forces on climate change within the administration are all but gone, the ones that matter,” said Sarah Ladislaw, an energy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Mr. Pompeo, a Tea Party Republican from Kansas, won praise Tuesday from those who deny the human influence on the climate. President Donald Trump announced Mr. Tillerson’s departure in a tweet on Tuesday.

“He’s a great climate skeptic and he’s not going to be in favor of the Paris treaty as Tillerson was. I think it’s awesome,” said Steven J. Milloy, who runs a website,, aimed at undermining climate science and who worked on the Environmental Protection Agency transition team for the Trump administration. “The administration seems to be shedding its Paris climate supporters.”

A State Department spokesman said the agency will continue to manage United States policy in the international climate negotiations. A spokesman at the C.I.A. declined to comment.

Last year, Mr. Tillerson stood as a lonely voice in the administration’s inner circle urging Mr. Trump not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement...


>>> Back to list