As president-elect Donald Trump settles in to his new role, he continues to make questionable appointments for his upcoming White House staff. His choice of former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon has been raising eyebrows, as his choice of climate-change skeptic Myron Ebell to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's transition towards the Trump administration. If you're wondering whether Ebell will move us towards a greener planet, here are five of Ebell's views on the environment to dispel you of that dim hope. Sorry to be that girl.
It does make a certain sort of sense that president-elect Trump would choose a climate-change skeptic as the man to lead the EPA; after all, Trump himself has been vocal about his own belief that climate change is a convoluted hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to subvert American businesses. Because obviously. In fact, Trump made a campaign pledge to remove the United States from the groundbreaking Paris Agreement, an effort ratified by 110 countries across the world to keep the earth's population below a threshold of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. While members of the United Nations climate talks might have a little something to say about Trump's attempt to back out of the Paris Agreement, what would Ebell have to say about it?
Paris Agreement/Clean Power Plan
Ebell, who works for the conservative advocacy group Competitive Enterprise Institute (which has been backed in part by the fossil fuel industry), has called the Paris Agreement "unconstitutional," and urged the Senate to vote against signing it. As for Obama's Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce America's carbon footprint as well as limit pollution from power plants; Ebell plans to dismantle this "illegal" plan once he is in power.
Climate Change Skeptic
Despite the fact that 97 percent of scientists support man-made climate change, Ebell told Vanity Fair in 2007:
There has been a little bit of warming, but it's been very modest and well within the range for natural variability, and whether it's caused by human beings or not, it's nothing to worry about.
If It Is A Thing, Climate Change Could Be A "Good" Thing
OK, so he admitted that rising sea levels might not be so awesome for human beings. But hey, who wouldn't love warmer winters, am I right? In a 2006 op-ed for Forbes called "Love Global Warming," Ebell wrote:
Life in many places would become more pleasant. Instead of 20 below zero in January in Saskatoon, it might be only 10 below. And I don’t think too many people would complain if winters in Minneapolis became more like winters in Kansas City.
Cooler Heads Coalition
Not only does Ebell refuse to listen to scientists who support climate change (and it should be noted Ebell is not actually a scientist; he graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy), he is the head of the "Cooler Heads Coalition," whose main objective is “dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.”
Ebell was pivotal in blocking the cap-and-trade legislation brought to Congress in 2009, an economic incentive program to help reduce and control pollution and carbon emissions. He told Frontline at the time:
There are holdouts among the urban bicoastal elite,but I think we’ve won the debate with the American people in the heartland, the people who get their hands dirty, people who dig stuff up, grow stuff and make stuff for a living, people who have a closer relationship to tangible reality, to stuff. We need to keep banging away on the science.
How exactly a philosophy major is in a position to tell people to keep "banging away on the science" is a question for the cosmos, I suppose.