A former lobbyist for Koch Industries, a privately-held U.S. fossil conglomerate that has funded political campaigns and astroturf groups opposing climate action, has been put in charge of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s team overseeing the transition of the Department of Energy to Republican management.
Thomas Pyle is currently president of the Institute for Energy Research, part of “the sprawling network bankrolled by Charles and David Koch, whose vast fortune stems originally from oil refining,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Pyle is also president of the American Energy Alliance and “for years, has led a coordinated national assault on renewable power.” His two organizations received US$3 million from the Koch network in 2015, the paper adds.
The groups “reject the findings of most mainstream scientists regarding climate change,” the Times says. “They specifically dismiss as overblown the warnings from scores of published academics that a global temperature rise of more than 2°C would be devastating.” Institute Vice President Daniel Simmons, for instance, has claimed that “the economic damages incurred achieving that goal would be greater than the damage caused by a warming world.”
A policy “blueprint” released last week by Pyle’s other platform, the American Energy Alliance, urged the incoming Trump administration to repeal the country’s vehicle fuel efficiency targets. The Alliance claimed the so-called CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards “may have” raised average vehicle costs by US$6,000, according to the subscription-only E&E News.
“Vehicles are already too expensive, and this additional mandate should be stopped and American drivers should be allowed to choose the attributes of the vehicles they drive, rather than Washington bureaucrats,” the Alliance argued. Its blueprint also asked the U.S. federal government to ban all its departments from applying the social cost of carbon in any of its regulations or rulemaking.”
Trump’s campaign manager and transition advisor KellyAnne Conway, meanwhile, has planned a trip to Alberta next month to tour the tar sands/oil sands.