Conservatives must strongly support Trump on climate change
By Tom Harris
President-elect Donald Trump’s opposition to the global warming alarm is a refreshing change from the Obama administration’s naïve and hugely expensive crusade to lead the world to ‘save the climate.”
Not only has Trump been right on the money in his descriptions of the sub-prime science underlying the scare. He also clearly understands that there is little chance the developing world, the source of most of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, will follow the US lead anyway, as it strives to lift billions out of poverty. These nations don’t even have to. There is an “out” clause for developing countries in the United Nations treaty on which the Paris Agreement is based.
Trump has started out well. First, he appointed Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition, to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team.
As one of the ‘climate criminals’ targeted by activists in wanted posters across Paris during the December 2015 UN climate conference, Ebell is no stranger to controversy. He has faced up to aggressive global warming campaigners for years on television and radio, in newspapers and public presentations, and in his advocacy for solid science and affordable, plentiful, reliable energy.
Next, Trump selected Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to run the EPA. Like Ebell, Pruitt is a climate realist. He wrote in the National Review in May of this year, “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged – in classrooms, public forums and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”
Climate activists are outraged that such people will now have significant influence over America’s, and indeed the world’s climate, environment and energy policies. Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Washington DC-based Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, sums up the reaction to Trump’s appointments: “The sheer panic and harsh criticism emanating from the Left, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, only validates that he must be ‘saying and doing all the right things.’’”
Despite listening to people from across the political spectrum on these issues, even meeting with former Vice-President Al Gore on Tuesday, it seems unlikely that Trump will change his mind on climate change. Yet, conservatives cannot afford to withdraw from the fight and simply assume that things will continue to go their way after Inauguration Day.
After all, Trump has not been a consistent opponent of global warming hysteria over the years. He was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2008, and a major donor to the Clinton Foundation, which identifies climate change as its first “issue area.”
In 2009, Trump, along with Ivanka, Donald Junior and Eric Trump, signed an open letter to President Obama and Congress supporting “measures to control climate change,” even though doing so is a physical impossibility. The letter, published in the New York Times December 6, 2009, implored:
“Please don’t postpone the Earth. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”
So, like former Canadian prime Minister Stephen Harper, who campaigned for office as a climate skeptic, but changed sides after being elected, Trump could end up again supporting climate alarmism if realists don’t strongly support his current policies … and hold his feet to the fire if he waivers.
Already, climate activists and their allies in the scientific community are working hard to change Trump’s mind on global warming:
* November 17: An open letter signed by thousands of women scientists was released. They claimed to fear that “scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration. Our planet cannot afford to lose any time.”
Yet, the 2013 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) cited hundreds of research papers published in leading science journals, demonstrating that today’s climate change is nothing to fear. In particular, they concluded that “neither the rate nor magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979–2000) lies outside normal natural variability, nor was it in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climatic history.”
Current climate change is so slow – 1.5 degrees between 1880 and 2012, according to the United Nations – that we have plenty of time to properly consider alternative points of view on this complex topic.
* November 30: The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released an open letter it had coordinated to Trump and Congress. The 2,300 scientist endorsers worried that, without adequate research resources, “we will be less prepared to limit the impacts of increasing extreme weather.”
This too is misleading. As the NIPCC report explained: “The commonly held perception that twentieth century warming was accompanied by an increase in extreme weather events is a misconception fostered by excessive media attention, and has no basis in facts.”
* December 6: Over 800 energy and earth science researchers signed another open letter to Trump, urging him to “take immediate and sustained action against human-caused climate change.”
The letter is riddled with mistakes. Besides the UCS extreme weather blunder, they erroneously labelled plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide as “carbon pollution.” They claim the science backing the scare is “unequivocal,” a claim that is irrational in any scientific endeavor and especially one this immature.
They said that “virtually all climate scientists” disagree with Trump, an assertion easily disproved by the NIPCC reports; dozens of open letters and other documents endorsed by leading climate experts; former space scientists, engineers and astronauts with The Right Climate Stuff group; and a statement by 31,487 American scientists expressing extreme doubt about manmade climate cataclysms.
Backing all this up is the continuous global warming drumbeat from mainstream media. The National Geographic Society provided a good example in “The Global Dangers of Trump’s Climate Denial,” in which it erroneously claimed that “Trump’s stance on climate change runs counter to physical evidence [and] near-universal scientific consensus....”
To counter such reporting, Trump must promote solid science to justify his position. In particular, the president-elect must be convinced to make full use of reports such as those of the NIPCC to demonstrate that much of what activists say about climate change is simply wrong.
Otherwise, history may repeat itself – and like Harper and both President Bushes, Trump may yield to the aggressive climate movement. That would be a disaster for the United States, and indeed for all nations that rely on a prosperous America for freedom.
Republicans ... and what is left of moderate Democrats who care about working class Americans ... must get behind EPA Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt. He is truly a leader who has the character, wisdom, legal skills and understanding to lead the EPA in a new, more constructive direction.
Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.