President Donald Trump has officially fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and intends to nominate current CIA director Mike Pompeo in his place.
Tillerson was the former CEO of ExxonMobil, which for decades was the number one funder of climate science disinformation until they were surpassed by the Koch brothers starting in 2005. But before Pompeo became CIA Director in 2017, he had for six years been a GOP House member from Kansas — and “the #1 all time recipient of #KOCH Industries $$$,” as the nonprofit research group OpenSecrets.org tweeted at the time:
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) November 19, 2016
In just four election cycles, 2010 through 2016, Pompeo received: $335,000 from Koch Industries employees (including $92,000 just from the Koch family); $69,000 from the Koch Industries PAC; $417,175 from Americans for Prosperity (which is the right-wing advocacy group founded by the Koch brothers); plus another $87,532 from “Other outside groups heavily funded by the Kochs.”
That’s over $900,000 to buy one Congressman. No surprise, then, that Pompeo, who was a Tea Party member, is also a major denier of climate science. Pompeo described President Obama’s effort to cut carbon pollution at home (through the Clean Power Plan) and abroad (through the Paris climate deal) as a “perverse fixation on achieving his economically harmful environmental agenda” and as “worshiping a radical environmental agenda.”
He called the Paris Climate Accord a “costly burden” in 2015, adding that “Congress must also do all in our power to fight against this damaging climate change proposal and pursue policies that support American energy, create new jobs, and power our economy.”
In reality, the Paris Climate Accord is hardly radical given that 200 nations unanimously agreed it is vital for preserving a livable climate. Indeed, it remains an incredible deal for America, since it would avert numerous catastrophic climate impacts on this country, while requiring us to merely continue reducing carbon dioxide emissions at the pace we have been in recent years.
During his confirmation hearings for CIA director, Pompeo dodged all questions about climate change, saying “Frankly, as the director of CIA, I would prefer today not to get into the details of the climate debate and science.”
But the State Department plays a direct and key role in climate change — not just in international climate negotiations, but also in international aid and development, including choices about which energy sources developing countries should choose — so, such non-answers given as by Pompeo previously should not fly this time around.