Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition

Nov 9, 2016

By Robin Bravender

Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign.

Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, the sources said.

The Trump team has also lined up leaders for its Energy Department and Interior Department teams. Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKenna is heading the DOE team; former Interior Department solicitor David Bernhardt is leading the effort for that agency, according to sources close to the campaign.

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28 comments on “Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition

  • This will Trump’s greatest crime against humanity. Post Paris, with a better than expected 1.5 degree target the world for the first time was starting to see a light on the horizon. China is the largest user of renewable energy and has the fastest uptake rate. India is now making noises that they realize coal will not be their energy salvation.

    But now it is reported in Scientific America that Myron Ebell is to implement Trump’s transition plans for the EPA. These are some of the public utterances from Ebell.

    “True, the climate is always changing. The fact is, however, that a very moderate amount of warming that we’ve seen in the last century is not a very sound basis to believe that we’re going to have a new ice age.”

    Moderate Warming = a new ice age???


    “We’ve always wanted to get the science on trial […] we would like to figure out a way to get this into a court of law […] this could work.”


    “[A]s previous studies have concluded, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are probably thickening rather than melting.”

    If Trump derails the world’s attempts to save itself from the worst potential effects of global warming with this type of irrational ideologically base rhetoric, then Trump will be recorded thus by history.

    One wonders what goes through the minds of deniers. Even Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest fossil fuel company have this as their official policy on global warming.

    The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risks.

    When your team captain bats for the other side, don’t you think that the game is up… AGW is the greatest threat facing civilization. You can’t have an economy if you don’t have an environment. You can’t have a civilized world if the world won’t even feed and water it’s population. You can’t have stability when AGW will produce more refugees than have ever existed in total on this planet, all moving North and South. AGW is the one problem that must be solved before all others. Nothing else matters.

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  • I had faint hopes that Trump, known to say things on occasion not even he actually believes, was merely pandering when he posited climate change was a Chinese hoax to kill American manufacturing competitiveness. I thought this because he had recently asked the Scottish government to fund a sea wall around the golf course he and his creditors own there because climate change was raising sea levels and threatening his investment.

    I now realize that by imputing even the merest trace of rationality to “Look-What-the-Cat-Yacked-Up” Trump, I was still deeply embedded in the denial stage of grief. The US is now, as opposed to leading the fight (as it must but will likely never) and shaming and helping India and China into doing their part as well, we are going to be increasing our CO2 and who knows what other noxious outputs.

    Even the poor ozone layer, struggling along to repair itself after the Montreal Accords, could come under fresh attacks because Trump, as he explained to a gagging gaggle of West Virginia coal miners who couldn’t care less but voted for him anyway, that one of life’s great tragedies was that he could no longer get good hairspray since the old ozone-eating propellants were banned.

    Even though Richard would be quick to console me with the knowledge that it was an accident of birth, I am deeply ashamed of my country.

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  • @OP – Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition

    These media muppets persist in using the deceptive term “skeptic”, when they are talking about “denialist propagandists”!
    In a publication like Scientific American they really should be able to get this right on an article with this content!

    @OP link – Ebell, who was dubbed an “elegant nerd” and a “policy wonk” by Vanity Fair, is known for his prolific writings that question what he calls climate change “alarmism.” He appears frequently in the media and before Congress. He’s also chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group of nonprofits that “question global warming alarmism and oppose energy-rationing policies.”

    Idiots like this have NOTHING to do with scientific scepticism!

    @OP – link – In a biography submitted when he testified before Congress, he listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in a Greenpeace “Field Guide to Climate Criminals,” dubbed a “misleader” on global warming by Rolling Stone and was the subject of a motion to censure in the British House of Commons after Ebell criticized the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser for his views on global warming.

    That is the difference between governments who USE scientific advice, and posturing science illiterates who make up or parrot, propagandist garbage, and don’t even know who to ask for scientific advice!

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  • David R Allen #1
    Nov 10, 2016 at 12:47 am

    These are some of the public utterances from Ebell.

    “We’ve always wanted to get the science on trial […] we would like to figure out a way to get this into a court of law […] this could work.”

    Trump tried that in Aberdeen Scotland! – Of course in competent UK courts, he had the case and two appeals thrown out”.

    In US courts full of Republican appointed judges may-be – may-be not!

    “[A]s previous studies have concluded, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are probably thickening rather than melting.”

    Illustrating that this clown, does not the difference between a denialist dishonest or scientifically illiterate newspaper article, cherry picking a few local patches of thickening, and the readily available scientific reports of the big-picture, showing billions upon billion of tons of year-on-year ice loss in Greenland and West Antarctica!

