by Daniel Brouse
United States of America — The world watches in dismay as Donald Trump appoints Myron Ebell, a professional climate change denier, to head his EPA transition team. During his campaign, Trump said that climate change is a hoax. Slate magazine reports, “Trump had tweeted in 2012 that global warming “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He has also has previously called it a ‘hoax.'”
During his campaign, Trump also threaten to pull out of the Paris Climate Pact (which the US has already signed.) The Paris Accord is meant to prevent the world from reaching “the point of no return” — limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 2016 is already forecast to be the hottest year on record with the global average temperature 1.75°F above the 20th century average of 57.4°F.
Diplomats from around the world have voiced their concern. “A carbon tariff against the United States is an option for us,” Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo, Mexico’s under secretary for environmental policy and planning, said in a New York Times interview. He added, “We will apply any kind of policy necessary to defend the quality of life for our people, to protect our environment and to protect our industries.”
“I renew my offer to President-elect Trump to come to Fiji and see the effects of climate change,” said the island nation’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama.
Now, Trump has appointed a professional climate change denier to dismantle the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Activists at the United Nations’ Paris talks depicted Myron Ebell, a climate contrarian, as one of seven “climate criminals” wanted for “destroying our future.” Now, Trump has appointed Ebell as head of the EPA transition team.
Municipalities throughout the U.S. are scrambling to take action prior to Trumps’ inauguration. The Baltimore Sun reports:
he Hogan administration’s petition filed this week urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to crack down on 19 out-of-state, upwind coal-fired power plants that pollute Maryland’s air is certainly a welcome development. Maryland’s environment secretary had more or less promised such action earlier this year when he declined to join a multi-state lawsuit seeking similar enforcement by the federal agency.
The strategy might even prove productive if action is taken in the waning days of the Obama administration, which has expressed concern not only about toxic pollutants like sulfur dioxide that can be particularly harmful to people with asthma or other breathing problems, but carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Maryland is imperiled by all of the above and needs federal authorities to act given that as much as 70 percent of the state’s air pollution can be traced to upwind sources.
So why does it sound like Maryland is asking for Marquess of Queensbury rules in the face of a street brawl? Most likely because Donald Trump was elected president last week and, in his first act of environmental stewardship named Myron Ebell, a professional climate change denier, to head his EPA transition team. The appointment came as no surprise given how often Mr. Trump attacked EPA’s efforts to protect public health and safety during the campaign, but it surely set the stage for what is coming next.
Here’s another clue: Those offending coal-burning plants are located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. What else do they all have in common besides dirty air? They all supported Mr. Trump. How did Maryland do in this regard? Hillary Clinton won 60.5 percent of the vote, one of her best showings in the nation.