Presidential transitions are inherently messy affairs. A new report on Donald Trump’s plans for the future of climate policy in the United States hints at something far more chilling than just the usual transition turnover.
Trump may be specifically targeting staffers at the U.S. Department of Energy who were involved in the creation and promotion of President Obama’s current environmental agenda. According to a report from Bloomberg News, the Trump transition team has asked for a list of names of those current DoE employees who attended United Nations conferences on climate change, as well as those were involved in the creation the “Social Cost of Carbon” metrics—essentially, one of the ways the government estimates the economic impact of C02 emissions policies.
While it’s unclear what, exactly, the Trump transition team intends to use this list of DoE staffers for, the president-elect has long hinted at a major about-face for the United States’ climate change policies. He has previously denied the existence of climate change outright, stating at one point that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Following his election, Trump reportedly began searching for ways to expedite the process of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords. And already, Trump has named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt—himself a climate change denier—as his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
While a person with knowledge of the transition team’s request told Bloomberg that it is “designed to ensure transparency on the formation of existing, Obama-era policy,” the broad trend of Trump’s public statements and maneuvers in regards to climate change and energy policy seems to suggest that those staffers in the process of being identified may soon find themselves on the wrong side of the president-elect’s (environmentally catastrophic) plans—a reality that prompted several DoE employees to tell Bloomberg the request left them “unsettled.”
While Trump has yet to name a Secretary of Energy, recent reports indicate he may be circling around Democratic West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, a longtime defender of his state’s carbon-producing coal industry.