In his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump rattled off a litany of supposed threats to the United States – immigrants, Muslims and regulations among them. But on climate change – the greatest real existential threat facing humanity – Trump didn’t say a single word.
In short, denying the reality of climate change is now the official policy of the United States government. If there was ever any doubt, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt made it explicit when he told reporters recently that he “would not agree” that carbon emissions are “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
That denial puts us at odds with scientific consensus and with most of the world’s governments. We see this dangerous denial at work both in Trump’s policies and appointments.
Not least, there’s Pruitt himself, the former Oklahoma attorney general who sued the EPA 14 times before being tapped to lead it. Worse still, he coordinated his war on the agency with fossil fuel companies, as revealed in a trove of e-mails activists got released over Pruitt’s strenuous objections. For example, Pruitt’s office directly solicited contributions from the oil and gas company Devon Energy to include in a letter to the EPA complaining about methane regulations.
That level of contact raises serious questions about Pruitt’s conflicts of interest.