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  • Although Ebell has an M.Sc. from the LSE this appears to be in philosophy rather than a proper physical science. So he’s got absolutely zero credentials as a scientist and yet he wants to ‘get the science on trial’!

    How/why does a non-scientist think he can have (or be credited with) any credibility at all to deny climate change!?

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  • How/why does a non-scientist think he can have (or be credited with)
    any credibility at all to deny climate change!?

    Knowledge or experience in a field isn’t a prerequisite for Republicans.

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  • Erol #5
    Nov 10, 2016 at 7:31 am

    So he’s got absolutely zero credentials as a scientist and yet he wants to ‘get the science on trial’!

    He is obviously so stupid and clueless, that he thinks all opinions are a matter of personal opinion and conjecture – or simply a dishonest advocate for hire!

    How/why does a non-scientist think he can have (or be credited with) any credibility at all to deny climate change!?

    Egotism, faith, money in sucking up to corporate stupidity, and mutual reinforcement of views from fellow egotistical ignoramuses!

    These sorts of pompous idiots – even if they got some bigoted judges or a panel or jury of fools to endorse their views, fail to recognise (Dunning-Kruger), that all the informed expert opinion in the world recognises them as deluded fools!

    Anyone who knows ANYTHING about science, knows that scientific papers go on trial, after an initial revue checks they are fit for publication and for real scientists to spend time critically reading them. They are then openly reviewed and debated by the experts – competent in those fields, who read those journals!

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    The science is too settled, the issue too critical, and the arguments too well rehearsed on this very site to allow yet another science-denier to derail the discussion. The issue on this thread is not the science, but the policy.

    Anyone who is interested in the science of climate change will find it clearly and extensively explained by Alan4discussion, Phil Rimmer and other users on any number of other climate change threads on this site.

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  • A useful summary of Trump’s climate change views. For other oxymoronic Trump science topics (anti vax, etc) see the full link:

    Here’s the summary:

    Climate Change

    Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and a “money-making industry,” although he does believe “there’s weather.” He has used scare quotes around the term “climate change.” He has said he would dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, and “cancel’ the Paris Agreement on climate change, a move that drew an open rebuke from several hundred top scientists. He vowed to repeal key EPA regulations, including those on ozone pollution, the Clean Power Plan, and part of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program. He has said “perhaps” we should invest in alternatives to fossil fuels and access to clean water. But he hates wind turbines and greatly overestimated their effect on birds. He said that “Science will inform our decisions on what regulations to keep, rescind or add,” but contradicts himself in the very next sentence by claiming that the “free market system will regulate the private sector.” In a 2012 tweet, Trump claimed, falsely, that energy-saving light bulbs cause cancer.

    According to Environment & Energy Daily, Trump has selected climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to head his transition plans for the EPA and, such is his devotion to ridding government of political insiders, Koch Brothers lobbyist Mike McKenna to head the Department of Energy transition team.

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  • Somehow I think the civilized world can be trusted to carry on reducing greenhouse gas emissions while the USA finishes its dalliance with Cheeto Hitler. Ditto some US states and many US corporations and individuals. Basically the USA is making itself irrelevant, or part of the problem, as it did with the World Court. And, at least in my view, the solution to human-caused climate change, which after all is a problem of technology, must be solved with new technologies capable of fixing and storing atmospheric carbon.

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  • Moderator: Anyone who is interested in the science of climate change will find it clearly and extensively explained by Alan4discussion, Phil Rimmer and other users on any number of other climate change threads on this site.

    True. One disturbing implication of this election is that the ordinary voter does not know enough about elementary climate science because he or she does not care enough. Global warming is pushed way down on the list of public concerns by short term self-interest in economic growth and fossil fuel energy supplies and falling prices. In any case getting something done probably depends more on motivation than knowledge generating longer-term, necessarily vague predictions, however catastrophic for the “next” generation. Apres moi le deluge.

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  • Floridians may have unwittingly voted to become part of the ocean.

    However, there is the possibility that Trump’s stance on global trade may do so much damage to the world economy that many industries will collapse and CO2 emissions will end up declining.

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  • Norton #13
    Nov 11, 2016 at 9:51 am

    However, there is the possibility that Trump’s stance on global trade may do so much damage to the world economy that many industries will collapse and CO2 emissions will end up declining.

    Trump has said he will restore jobs in coal mining, but he is riding a Republican ticket, and the the green energy developers are not some hole in the wall back street shed operation!
    Many of them are major US corporations!

