Climate Week En Review March 16, 2018
Happy St. Patrick's Day Eve! May you find that four-leaf clover and all your climate wishes come true.
This week's must watch: She's back... Dr. Katharine Hayhoe asks: Does messaging with fear really work?
Nope: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly killed a plan by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to challenge climate science by organizing a set of "red team, blue team" debates pitting climate scientists against climate hoaxsters. The retired four-star Marine Corps general is said to share the same position on climate change as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: climate change is happening and poses a national security threat. Climate scientists, whose work already undergoes rigorous peer review, saw the effort as a means to politicize the issue. "A thermometer isn't Democrat or Republican," said our favorite climate scientist, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. "It doesn't give you a different answer depending on how you vote. The only time it gives you a different answer is if you pretend it does." In January, Pruitt said rumors the red team, blue team process was "dead" were "untrue."
Dear Colleague: New York's Rep. Elise Stefanik, the lead sponsor of a GOP climate resolution who last year led the Republican charge against a bad climate change amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter requesting $100 million in funding in the FY19 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (MilConVA bill) to meet resiliency needs for military installations. "In response to the threat climate change poses to national security and military readiness," the letter reads. "Congress included language in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) mandating a report on the effects of climate change on military installations. The challenge of climate change will grow over time, and the threat to our security interests will worsen the longer we wait to take action against this threat. It is fiscally responsible to address these problems as soon as possible. Therefore, please join us in sending a letter to Chairman Dent and Ranking Member Wasserman Schultz asking for $100 million in additional funding to the Energy Resiliency and Conservation Investment Program for energy resilience projects related to climate threats in the FY2019 Military Construction, Veterans' Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The funding requested will be used to increase energy efficiency on bases and help prepare installations for major storms and other effects of climate change." Joining her on the letter is Rhode Island's Rep. Jim Langevin.
Adieu: A week after the announced departure of Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump's National Economic Council director, the White House lost another carbon tax supporter, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a personnel shakeup. While at the helm of ExxonMobil, Tillerson advocated for a carbon tax, and as Secretary of State, argued the U.S. should "keep a seat at the table" in international climate negotiations. Like George David Banks, an international advisor to the president who also quit his post last month, Tillerson lost the argument to keep the U.S. a party to the Paris Climate Accord. By contrast, Tillerson's likely replacement, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in a turn from past intelligence officials, said in confirmation hearings that "as the director of CIA, [I] would prefer today not to get into the details of climate debate and science." He has mocked the Paris agreement as "damaging" and a "costly burden" to the U.S. Pompeo's nomination has to move through the Senate confirmation process.
Climate jester: President Donald Trump has officially named CNBC host Larry Kudlow as the new director of the National Economic Council, replacing Gary "Carbon Tax" Cohn and adding yet another climate hoaxster to the White House. A critic of the Paris Climate Accord, which he called "a war on fossil fuels" Kudlow asserts that "a bunch of scientists … don't think we have a global-warming problem at all."
And to leave you on a positive note, we share this reminder from American Conservation Coalition of the wise words of President Teddy Roosevelt:
Have a happy and safe weekend!