After three successive years with the hottest temperatures on record, the planet is already starting to see the damaging results of global warming. Unfortunately, president elect Donald Trump seems to believe that global warming is just a hoax intended to limit big companies. As the Senate starts confirmation hearings for Trump cabinet nominees, they are revealing some information about how these nominees view climate change.
Trump’s Nominees Reveal Disregard for Climate Change at Senate Hearings
Now that Trump has nominated his picks for the cabinet positions, it is time for the Senate to conduct hearings. Confirming a nomination only requires 51 votes, so it is likely that most of Trump’s nominees will become cabinet members. The confirmation process will provide some interesting information about the nominees positions on important issues.
Department of Defense nominee, James Mattis, noted that the ice shelves in the Arctic were retreating. He mentioned that the United States would need to assert its sovereignty in this area if we want to claim the new shipping lanes instead of Russia. He did not make note of any problems with the environment other than the changes in geography that could lead to territorial conflicts.
When questioned about climate change, the nominee for the head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, chose not to address it directly. Instead, he just said:
Frankly, as the director of CIA, I would prefer today not to get into the details of climate debate.
This goes against the previous CIA director’s position, because he felt that climate change was contributing to instability in foreign countries.
Environmentalists are particularly worried about Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, being nominated as secretary of state, and he seemed to confirm those worries in his hearing. Tillerson mentioned that he did not think it was a threat to national security because Tillerson claims that scientific research on climate change and global warming is inconclusive.
However, Tillerson did state that the nation ought to “continue in international leadership on climate change” because it was important for the United States to be involved in international agreements like the Paris Agreement.
A lot of issues with Tillerson’s nomination seem to rely on his connections to oil groups because Tillerson does not plan to avoid interacting with Exxon for more than the one year period required by law. In the hearings, Tillerson refused to answer any questions about how his company affected the public view on climate change.
Instead of worrying about the effect on the environment, Tillerson expressed concerns that international climate change agreements could put American business at a disadvantage.
Senator Jeff Sessions was also examined by the Senate for his nomination as Attorney General because the Senate was curious about how he would rule in cases that considered climate change. Sessions did acknowledge that climate change was a real occurrence, but he sidestepped the question of whether he would rule against the official Republican party position that climate change is not an issue.
Skeptics also found it worrisome that he did not address questions about how he would enforce laws related to carbon emission controls.
Future Looks Grim for the Environment and Global Warming
Most of the cabinet nominees who will have positions of power in the new government seem to feel that climate change is not a big deal. Though many admit that it happens on a small scale, quite a few do not think it is the government’s job to preserve the planet. Hopefully, the few who do believe climate change is a huge danger will help to steer the new government in the right direction.
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