The climate-denying former head of Donald Trump’s transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Myron Ebell, is talking about purging “scientists who believe the global warming alarmist agenda” as part of a wider staffing and budget cut that could hit 5,000 to 10,000 of the EPA’s 15,000 staff.
I’m not saying that [magnitude of staff cut] is what’s going to happen, that’s a goal,” Ebell told the Washington Post last week, after returning to his day job as senior fellow at the fossil-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute. “It you want to achieve significant domestic budget cuts across the government, you’re going to take on appropriators by requesting big cuts.”
Beyond slashing budgets at the EPA and other government agencies, “like an exterminator spraying a broad-spectrum pesticide, the administration seems intent on eradicating activities that offend the fossil fuel industry and its allies,” InsideClimate News notes. “Some of the position papers and directives they are wielding speak of abolishing whole programs or radically reorienting their purposes to suit Trump’s pro-fossil-fuel, anti-regulatory agenda.”
Even so, in a review of the first week of Trump executive orders and the resulting front-line pushback, ICN reports that “strangling a huge climate policy machine” will be a longer, tougher job than it might appear.
“The government apparatus of climate policy involves dozens of agencies and offices,” and “they spend billions of dollars a year. Their public activities number in the hundreds, from rules and scientific reports to research programs, webinars, and internships. Thousands of employees, grant recipients, and contractors are engaged in federal climate science, policy, and communications.”
Shutting that machine down “could also require reining in forces outside the bureaucracy. That could include trade associations, universities, citizens’ groups, and state and local governments who work closely with federal counterparts as advisers, partners in regulation, or even as lobbyists for special interests.”
The New York Times suggested this week that a full four-year presidential term might not be enough time to unravel U.S. climate and clean energy programming against the sustained defence that is already beginning to take shape.