Just one day after the US election, President-elect Donald Trump is already preparing for a war of sorts: a war on the war on climate change, that is. Sources close to Trump’s campaign revealed that the Republican candidate has tapped a well-known climate denier, Myron Ebell, to lead his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team. Ebell is the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit think tank founded by Fred L. Smith, a political writer who has spent his life attempting to refute climate science.
Trump’s stance on the environment (or rather, against the environment) has been well-documented and should surprise no one. Selecting Ebell to lead his EPA transition team is just the tip of the fast-melting iceberg, though, and we can expect the president-elect to further solidify his anti-climate position in the weeks and months to come as Trump chooses other political leaders to head important policy-shaping teams, including the Energy Department and Interior Department. The president-elect has already named Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKenna as head of the DOE transition team, while former Interior Department solicitor David Bernhardt will lead efforts for that agency, according to the same sources. Placing conservative climate deniers in powerful positions is sending a clear message that Trump plans to construct an administration that will veer American climate politics away from goals set forth by the Paris climate agreement, which the US has already ratified and which was activated November 4 after reaching the participation threshold outlined in the deal.
Some have attempted to downplay Trump’s anti-climate agenda by insisting that the road to undoing American progress is long and complicated. However, with a Republican-led Congress packed with climate deniers and a president-elect who believes “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” as a hoax, it’s easy to understand that protectors of the Earth will face even more challenges when it comes to passing new legislation to implement emissions restrictions, support renewable energy projects, clean water initiative, nature and wildlife protections, and other necessary efforts to stave off the 3C global temperature increase that would lead to devastating sea level rise and loss of habitat for wild animals as well as humans.