Australian officials’ harsh attitudes toward the Trump administration’s stance and actions on climate change may have been on full display if a trip to the country by Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt had not been canceled.
Pruitt’s trip to Australia was canceled after Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast. Former lobbyist Matthew Freedman worked with Pruitt’s office to help plan the trip, warning Pruitt aides that the EPA administrator would most likely receive a cold reception from officials.
“I think that the trip will be more hostile than what the Administrator may be expecting,” Freedman wrote in an email to EPA scheduler Milan Hupp, according to Politico. “The outright hostility may come to the surface more frequently than you might expect. He needs to be prepared for a more confused and angry group of Aussies.”
Freedman currently serves as treasurer of the American Australian Council that works to build and strengthen business and trade ties between Australia and the U.S.
Freedman said that meetings with Australian officials would be useless or counterproductive, on the whole. Meetings with members of the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative Australian think tank, and with Bill Shorten, the leader of the center-left Labor Party, would yield results and should be the main focus of Pruitt’s time.
Australian officials are generally against the Trump administration’s climate change policies and rolling back Obama-era regulations related to carbon emissions and the environment. Australia’s government also backs the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. out of.
Pruitt and the EPA have faced past criticism over the canceled trip for spending $45,000 to send an advance team of EPA aides and security to prepare for the administrator’s visit, according to Reuters.
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