    The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, together with turbine developer Atlantis Resources, took the footage over three months as the 1.5MW AR1500 turbine was assembled prior to commissioning at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

    The AR1500 is owned by Atlantis Resources, with design and manufacturing supported by engineering giant Lockheed Martin. It will now undergo a rigorous six week pre-commissioning programme at the Catapult’s 3MW drive-train facility, commencing in June 2016, which will validate the performance of the turbine’s drive train before it is installed in the Pentland Firth MeyGen array later this year.

    Why companies like Google and Walmart are buying so much wind power (

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  • The seriousness of Trump appointing a climate change denier as head of the EPA is far bigger than anyone lets themselves imagine. Trump is a far bigger threat to the planet that Hitler ever was. As a result of this appointment, climate change efforts are collapsing all over the earth. Conservatives like Donna Ambrose, head of the Canadian Conservative party, argues Canada would be at an economic disadvantage if the USA abandons efforts at curbing climate change, so we must immediately follow on their suicidal path. Anything else would be stupid. Nothing else matters but the next quarter’s economy.

    Further, Donald said “I love war, that that includes nuclear war”. The man is stark raving mad. He wants to use nuclear weapons for intimidation and bargaining. This guy has the mentality of Attilla the Hun, but with weapons Attila could only dream of. I think our planet is done for. His unbelievable stupid supporters who did this to themselves believed using the wrong email server justified ending vertebrate life on planet earth.

    [Slightly edited by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

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  • Nice hard-hitting comment, Roedy. I said something similar on the other Trump thread. (Why Christians…)

    Hitler: in a way you’re quite right; the planet itself was not threatened by Hitler. But what the Nazis did was unspeakably horrible, and there are some scholars who feel that Hitler was just getting started, was on the path of universal genocide (would have exterminated everyone except those needed for work, i.e., slaves, and the “aryans”); I would have preferred if you had left that part of your comment out.

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  • 19
    bonnie2 says:

    @ #19


    ~ ~ ~

    Florida will get its seawall, to protect Kennedy launch site, so T. can have his bunker in-the-sky. International Space Station should lock the doors, lol.

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  • bonnie2 #20
    Nov 12, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Florida will get its seawall, to protect Kennedy launch site,

    If anyone is stupid enough to build a sea-wall or levees to keep rising seas out of Florida, it will be a monument to human stupidity, and a future hazard to shipping.

    The bedrock under Florida is limestone and it is riddled with caves and underground rivers.
    If anyone builds a wall along the coast, the sea will just come in under it, and erupt through the surface miles behind it through the cracks and porous rocks!

    In the past anti-science politicians have wasted millions on these sorts of stupid mistakes.

    There is an empty reservoir in Africa, where the government refused to pay a British company for a “time-wasting sciency site survey”, and employed a construction crew from elsewhere, to “just get on with the job” of damming a river and have faith in building a grandiose reservoir on top of a bedrock of porous gravel!

    It has of course, never actually held water, and the dam has now collapsed after the flow of river water under, it undermined the foundations!

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  • bonnie

    Perhaps not…. Ehue!

    Psychopaths broadly split into two types PCL-R Factor1 (charming, narcisistic), and PCL-R Factor2 (impulsive, poor behaviour control). PCL-R Factor1 types very rarely commit suicide unlike their juvenile delinquent fellows.

    One suicide of a PCL-R Factor1 I recall, however was media baron Robert Maxwell 25 years ago. The catastrophic failure of his business after his comprehensive embezzling may have proved too much for the narcissist in him.

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  • There’s a sci-fi film just been released called Arrival which has good reviews so I was having a look round to see if any copies had made their way online yet. Not so far but what I did come across was a 1996 film starring Charlie Sheen called The Arrival about aliens trying to terraform earth. Their own star has become unstable and is making their homeworld uninhabitable but the climate on earth is a bit cold for their metabolism so they’re working in secret to make it hotter before the bulk of their population arrive. I downloaded it and it’s not too bad.

    Anyhoo the basic premise is they’re using their advanced technology to create huge amounts of greenhouse gases in underground facilities and release them into the atmosphere so our sun does the bulk of the hard work for them. The grand irony is that 20 years ago when this film was made, 10 years before Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, this wasn’t even controversial. It was just science – until the world realised how bad the issue was and the fossil fuel industry and the religious right spent millions trying to obfuscate the science. We’ve gone backwards.

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  • Jim woolsey a few minutes ago on LBC radio advise to Trump on global warming:

    “If you aren’t going to do it for the environment then do it for defence”.

    Producing your own clean power means you don’t depend/bully others to supply.

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  • Apparently some in the US seem to think we need climate change denying idiots, “to fix this problem” of CO2 emissions levelling out!

    Declining consumption of coal in the US last year played a significant role in keeping down global emissions of carbon dioxide, according to a new report. **
    The Global Carbon Project annual analysis shows that **CO2 emissions were almost flat for the third year in a row, despite a rise in economic growth

    The slowdown in the Chinese economy since 2012 has also been a key factor limiting carbon.

