Donald Trump is rumored to appoint Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ebell serves as the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and he’s currently heading President-Elect Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition process. Politico reports that Ebell himself will likely become the new head of the EPA. While nothing official has been announced by the Trump campaign, the appointment of Ebell would represent a dramatic shift in the United States’ environmental policies.
Here’s what you need to know about Myron Ebell, the possible next head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
1. He Says Climate Change is ‘Nothing to Worry About’
Myron Ebell and Donald Trump both believe that global warming is not actually a serious issue that the United States should attempt to address in any way. In fact, he chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group that fights what they refer to as global warming alarmism. This group explains on its website that it’s focused on “dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.”
Ebell does concede that the planet has gotten warmer in recent years, but he thinks that this is normal and that scientists are being alarmist.
“There has been a little bit of warming, but it’s been very modest and well within the range for natural variability, and whether it’s caused by human beings or not, it’s nothing to worry about,” he told Vanity Fair.
Nearly every reputable scientist refutes this statement, agreeing that the climate has changed due to man-made activity. The planet saw a spike in temperature in the last 30 years not seen in at least the past 1,000 years, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt told The Guardian.
2. He Says That Even if Climate Change Were Real, It Would Be a Good Thing
Although Ebell does not believe that climate change is happening, he says that if it were, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
In a 2006 op-ed entitled “Love Global Warming,” Ebell said that we should consider the benefits of climate change, such as the fact that winter storms would be less severe and life would become more pleasant in parts of the world.
“So modest climatic improvement would be to have fewer and less severe big winter storms,” he wrote. “Amazingly, that’s exactly what we should get if global warming theory turns out to be true. The models say that much of the warming will occur in the upper latitudes and in the winter. At the risk of further ridicule in kooky blogs in England, where global warming alarmism is now a religion, that sounds pretty good to me. Fewer people will die from the cold.”
David Goldston, policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, told Newsweek that Ebell “doesn’t believe in climate change and wants to reverse the advances we’ve had in environmental protection and decimate—if not utterly destroy—the Environmental Protection Agency.”
3. His Think Tank Takes Money From ExxonMobil
As is the case with many climate change deniers, the think tank Myron Ebell works for receives a substantial amount of money from oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil.
Competitive Enterprise Institute, where Ebell works, received $2 million from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2005, according to Vanity Fair. The institute’s entire budget is only $3.7 million. They also receive money from the American Petroleum Institute. ExxonMobil has spent millions of dollars funding think tanks like Ebell’s that argue against the scientific consensus of climate change.
When questions about ExxonMobil contributions were raised, Ebell told Vanity Fair that these donations are not relevant to the work they do.
“We’re not beholden to our donors, because we don’t say, ‘If you give us this money, we’ll do this project,'” Ebell said.
4. Donald Trump Wants to Make Dramatic Cuts to the EPA
It makes sense for Donald Trump to hire someone like Myron Ebell because Trump wants to almost completely dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency as soon as he takes office.
Trump said in March that the EPA would experience large budget cuts and that he would “get rid of [EPA] in almost every form. We are going to have little tidbits left but we are going to take a tremendous amount out.”
Trump has also said that he will cancel the Paris Climate Accord, which was signed by 195 countries in 2015 in order to reduce global carbon emissions. Ebell has said that this deal is a “usurpation of the Senate’s authority,” according to Scientific American. The president-elect also plans to cancel funding to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“President-elect Trump’s oft-repeated promises in the campaign are fairly black-and-white,” Myron Ebell told Scientific American.
5. Trump Has Said That Global Warming Is a Hoax
It also makes sense that Donald Trump would be drawn to someone like Myron Ebell because they both believe that global warming is not a serious threat. However, Trump goes further with his assessment, saying that the entire thing is a hoax perpetrated by China.
Trump originally made this statement on Twitter in November 2012, the day of that year’s election.
This tweet was brought up during the first presidential debate in September, and Trump denied having said it. Trump also on at least three occasions called climate change “bulls–t” and again cited China.