Article by Hannah Klaus
President-elect Trump, a self-proclaimed climate change skeptic, has appointed a climate change denier to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team (4,12). Myron Ebell questions the scientific consensus that climate change is fueled by human activity (4). He has been selected to lead the environmental federal agency in a nation that is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world during the implementation stages of an unprecedented international climate agreement (3, 10)
Ebell worked as the director for the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a libertarian public policy organization that focuses on advancing the principles of free government, free enterprise, and individual liberty (1,8) According to ExxonMobil’s IRS reports and Worldwide giving reports, CEI has received over 2 million in donations from ExxonMobil since 1998 (7). He is also a chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a coalition, which describes itself as being focused on “dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.” (14) Ebell has been outspoken about his criticism of climate alarmism, which is the idea that the climate movement is over exaggerating environmental problems as a means of expanding government power (4).
“I think that the environmental movement has been proclaiming doom right around the corner since it was founded in the late 1960s,” he said during and appearance on C-SPAN last year. “It’s how they fund the environmental movement. It’s how they attract political support, by saying we have this crisis.” (4).
Ebell has been outspoken in his criticism of climate leaders and scientists and has called the climate movement a “force of darkness” (7). According to the Union of Concerned Scientist, in 2002, the Bush Administration issued a multi agency “Climate Action Report”, required by the United Nations for the Kyoto Protocol, which included peer-reviewed research on the effects of climate change in the U.S. ExxonMobil strongly opposed the conclusion of this report, that climate change poses a significant risk and is caused by human activity, and contacted Myron Ebell who then convinced President Bush to denounce the report (11).
CEI, which receives funding from the coal industry, has stood in strong opposition of the Clean Power Plan, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Ebell has stated that he believes that the Clean Power Plan is “illegal” (2, 7). He is opposed to any regulation of energy power, and has suggested that the U.S. should not place any limits on its production or use of coal, oil, or gas (4). In regards to the Paris climate agreement, Ebell, unsurprisingly, is against the U.S.’s participation in this international treaty. In an interview with the Washington Times, Ebell stated that “…Congress should prohibit any funding for the Paris Climate Treaty, the Green Climate Fund, and the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.” (5)
It is uncertain how much success Ebell will have in rolling back regulations and undoing environmental legislation and agreements. For example, the United States would not be able to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement until 2020. However, in the meantime, the Trump administration could just not deliver on the U.S. Commitment to the agreement. It would also be a lengthy process for the Trump administration to make any major reversals on the clean power plan and other existing regulations (13).
- “About.” Competitive Enterprise Institute. Accessed November 29, 2016. https://cei.org/about-cei.
- “Clean Power Plan for Existing Power Plants.” EPA. Accessed November 29, 2016. https://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/clean-power-plan-existing-power-plants.
3.”COP 22: One Year after Paris.” What Do You Country’s Emissions Look Like? Accessed November 29, 2016. http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/06/infographic-what-do-your-countrys-emissions-lookhttp://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php.
- Dennis, Brady. “Trump Taps Climate-change Skeptic to Oversee EPA Transition.” The Washington Post. November 11, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/11/meet-the-man-trump-is-relying-on-to-unravel-obamas-environmental-legacy/?utm_term=.5a7735d51c17
- Ebell, Myron. “Obama, Chinese President Ratify Climate-change Agreement.” Obama, Chinese President Ratify Climate-change Agreement | Competitive Enterprise Institute. September 3, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016. https://cei.org/content/obama-chinese-president-ratify-climate-change-agreement.
- “ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Competitive Enterprise Institute.” Exxon Secrets. Accessed November 29, 2016. http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php.
- Fountain, Henry. “Trump’s Climate Contrarian: Myron Ebell Takes On the E.P.A.” The New York Times. November 11, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/12/science/myron-ebell-trump-epa.html.
- “Myron Ebell.” Myron Ebell | Competitive Enterprise Institute. Accessed November 29, 2016. https://cei.org/expert/myron-ebell.
- “Status of Ratification.” The Paris Agreement – Main Page. Accessed November 29, 2016. http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php.
- “Smoke, Mirrors, and Hot Air.” Union of Concerned Scientists USA. January 2007. Accessed November 29, 2016. http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/global_warming/exxon_report.pdf.
- Trump, Donald J. “The Concept of Global Warming Was Created by and for the Chinese in Order to Make U.S. Manufacturing Non-competitive.” Twitter. November 06, 2012. Accessed November 29, 2016. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/265895292191248385.
- Voosen, Paul. “What Trump Can-and Can’t-do All by Himself on Climate.” Science | AAAS. November 10, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/what-trump-can-and-cant-do-all-himself-climate
- Yeatman, William. “SJW-day at COP22.” Global Warming. November 18, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016. http://www.globalwarming.org/about/.