Environmental Protection Agency officials are “leaving in droves”, reports the New York Times.
More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration.
What marvellous news to ease us all into the festive Christmas spirit, eh readers?
Why, it’s like the final scene in A Christmas Carol where Scrooge repents of all his miserliness, his nephew Fred gets a big fat turkey, Bob Cratchit gets a pay rise and Tiny Tim declares “God bless us, every one!”
Not, of course, that this is quite the way the New York Times sees it. It wants us to believe that this is an attack on both science and the environment.
Within the agency, science in particular is taking a hard hit. More than 27 percent of those who left this year were scientists, including 34 biologists and microbiologists; 19 chemists; 81 environmental engineers and environmental scientists; and more than a dozen toxicologists, life scientists and geologists. Employees say the exodus has left the agency depleted of decades of knowledge about protecting the nation’s air and water. Many also said they saw the departures as part of a more worrisome trend of muting government scientists, cutting research budgets and making it more difficult for academic scientists to serve on advisory boards.
“It’s never been harder to be a climate scientist,” claims a heartrending piece in New Republic.
Climate scientists working directly for the Trump administration are the most affected. A report published last week by the Union of Concerned Scientists describes a “culture of fear” as government scientists are gagged, sidelined, or fired, and funding cuts loom. “Some are afraid to utter the words ‘climate change,’” the report reads.
But wait. You haven’t got to the saddest part, yet.
“All action at the agency on climate has effectively stopped,” an EPA air quality scientist told The Guardian in June. And they’re being discouraged from interacting with other climate scientists. “There was a climate conference in Atlanta last month and EPA employees were told not to go,” the scientist said, “so even simple interactions are coming to an end.”
In sadness terms I would say that this is quite literally even sadder than a picture on the internet of a cute kitten with a bandaged paw.
Think about it. These EPA scientists work hard to spend your tax dollar. That trip to the climate conference in Atlanta would have afforded them a vital opportunity not just to rack up air miles but also to broaden their understanding of the challenges facing us. For example, by visiting the legendary Georgia Aquarium they would get to experience at first hand all the innocent sea creatures that are likely to be melted if ever ocean acidification actually becomes a thing.
I’ve just watched the London liberal media’s heads exploding like ripe watermelons.
It was great – a bit like that No Pressure video that the enviro-loons made a few years ago, only better because this time the victims weren’t blameless schoolchildren but grisly, puffed-up, righteously eco, Trump-and-Brexit-hating TV and newspaper Environment Correspondents, all of whom hate my guts. (They hate yours too, so don’t get smug.)
The occasion was a press conference hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation for Myron Ebell, head of the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team. Satan’s Emissary, as liberals prefer to think of him.
Ebell had come to tell them about Trump’s plans for the environment and energy, which I won’t repeat here because you know them already. (It’s going to be beautiful, that’s all you need to remember.)
No, the reason I went wasn’t to hear what Ebell had to say but to watch how his audience reacted.
You know that scene in The Omen when Damien’s parents try to take him into a church? It was a bit like that. Or maybe the one in The Exorcist, where Regan’s head does a 360 degree spin.
They hated it. (Especially the bit where Ebell told them that Trump would definitely be pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate treaty) They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. They curled their lips. They laced their questions with the bitterest scorn. But they didn’t really tune into Ebell’s measured, silken, soft-spoken answers because, hell, they knew what he was saying just had to be wrong and they didn’t really understand what he meant anyway.
The reporter who set the tone – and if nothing else, you’ve got to admire his honesty – was the one from Channel 4 News who told Ebell: “It will occur to you that this room is full of people like myself who consider that nothing you say has any basis in fact. So what you’ve been telling us is essentially meaningless.”
Ebell replied with some painful home truths. “Elections are surprising things…” he began and went on to explain to the mystified audience why and how it was that Brexit happened and Trump happened.
Basically, he argued – perhaps channelling Michael Gove – people have had enough of the “Expertariat”. And with good reason: “The expert class is full of arrogance and hubris.”
I did debate with myself beforehand whether or not to subject myself to a five hour round trip just to attend this one hour conference. (There was another Breitbart piece I’d been planning, which might have been cleverer or more interesting or got more traffic, I don’t know.)
But, hell, it was worth it for a number of reasons.
