President Trump’s best hope of draining the Green Swamp has just been nixed by his Chief of Staff. The New York Times has the bad news:
John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, has killed an effort by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to stage public debates challenging climate change science, according to three people familiar with the deliberations, thwarting a plan that had intrigued President Trump even as it set off alarm bells among his top advisers.
The idea of publicly critiquing climate change on the national stage has been a notable theme for Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the E.P.A. For nearly a year he has championed the notion of holding military-style exercises known as red team, blue team debates, possibly to be broadcast live, to question the validity of climate change.
And yes – that really is bad news. In my view, it’s one of the biggest mistakes so far of Trump’s otherwise winning presidency.
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.
Here are three signs that despite stiff opposition not just from greens and Democrats, but from elements (such as Javanka) from within his own administration – Trump is on course for crushing victory over the Green Blob.
Scott Pruitt is cleaning out the Augean Stables (aka the Environmental Protection Agency)
Essentially the EPA is and always has been a communist sleeper cell introduced to the heart of the U.S. government system by Richard Nixon in the mistaken belief that paying Danegeld to your enemies will make them leave you alone. Since 1970, it has swollen to embrace more than 17,000 employees, many of them deep-green ideologues on a holy mission to rein in economic growth, restrict consumer freedoms and reduce living standards by introducing ever more swingeing environmental restrictions on both businesses and private individuals. The EPA is the viper in America’s bosom.
President Trump is to take his first step towards scrapping President Obama’s “stupid” and “job killing” Clean Power Plan, an aghast New York Times reports.
The Trump administration will repeal the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s effort to fight climate change, and will ask the public to recommend ways it could be replaced, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document.
The draft proposal represents the administration’s first substantive step toward rolling back the plan, which was designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, after months of presidential tweets and condemnations of Mr. Obama’s efforts to reduce climate-warming pollution.
But it also lays the groundwork for new, presumably weaker, regulations by asking for the public and industry to offer ideas for a replacement.
In 2016, when it launched the plan at Obama’s behest, the EPA declared that the Clean Power Plan was a vital, cost-effective way of combating climate change which would ultimately benefit the U.S. consumer.
From the School of Really Dumb Climate Change Solutions, a novel proposal from Lisa Feldman Barrett – a professor of psychology at Northeastern University:
The next time a city like Las Vegas has a record heat wave, as it did in June of this year (117 degrees F), we could petition President Trump to travel there. Perhaps a three-day stay at Trump International Hotel — with the air conditioning turned off — would be swelteringly educational. Or shall we ask Vice President Pence to visit Nuatambu, one of the Solomon Islands northeast of Australia, where rising ocean levels have washed away half the habitable land and forced families to flee? Let him live there for a month or two. Or maybe Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, should survive on minimal drinking water for a few days, so he can understand viscerally what a drought feels like.
Apparently, the scientific rationale behind this is that the human imagination is not nearly as good at empathising with future pain as it is with future pleasure.
Did you hear the scary rumor at the weekend that President Trump was about to renege on his promise to quit the UN Paris Climate Agreement?
The good news is that it was #fakenews. (Shame on you, WSJ!)
The bad news is that it wasn’t so implausible as to make anyone go “Donald Trump? Cave to the Greenies?? That would never happen in a million years!!!”
Because the fact is, he still could very easily.
After all, on green issues it’s not just a case of Donald Trump vs. Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the Democrats, the Washington Post, the National Academy of Sciences, the UN, the European Union, the Nature Conservancy, the WWF, most university professors, and your kids’ schoolteachers, etc.
It’s also a case of Donald Trump vs. large chunks of Congress and most of his administration, from all the Obama holdovers at the EPA to the majority of his inner circle including Javanka, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chief Economics Advisor Gary Cohn.
A top EPA official has resigned, supposedly in protest at the direction the Agency has taken under President Trump.
Or — as we climate realists prefer to put it — #winning.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Southerland had worked at the EPA for thirty years. But on Tuesday she resigned from her post as director of science and technology in the Office of Water, claiming “the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth.”
