With the results of the recent presidential election, people all over have questioned the future of this country. More specifically, an overarching concern lies in the inability to predict the United State’s participation to combat climate change.
Myron Ebell, renowned climate change contrarian, has been chosen as the head of President-elect Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition, according to E&E Publishing.
Ebell’s organization is financed in part by the coal industry, motivating his dismantling of the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan, as established by The New York Times, has been facilitated by President Barack Obama and the Obama administration and is a set of regulations set in order to reduce the amount of carbon emissions nationwide by closing a large number of coal-burning power plants. Ebell’s vow to take down the act would assure the security of his organization’s financial backing.
Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations Daniel Lipson voiced his concern regarding the outcome of the election due to the fact that Trump is a climate-change denier.
“He has made comments suggesting climate change is a hoax promoted by China, any appointment made by him regarding the environment will be a hostile move towards climate change,” Lipson said. “During the election, climate change wasn’t a big issue that was stressed but considering it is the number one civilization crisis, it should have been,” Lipson said.
Lipson explains that although there is a budding group of dubious scientists producing bunk science, the legitimate scientific community is unified by knowing the basics of climate change.
According to The Huffington Post, 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is very real. This is followed by the observation that natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and the Ellicot City floods are now taking place every other year rather than every few hundred years and sea levels continue to rise.
Ebell currently directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and has in the past accepted donations from companies such as Exxon Mobil and Murray Energy as established by The Huffington Post.
Recently published by The New York Times was the reaction of Ebell himself to being portrayed as a “climate criminal.”
While Ebell accepts the depiction with humor, stating that he’s gotten used to it over the years, Lipson argues that although he can’t say much about the character of Ebell, he would willingly point fingers at Exxon Mobil for heinous crimes against the environment.
“The company hired their own experts to investigate the consequences of burning fossil fuels and even after being made aware that it would wreak havoc, they suppressed the evidence for their own gain,” Lipson explained.
For individuals interested in getting involved in opposing Ebell’s potential reversal of the environmental movement, Lipson encourages people to pressure Republican senators to peel off in the hope of the defecting Ebell’s leading of the transition.
Lipson says, “it’s time to play defense and engage in far more aggressive tactics to take the senate and the house. The only silver lining I can see in the next two years within a unified government is the possible economic contraction which would ultimately lead to lower emissions.”
Fourth year contract major in environmental studies Billie Golan, notes that when people like Trump and Ebell are appointed to such positions they are given opportunity to grant their like minded friends equal power which is concerning.
“They see environmental progress as slowing down the economy so they believe in increasing coal and nuclear energy use,” Golan said. “They think the UN climate plans are scams because they feel it’s an attack on economy, but little do they know the economy they are trying to protect will be underwater before they have much needed revelations.”
Golan, the president of Students for Sustainable Agriculture, active member of the Environmental Task Force and Sustainability Committee and campus Farmers Market Manager, believes that the appointment of Ebell will make the fight toward prioritizing sustainable agriculture even more difficult.
Lipson said he wants to remind people to not be discouraged regarding the newly appointed head of the EPA transition.
“Although this is a dangerous setback, it is only temporary,” Lipson said.