President-elect Trump has nominated four individuals to lead critical federal agencies that threaten the US progress on climate change and suggest he intends to double down on the fossil fuel economy.
- Scott Pruitt, his nominee for the EPA, is the Attorney General of Oklahoma and has consistently challenged EPA regulations regarding oil and gas production.
- Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, campaign on the platform of closing down the very organization he has been nominated to lead, the Dept. of Energy.
- Congressman Ryan Zinke, of Montana, has strongly advocated for opening up federal lands and waters to more oil and gas drilling.
- And last, but definitely not the least, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, has been nominated for Secretary of State. Tillerson is one of the few appointees to acknowledge climate change exists and is human caused, but argues that the effects will be less severe that limited oil and gas production for the economy.
Numerous climate and environmental NGOs have sounded alarms and see Trump’s nominees as a de facto on Obama’s climate legacy and all these groups have accomplished this past eight years. Trump won heavily dependent fossil fuel states by promising to bring back millions of jobs by restoring coal production, approving oil and gas pipelines, and eliminating restrictive regulations such as limits on methane emissions from fracking operations and the Clean Power Plan.
Democrats and Environmental NGOs have made it clear they intend to use the nomination process to not only challenge these nominees but to use them as an opportunity to demonstrate how Trump’s promise of creating millions of new jobs ignores the reality that that will not happen in a fossil fuel economy to the extent it will in a clean energy economy. A recent study released by Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg concluded that there are a total of 75,000 jobs in coal across the entire US, while there are over 525,000 jobs in clean energy in California alone.