    Experts believe it is too early to say if global CO2 emissions have peaked.

    Impact of recession

    The annual output of carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels increased by about 3% per annum through the first decade of this century.

    Thanks to the global recession, emissions started to slow down in 2010. However, they have now stalled for the past three years at around 36.4bn tonnes of CO2.

    China’s rapid economic expansion, which saw two new coal-fired power stations being built every week, drove the global rise in CO2 over the past 16 years.

    But there has been a sharp slowdown in coal use since 2012, driving Chinese CO2 emissions down 0.7% in 2015, according to this study, and a further 0.5% in 2016.

    “It is hard to say whether the Chinese slowdown is due to a successful and smooth restructuring of the Chinese economy or a sign of economic instability,” said Glen Peters, from the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) in Oslo, who co-authored the study.

    “Nevertheless, the unexpected reductions in Chinese emissions give hope that the world’s biggest emitter can deliver much more ambitious emission reductions.”

    US emissions in 2016 continued a downward trend that began in 2007. They were down 2.5% in 2015 and a further 1.7% decline is projected for this year.

    The drop is due to a reduction in demand for American coal, something that President-elect Trump has vowed to change.

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  • The international meetings on climate change continue to progress in Marrakesh.

    The US secretary of state John Kerry says that the overwhelming majority of US citizens support the US taking action on climate change.

    Speaking at a meeting in Marrakech, Mr Kerry said he believed that US commitments would not be reversed.

    President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement once in office.

    Mr Kerry said that market forces, rather than policy, would ensure a transition to a low carbon world.

    He played an important role in building agreement with China on how the two leading economies could reduce their emissions. He was one of the architects of the Paris Climate Agreement last December.

    Speaking in his last climate conference as Secretary of State, Mr Kerry delivered a passionate and emotive defence of the global effort to tackle climate change.

    Massive progress was being made, he said. Investments in renewables were booming and the trend to decarbonise the world’s energy supplies was irreversible.

    Americans, he said, believed in the reality of a warming planet – and they would stand behind the carbon-cutting promises the country had made in the Paris deal.

    “No-one… no-one should doubt the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States, who know climate change is happening and who are determined to keep our commitments that were made in Paris,” Mr Kerry said to a strong applause.

    Mr Kerry pointed to research showing that investments in renewable energy in 2015 were around $350bn, some six times larger than they were in 2014. In the US, wind powered electricity had tripled, while solar power had grown by over 30 times.

    These marketplace investments wouldn’t be stopped, he said, by a change in leadership in the White House.

    “I can tell you with confidence that the United States is right now, today, on our way to meeting all of the international targets that we have set, and because of the market decisions that are being made, I do not believe that that can or will be reversed,” he continued.

    The Secretary of State didn’t mention Mr Trump directly and didn’t offer any direct comment on the President-elect’s plans to take the US out of the Paris Agreement. But he said that investing in coal, something that Mr Trump is very keen on, would be a disastrous move for the planet.

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  • While Trump fumbles around in his social circle of delusion, the rest is getting on with approving Paris targets.
    Hopefully they will go for, and achieve, better ones as the availability of the alternative technologies expands.

    The UK government has signed a document ratifying the world’s first comprehensive agreement on tackling climate change.

    Parliament raised no objections to the Paris deal; after the government signed the deal on Thursday, it is now just awaiting deposition at the UN.

    The government is set to announce tomorrow that ratification is complete.

    It comes in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax.

    The US President-elect promised to re-instate the coal industry in the US and withdraw from the Paris deal which the US has already ratified.

    A government spokesman told BBC News earlier this week that the change in power in the US would not divert the UK from its climate change targets.

    The Paris Agreement commits countries to taking action to hold temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels – and to try to stabilise emissions at a level which would see a temperature rise of no more than 1.5C

    It was put before Parliament for the required 21-day period for scrutiny. That expired with no objections raised by the House of Commons or Lords.

    The long-standing climate change sceptic MP Peter Lilley told BBC News that he did not object to the Paris Agreement in Parliament because he didn’t notice it.

    He said: “If I had noticed it, I might have made an attempt to draw together a group of people to object to it. I suspect we would have had more names than last time (the Climate Change Act was passed with five objections) – but it probably would have been a rather ineffective gesture.”

    More than 100 countries have already officially signed up to the deal, which came into force earlier this month.

    Barry Gardiner, shadow minister for international climate change, said: “This strong signal of the UK’s commitment to international co-operation on climate change is even more important following the US election.

    “The UK Government must now show their commitment through climate action on the ground.

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