Just what incredibly good news Southerland’s departure is can be best be appreciated by reading her farewell letter.
It’s supposed to be her Parthian shot — a damning indictment of the decline of a once-great institution under the wicked Donald Trump and his sinister henchman, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
But, actually, it tells you rather more about the weird, reality-denying mindset which prevails among the inhabitants of the swamp which Trump is busily trying to drain.
“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.
One of the most expensive, intrusive, and far-reaching pieces of legislation in recent U.S. history is a bad smell from the Obama era, motivated by a leftist, anti-capitalist agenda and based on the purest nonsense.
Two groups — Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council (CHECC) — claim EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding” should be updated with new evidence invalidating the agency’s previous claim greenhouse gases threatened public health.
Their concerns are understandable given that, as CHECC argues in its petition, the flimsy evidence on which EPA based its endangerment finding has now been proven false beyond all reasonable doubt.
The Endangerment Finding purported to find that human-generated greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide constitute a “danger” to human health and welfare because of their effect in warming the atmosphere.
When EPA released its CO2 endangerment finding in 2009, it used three lines of evidence to bolster its argument that greenhouse gases threatened human health through global warming.The crux of EPA’s argument rested on the existence of a “tropical hotspot” where global warming would be most apparent. That is, there should be enhanced warming in the tropical troposphere — the “fingerprint” of global warming.
However, according to a report produced last year by three respected scientists — James P Wallace III, John Christy, and Joe D’Aleo — this Tropical Hotspot (THS) “simply does not exist in the real world.”
I just watched Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, get eaten alive by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.
Not only was it an ugly and painful sight but it was also a very dispiriting one.
Here is the guy who was carefully selected to be in the vanguard of President Trump’s war on the Green Blob which, for decades, has been doing untold damage to liberty, the scientific method, and the economy.
And he can’t even answer a few basic and obvious questions about why the job he is doing is necessary, important, and right.
Wallace asked him about the UN’s view that it was 95 percent likely that more than half the temperature increase since the mid-20th century is due to human activity.
Pruitt sweated, stuttered, and floundered.
Wallace asked him about NOAA’s claim that 2015 and 2016 are the hottest years on record.
Pruitt had no convincing comeback.
Wallace asked him the age-old question beloved by climate alarmists: “What if you’re wrong? What if CO2 is causing dramatic climate change and we as humans are responsible?”
Pruitt just didn’t know how to respond.
There should have been nothing complicated or unexpected about these questions. They are the kind of thing any half-way decent interviewer might have asked, be he a hostile one or a semi-friendly Fox News one playing devil’s advocate.
And if Scott Pruitt had had even the most cursory briefing and media training in his new role, he should have been prepared for them.
Not only should he have known the most effective answers to give; but he should have been so confident in the rightness and truth of his cause that he should have been able to seize the moment and make the points that really need to be made about President Trump’s environmental policy: that it is being enacted for the good of science, for the good of the economy and the core mission of Making America Great Again.
How could Scott Pruitt not do this?
Any one of us on the skeptical side of the argument could have pointed him to dozens of leading scientists — and hundreds if not thousands of papers and articles — that could easily have enabled Pruitt to say what needed to be said.
He could have noted the incompetence, corruption, and mendacity of the heavily politicized IPCC; the dishonest manipulation by organizations like NOAA — indeed especially NOAA — of the raw temperature data; the utter meaninglessness of the “hottest year evah” claims so often made in the liberal media.
And he could easily have batted off the “What if you’re wrong?” question by making perhaps the most important point of all that needs to be made about the “war” on “carbon”: that what it all comes down to is cost benefit analysis. To whit: the trillions of dollars being spent every year on the possibility that there might be a problem, a) could be spent much more usefully elsewhere and b) are doing more harm than good.
Pruitt was incapable of doing this though because, trained lawyer though he is, he is simply not on top of his brief.