Asked his views on the role of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas produced by burning fossil fuels, in increasing global warming, Mr. Pruitt said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so, no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
That phrase, “the heat-trapping gas produced by burning fossil fuels,” is just a bit of New York Times editorializing, by the way. No serious person thinks that man-made carbon dioxide poses any kind of major climate threat because there’s just no evidence to support that theory. It’s just one of those cherished left-liberal myths that goes next to other fantasy concepts like “equality,” “sustainability,” and “social justice.”
Speaking of which, the second piece of good news is that the Environmental Protection Agency has just lost its head of Environmental Justice.
Probably you didn’t know that the EPA had a head of Environmental Justice, but you should because you’ve been paying his salary since the George H.W. Bush era. His name is Mustafa Ali, and, according to a tearful requiem in Inside Climate, he has resigned in protest at EPA budget cuts, which will see the agency lose 20 percent of its 15,000 staff and $2 billion from its $8 billion.
“Jumped before he was pushed” is the phrase that comes to mind, for it is likely that Ali’s department will be dismantled altogether.
Ali has written a resignation letter to Scott Pruitt saying what a mistake this would be.
But if you go to the EPA’s website and see what the Environmental Justice Department has been doing for the last few years, you may disagree with this assessment.
By the end, you’ll have no more idea what the Environmental Justice Department does than you did at the beginning.
Here’s a taste:
Through EJ 2020, EPA will advance our environmental justice efforts to a new level in improving the health and environment of overburdened communities. By 2020, we will:
Improve on-the-ground results for overburdened communities through reduced impacts and enhanced benefits
Institutionalize environmental justice integration in EPA decision-making
Build robust partnerships with states, tribes and local governments
Strengthen our ability to take action on environmental justice and cumulative impacts
Better address complex national environmental justice issues.
Our vision of how EPA will make a difference in the environmental and public health landscape over the next five years is detailed on the key results page of the plan.
It is, as I think you’ll agree, pure gibberish. How do you measure this department’s success in advancing the cause of “environmental justice”? Well, of course, you don’t. You can’t because “environmental justice” is a nebulous concept, which can mean pretty much anything you want it to mean.
Reading between the lines, though, what you can guess is that it’s basically another race-guilt make-work scheme. It’s based on the (spurious, identity-politics-driven) notion that environmental problems are felt more keenly by people of color because they live in poorer areas more vulnerable to pollution.
If she wants a pony and bats her eyelashes at me, I’ll be off in a trice to buy her a herd. Baby unicorn ponies, if that’s what she prefers. With jewels inlaid in their spiral horns and maybe some magical attachment that plays the collected works of Taylor Swift while she rides.
So I totally get where President Trump is coming from when I read reports that, under the influence of Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, he has toned the phrasing of an Executive Order so that it no longer includes derogatory comments about the utterly useless and pointless climate deal signed in Paris in 2015 by Barack Obama.
Kushner and Ivanka “intervened to strike language about the climate deal from an earlier draft of the executive order,” sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
Ivanka and her husband “have been considered a moderating influence on the White House’s position on climate change and environmental issues,” WSJ reports. Now, the executive order will have no mention of the so-called Paris agreement.
If it’s just a case of casual daughter-pleasing, fine. But if he actually means it than we should all start to worry.
I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again: if President Trump proves to be as radical on energy and climate as he promised to be on the campaign trail, then this, even if he achieves nothing else, will more than qualify him for a place next to the greats on Mt Rushmore.
He will go down in history as the hero who slew ManBearPig: the president who, unlike his pusillanimous, career-safe, Establishment predecessors from Clinton and the Bushes to the ultimate horror that was Obama, finally had the courage, integrity and honesty to point out that the Climate Emperor is wearing no clothes; the guy who brought to the end the greatest scientific scandal ever; who saved Western Industrial Civilisation from the Watermelons.
But it’s all very well having good instincts and good intentions. The hard part will be dealing with all the obstacles thrown in his way by the monstrously large group of special interests sometimes known as the Green Blob and sometimes as the Climate Industrial Complex.
President Trump is definitely going to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, the head of his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team has confirmed.
At a press conference in London – the one where the media delegates’ heads all exploded – Myron Ebell told his appalled audience that Trump would certainly be honouring his campaign promise to pull out of the UN Paris agreement. The fact that incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disagrees with this is, Ebell suggested, an irrelevance.
An apparent contradiction emerged in recent weeks between Trump’s position and that of his incoming secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who said the US will “remain part” of UN climate discussions. When asked about these contrasting positions, Ebell said it is impossible for him to predict the outcome, but “in a disagreement with the president, who do you think will win?”