Three days before Christmas and Santa Claus may be shedding that heavy red overcoat while preparing his yearly trek from the North Pole. Why? It’s said to be just around freezing — some 30 degrees (Celsius) warmer than normal.
The reason? A freakish blast of warmer air, thanks to a powerful El Nino and the impact of man-made greenhouse gases. Scientists warn that unless climate change can be slowed, rare events like this will happen more often.
President-elect Donald Trump’s position on climate change has evolved. In 2012, he tweeted that climate change was “created by and for the Chinese.” Since then, he has been on both sides of the issue. After the election, he admitted there is “some connectivity” between human activity and climate change.
But the resumes of several of Trump’s selections for important administration posts signals the issues of climate change and energy policy may be subjected to the political winds.
Trump’s EPA Pick Spooks Liberals and the Environmental Lobby
Fred Barnes – The Weekly Standard
Liberals and the environmental left have gone into a tizzy over the selection of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as Donald Trump’s pick to head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Calling Pruitt “a climate denier” is silly shorthand. Climate simply exists. Like many others, what Pruitt sees as a problem is the EPA’s desire for an upheaval in “the generation, transmission, and regulation of electricity” in favor of premature switch to wind, solar, and non-fossil sources to generate power.
Chris Warren at the American Energy Alliance says Pruitt “has been a champion for consumers and working-class families in Oklahoma. We know he will do the same for all Americans as EPA Administrator. AG Pruitt will reset energy and environmental policy in ways that will grow the economy, improve the environment, and make life better for the American people.”
An Enemy of the EPA to Head It
Editorial Board – The New York Times
Since becoming Oklahoma’s top legal officer in 2011, Mr. Pruitt has been a bitter opponent of the E.P.A., joining in one lawsuit after another to kill off federal environmental regulations….
Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly suggested that the science of climate change is far from settled, when in fact it is, and says that scientists continue to disagree about whether there is a relationship between human activity and rising atmospheric temperatures, which they don’t….
In much of what he has done, Mr. Pruitt has tended to the interests of the oil and gas industries, no surprise in Oklahoma, where oil and gas are important. But he has gone far beyond that.
Setting the Record Straight on Scott Pruitt
Luther Strange – National Review
Climate change is not an excuse to silence political speech. Climate change is not an excuse for the EPA to ignore the bounds of law and issue illegal regulations that will cost jobs, shutter industries, and have little to no positive impact on the environment. Climate change is not an excuse for imposing one-size-fits-all regulations on the states, or for ignoring the unique concerns of citizens, businesses, and political leaders….
I have joined with Scott Pruitt and other attorneys general — Republicans and Democrats — to oppose the EPA when it oversteps its bounds. But suing the federal government isn’t easy or enjoyable, and it’s certainly not the best way to fix an agency that has gone far astray. The best way to do that is to put someone in office who understands the law, who cares about the mission of the agency, and who will use its vast power with restraint and in keeping with the laws that govern it.
An Open Letter from Scientists to President-Elect Trump on Climate Change
Michael D. Lemonick – Scientific American
Use part of your $1 trillion commitment to infrastructure development to expand democratized clean energy, boost U.S. competitiveness, and put America to work….
Assure (Americans) that the policies helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions, curb air and water pollution, and accelerate clean energy growth, innovation, and jobs – such as the Clean Power Plan, renewable energy tax credits, and auto-efficiency standards – will stay in place….
Publicly acknowledge that climate change is a real, human-caused, and urgent threat. If not, you will become the only government leader in the world to deny climate science.
President Trump and the Unnatural World
Robinson Meyer / David Biello – The Atlantic
[W]hile it’s almost entirely unclear what Trump himself actually believes—he’s been on both sides of the issue, and the only thing that’s consistent about him is his inconsistency—the kind of folks that he’s relying on or appointing are certainly hostile to action on climate change. And that doesn’t bode well.
That said, from a technology standpoint, there are trends you can’t fight. Natural gas is cheap, so it’s going to continue to be burned more than coal, at least in the United States. Solar power is getting cheaper, and, hey, guess what, conservatives—including Tea Partiers—love it, because it gives them freedom from their electric utility. These are things that even a Trump presidency can’t change.
That’s why I’m optimistic on the technology side, and more cynical on the human nature side.
Democrats Pay a Price for Being Green
Josh Kraushaar – National Journal
Let me offer a piece of unsolicited advice…Taking a more moderate stand on energy policy—whether it’s supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, championing the fracking boom that’s transforming regional economies, or simply sounding a more skeptical note on the Obama administration’s litany of environmental regulations—would do wonders for the Democratic Party’s ability to compete for the working-class voters who have drifted away from the party.
If the GOP gains in the Midwest were an anomaly, perhaps Democrats could afford to cater to their environmental base. But this wasn’t the first time that Democrats lost significant ground in the region….
The party’s exposure is even greater in 2018.