By Miriam Raftery
November 11, 2016 (Washington D.C.)—President-Elect Donald Trump has wasted no time in appointing environmental and health experts’ worst nightmares to key cabinet posts, though oil energy executives are praising the moves.
Energy lobbyist Mike McKenna has been named to head Trump’s Department of Energy transition team; his recent clients include Dow Chemical and the oil tycoon Koch brothers, Climate Wire and Scientific American report. Trump has also named infamous climate change denier Myron Ebell to lead the Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Ebell has said climate change is “nothing to worry about” in an interview with Vanity Fair.
The British House of Commons in Parliament sought to censure Ebell for his criticisms of Britain’s chief scientific advisor. Ebell has been called a “misleader” on global warming by Rolling Stone and was named to a Greenpeace “Field Guide to Climate Criminals.”
Trump has called climate change a hoax, even though 97% of the world’s top climate scientiswts say it is real and man-made. 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded worldwide. Trump has said he would cancel the international Paris climate accord if elected.
In an e-mail, Ebell stated post-election, “President-elect Trump’s ofte-repeated promises in the campaign are fairly black-and-white,” Scientific American reports.
Trump is expected to dismantle President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Act, which included EPA regulations to cut coal-fired power plant emissions, which contribute to air pollution and global warming, by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. Trump has called for construction of more coal-fired power plants.
Trump has not yet named his Secretary of the Interior, though it will likely be someone who favors opening up federally protected publics for oil drilling, fracking, and other energy development. He is also expected to push through the Keystone pipeline and boost fossil fuel production including domestic drilling that include include offshore drilling along California's shoreline, as well as loosen environmental and safety regulations on pipelines, actions that concern many in the wake of the San Bruno deadly gas pipeline explosion and the ongoing protest against the Dakota Access pipeline amid fears it could pollute the Missouri River.
Trump’s election drew praise from Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, who stated, "America's prosperity and security is anchored by a strong oil and natural gas industry, a vision that emerged victorious last night,” the Dallas News reported Wednesday.
But John Sterman,a professor at the Massachusetts Instittute of Technology, wrote in a Climate Interactive analysis the day after the election,”Pessimists will find abundant support for despair this morning,” the New York Times reports.
He voiced fears that if the U.S. pulls out of the international climate pact, other nations may follow, boosting greenhouse gas emissions sharply at a time when climate experts warn that warming is so extreme that we are reaching a tipping point from which there may be no way to halt the acceleration of warming to temperatures too extreme to support life on earth within a generation.
According to the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s most respected environmental protection organizations, Trump is the only world leader who doubts the science behind climate change. Upon word of his election, the Sierra Club posted on Facebook, “This is a deeply disappointing day for the United States and the world. But what is important to remember is that there are millions upon millions of Americans who stood up to Donald Trump’s ignorance, his misogyny, and his racism -- and these same millions will be standing up every day moving forward to ensure he can’t roll back all the progress we’ve made in recent years to tackle the climate crisis. Make no mistake, this loss hurts for reasons that extend far beyond this space. But we are not licking our wounds, we are preparing for the fights to come.