For a while, there was a lot of noise suggesting that Trump might not be as rigid and doctrinaire as it first appeared when it comes to dealing with climate change. This was summed up best in an article in Politico a few days ago, which said that his daughter Ivanka—depicted in the press as more rational and poised than the president-elect—can influence Trump’s decisions in this arena, given her special access. And that “the ambitious daughter, who once plotted her career around international brand domination, is planning to take on an even heavier lift. Ivanka wants to make climate change—which her father has called a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese—one of her signature issues, a source close to her told Politico. The source said Ivanka is in the early stages of exploring how to use her spotlight to speak out on the issue.”
Such hopes were dashed with the selection of Scott Pruitt, an avowed climate denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt’s fossil fuel ties are so close that the co-chair of Pruitt’s election campaign was the chief executive of a North Dakota oil and gas firm, wrote The New York Times.
Ditto with climate denier Chris Shank, named by Trump to the transition team for NASA, and is expected to lobby for less Earth observations.
What does this all mean for the fact-based world of climate science? In this piece for the New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert writes, “The one quality that all of Trump’s picks for his cabinet and his transition team seem to share is an expertise in the dark art of disinformation.” And besides, we may have hoping for too much. “To imagine that Ivanka Trump … can counter the likes of Pruitt and Shank is to engage in the same sort of magical thinking that brought us Trump in the first place,” Kolbert writes.
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