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Al Gore and Ivanka Trump walk into a bar… well not quite. But the two did walk into Trump Tower on Monday to discuss climate change.
And guess what? It was all a smokescreen. Don’t let the Ivanka-Gore meeting distract you from Trump’s ghastly climate agenda.
While Ivanka may have her father’s ear as a trusted advisor on some issues, Trump’s announcement today that he is nominating Scott Pruitt to head the EPA proves that he has little regard for Ivanka’s newly-expressed interest in the topic of climate change.
Ivanka said virtually nothing about climate change on the campaign trail, yet now supposedly wants to make it a signature issue, according to an anonymous source close to Ivanka. Politico cited one individual in a recent article, saying Ivanka is exploring how to best use her position to call attention to the pressing global issue.
“It’s no secret that Ivanka Trump is very committed to having a climate policy that makes sense for our country and for our world, and that was certainly evident in the conversation I had with her,” Gore said on MSNBC following his meeting.
Former Vice President-Senator-Presidential Candidate and world-renowned climate champion, Al Gore, also met with her father, President Elect Donald Trump. “I found it an extremely interesting conversation and to be continued. And I’m just going to leave it at that,” Gore told reporters outside of Trump Tower.
Ivanka championed family and women’s issues throughout the campaign (and was recently handed the phone by the President Elect to speak with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the topic), spoke of paid leave and gender equity at the Republican National Convention, and sat in on her father’s first meeting with a foreign leader (Japan’s Abe) 10 days after the election. Now, Ivanka appears to be taking on climate change, though she has never said anything publicly on the issue, save a joking tweet from 2010 I stumbled upon: “Ironic tidbit of the day…Senate global warming hearing canceled due to the blizzard.” She holds more liberal stances than most in her father’s inner circle and counts a number of powerful climate advocates as friends, recently meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio to receive a copy of his new climate documentary, Before the Flood.
Ivanka has a track record of speaking out on issues that matter to her, but remains silent on the rest, including many of her father’s most troublesome and extreme of positions.
The First Daughter will be a functional First Lady — but does that mean she can force the President Elect to shift his stance on climate change away from the much-talked-about belief that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese?”
Are the Ivanka-Gore headlines an attempt to distract the American public from Trump’s ghastly climate agenda?
It does not appear the President Elect will stop giving credence to or appointing climate deniers anytime soon. Trump has promised to revive of the coal industry, roll back or eliminate EPA regulations, dismantle Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan, attempt to weaken or eradicate the Clean Air Act and other critical legislation, and walk away from the historic international 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
While Ivanka may have orchestrated a meeting with Gore, Trump just appointed fossil fuel ally Pruitt to head the EPA, named climate denier Myron Ebell to lead his EPA transition team, and met with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson about the position of Secretary of State.
Pruitt is a “fossil fuel industry puppet,” to quote 350.org Executive Director, May Boeve. He is a former coal industry lobbyist who has spent much of his professional career working to stop the EPA from being able to carry out its mandate, even suing the agency on behalf of the coal industry to kill commonsense environmental and public health regulations related to air pollution, wetland protections, and toxins exposure, including mercury and arsenic. The Oklahoma Attorney General was at the center of a secret alliance, as the NY Times reported, of energy firms, oil and gas companies, and state prosecutors.
Ebell is not a scientist and calls climate scientists, who overwhelmingly (97%!) agree that climate change is a result of human activity, “global warming alarmists.” He urged the Senate to reject last year’s landmark Paris Climate Agreement and seeks to open more land to logging and coal, oil and gas exploration to fuel the economy and create jobs. An effective mouthpiece for the oil lobby, he focuses on so-called energy independence at the cost of all else and falsely claims to be working in the name of the energy impoverished.
Tillerson runs ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company. For decades, the corporation has intentionally ignored, even silenced, its scientists’ early findings on the risks of climate change, while funding climate denial studies, planting seeds of doubt as to its urgency and severity, and bankrolling attacks on sound climate science and steps to protect and defend the environment. He does not merely have close ties to the fossil fuel industry, he is the industry — and pays little mind to the inevitable environmental destruction, as a result of ongoing fossil fuel use.
The environmental stakes are far higher now than with either of the last two Republican administrations. Investment in and promotion of clean energy need not be a partisan issue, as George W. Bush proved during his presidency. Costs of wind and solar have dropped dramatically since, closing in on fossil fuels without subsidies, and posing none of the financial risk associated with rapidly-diminishing fossil fuels. Far from a climate champion, Bush also appointed veritable experts in energy and environmental law to key positions; Trump could do the same. But it will clearly take more than Ivanka’s urging, especially when his administration has a track record of rebuffing any and all efforts to counter climate change.
800 scientists penned a letter to Trump, accompanied by a Change.org petition for the President Elect to #ActOnClimate. The collective cite unequivocal science about human-caused climate change, which poses a direct threat to and negatively impacts the economy, national security, public health and safety. As outlined, Trump can (and should!) work to:
— Make America a clean energy leader — Reduce carbon pollution and America’s dependence on fossil fuels. — Enhance America’s climate preparedness and resilience — Publicly acknowledge that climate change is a real, human-caused, and urgent threat — Protect scientific integrity in policymaking — Uphold America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement
The day after the election, Al Gore wrote, “I hope that [Trump] will work with the overwhelming majority of us who believe that the climate crisis is the greatest threat we face as a nation. I wish him well in these efforts and intend to do everything I can to work with him and his administration to ensure that our nation remains a leader in the global effort to meet this challenge.” Gore accepted Ivanka’s invitation — and is certainly making an effort, when many refuse to meet with the Trump camp altogether. But should we see Ivanka’s priorities or the meeting as carrying any weight, when Trump’s rhetoric and administration actions suggest otherwise?
The unlikely pairing of questionable-environmentalist Ivanka Trump and longtime champion Al Gore is a certain media distraction, coming just prior to today’s acutely dangerous EPA appointment. It may have offered climate activists the smallest glimmer of hope for but a fleeting moment — and then the perilous, threatening reality of the country and world under President Trump set in once again.