“It is, first of all, an extreme right-wing ideological cabinet,” said David Goldstein, a senior energy expert at the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, which helped the Obama Administration develop its climate rules and strategies. “Those who are not ideologically far right wing are very corporate in their orientation.”
Trump’s nominees will each require blessings from Congress. The House and Senate will both be controlled by his fellow Republicans, suggesting they will support a team focused on repealing climate protections. Despite most voters telling pollsters they support efforts to slow warming, Republicans have become fierce opponents, frequently citing principles championed by fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks.
Trump’s pick to oversee the EPA is Scott Pruitt, who in his job as Oklahoma attorney general has repeatedly sued the EPA over its rules. To run State, Trump chose former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who downplays the seriousness of the climate crisis. And in picking former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as Energy secretary, Trump is seeking to elevate a paid board member of the company building the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline — somebody who previously campaigned for president on a policy platform that included eliminating the department he is now nominated to lead.
“We’re facing an onslaught of the most extreme anti-climate measures imaginable,” Goldstein said.
Tillerson’s hearing is scheduled to be held Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On the same day, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is slated to hold a hearing into Trump’s nomination of Elaine Chao, George W. Bush’s labor secretary, to oversee the Transportation Department. Hearings for Pruitt and Perry had not been scheduled by Tuesday morning.
Trump is coming into power during a critical moment for the planet. Falling prices for clean energy and worsening impacts of global warming last year prompted nearly 200 countries to unite around a United Nations climate treaty during meetings in Paris, following decades of false starts and failed agreements.