Although there are three key appointments Pruitt at EPA, and now Tillerson at State and Perry at Energy there are some concerns among those of us who hope that Trump will swiftly kill the climate dragon.
Tillerson as ExxonMobil head had praised the Paris Agreement. He called for a carbon tax back in 2009 and in recent speeches he has reiterated support for measures on climate change – this is from a speech in London in October of this year
we must continue to lower emissions. At ExxonMobil, we share the view that the risks of climate change are serious and warrant thoughtful action. Addressing these risks requires broad-based, practical solutions around the world. Importantly, as a result of the Paris agreement, both developed and developing countries are now working together to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, while recognizing differing national responsibilities, capacities and circumstances. In our industry, the best hope for the future is to enable and encourage long-term investments in both proven and new technologies, while supporting effective policies.
Which is what we are doing. We have long supported a carbon tax as the best policy of those being considered.
It may be that such statements were made to please particular constituencies (including the Rockefeller family which, like other scions of those who made their fortunes out of oil, is now deep green). It may also have been to take the heat off Exxon which his more openly sceptical predecessor, Lee Raymond, attracted. Even if that is the case, it might be said Tillerson lacks some moral fibre.
As Secretary of Energy, Texan Rick Perry replaces the quirky Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist who has speculated about airily suspended windmills as future promising power sources. Perry’s presidential candidacy in 2012 famously collapsed when, having been asked to name departments he would abolish, forgot the name of the Energy Department which he had previously indicated was for the guillotine. As its new Secretary his progress will be interesting.
As Governor of Texas, as well as backing coal, oil and gas development, Perry presided over a massive increase in subsidised wind which grew to over 10 per cent of the Texas electricity supply under his watch and which (shades of South Australian) has required a $7 billion expansion of transmission to service it.
As Attorney General of Ohio, Scott Pruitt has led state battles against the EPA he is now to head up. The bitter opposition of Bernie Sanders, Friends of the Earth and other climate catastrophians is most encouraging. And he has also overseen limitations on wind farms in the state
However Pruitt felt he had to parade his green credentials by boasting he had watched over his state’s electricity renewable supply growing to a 15 per cent wind share.
The EPA, as a source of financing of green groups and the leading agency in regulatory intervention of the economy, has previously been in the Republicans cross hairs Reagan wanted to abolish it. He appointed Anne Gorsuch as Administrator and, though she cut its budget and trimmed back some excesses, she left it largely intact as a regulatory behemoth. Subsequent picks, none more than Obama’s selection of Gina McCarthy as the current Administrator, have taken it to ever greater influence.