A former official for President Donald Trump’s transition team said Friday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could render a crippling blow to the fight against the Paris Agreement.
Myron Ebell, who led the EPA’s transition team, suggested that the former oilman and Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump are bound and determined to stay in the Paris Agreement. The former real estate tycoon turned president made breaking away from the climate agreement a key component of his presidential campaign.
Ebell, who heads a climate policy program at Competitive Enterprise Institute, also believes Tillerson is part of the corrupt Washington, D.C., establishment that the president railed against during the election.
“Rex Tillerson may be from Texas, and he may have been CEO of Exxon. But he’s part of the swamp,” he told an audience at the conservative Heartland Institute’s climate change conference.
The climate analyst believes that Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and Tillerson, among others, represent the wealthy insider club the president once bemoaned.
“And I’m sorry to say that we’ve heard that the president’s daughter and son-in-law also support staying in Paris. And I don’t know that they really want to be identified as swamp creatures, and I’m not going to do so,” Ebell continued.
Tillerson has indicated he would support the Paris agreement if Trump can manage to reduce some of the objectives former President Barack Obama agreed to last year. The former ExxonMobil CEO believes staying on board the contentious climate deal could help Tillerson diplomatically.
The president’s Department of State head is not the only Trump adviser signaling support for the Paris deal, which aims to keep so-called global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, for one, said recently that he was “impressed” with White House advisers who believe the agreement is not necessarily dead on arrival. Cramer, a Republican, is one of Trump’s top energy advisers.
“I can imagine that the State Department likes the diplomacy of us being in it,” he told reporters, referring to what the congressman sees as the Paris deal’s primary advantage.
Ebell also warned that if the president doesn’t pull out of Paris, environmental groups like the Sierra Club and others could use the pact as a cudgel to compel the EPA to keep Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan.
Trump is expected to sign a pair of executive orders as soon as next week rolling back several of his predecessor’s environmental regulations. But backing out of the Paris agreement might not be on the list of Obama-era experiments on the chopping blocks.
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