Climate change denier is leading Trump's EPA transition team

President-elect Donald Trump has selected a climate skeptic to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team, a man whose beliefs are distinctly at odds with President Obama’s environmental policies.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) Myron Ebell is also viewed by many as a top candidate to become the next head of the EPA. Ebell’s research focuses on questioning what he calls “global warming alarmism” and opposing energy rationing policies, according to his biography on CEI’s website.

In 2012, Ebell, in a Frontline documentary entitled “Climate of Doubt,”  described former Vice President Al Gore as “the perfect proponent and leader of the global warming alarmist because he’s very politically diverse and controversial.” Gore, after a failed presidential bid, emerged as one of the leading climate change activists for his role in the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” He had already written about the environment in his book, “Earth in the Balance.”

Ebell and other climate change deniers have collectively described the “global warming consensus” as “phony.” 

“We believed that the so-called global warming consensus was not based on science, but was a political consensus, which included a number of scientists,” he said.

Ebell’s environmental ideology aligns with beliefs held by the president-elect. Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax.” And his “America First” vision on energy and climate change includes revitalizing the coal industry, lifting regulations on oil and gas industries, as well as nullifying the international landmark agreement dedicated to halting the effects of climate change because they’re “bad for US business.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is a big proponent of oil and gas exploration (remember “Drill, baby, drill?”), has also been floated for a cabinet position, Politico reported, saying that she could be in the running for Interior secretary.

In September, hundreds of scientists and members of the National Academy of Sciences signed an open letter warning the public of Trump’s harmful environmental policies. A Trump presidency, the letter read, “would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change,” adding that the consequences would be “severe and long-lasting” for America’s international credibility and for the planet.

  • Julia Boccagno

    Julia Boccagno is a news associate for CBS News.