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Donald Trump And The Shifting Sands Of The Climate Debate

Judith Curry, Climate Etc.

Insiders are out; and outsiders are becoming the insiders.

There is much angst among the climate activists and scientist advocates about the Trump presidency, his public statements, and his Cabinet appointees — it doesn’t look good for their preferred energy policies and funding for their preferred research topics. A relatively calm and objective summary of the concerns is provided by David Victor in e360.

On the other side of the climate debate, there is jubilation:

* Climate Depot: ‘Climate deniers prepare for domination’ — ‘A new dawn for climate skepticism‘
* Climate Report to UN: Trump right, UN wrong -Skeptics Deliver 2016.

In terms of the shifting fortunes of insiders versus outsiders, this is starkly evident in Trump’s Cabinet appointments and transition teams.


The hackles of climate activists and scientist advocates were raised by the appointment of Myron Ebell to lead the transition team for the EPA. Worst fears were realized by the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA.

* Trump’s EPA nominee makes eco-misanthropes and red-greens howl …
* Greens freak out over Trump’s EPA pick: Call him ‘Dangerous’ – ‘Existential threat to the planet’ …
* Pat Michaels: Trump’s EPA Pick Will Make Obama Regret His Overreach
* Is the endangerment finding in danger? [link]
* A relatively sane article on Pruitt and the EPA appears in the National Review.

Changing their tune

There is a group of scientists, environmentalists, policy makers, politicians and journalists, from both sides of the climate debate that seem to be changing their tune, towards a more rational center ground. […]

JC reflections

The sands of the climate debate are surely shifting rapidly, with major implications for those who are active in the public debate — scientist/advocates on both sides, environmentalists and the libertarian think tanks, the media, and policy makers and politicians.

One side stands to lose a massive amount of influence in the public debate, whereas the other side is potentially ascendant (to the extent that this issue continues to have political saliency).

I have hopes that climate research will be a winner in all this, with more openness and transparency and allowance for diversity of perspectives and funding for a broader range of research topics.

I expect that climate and energy policy will be a winner in the Trump administration relative to the Obama administration. Any solutions will come from innovations in the private sector and state and local governments — not from federal decrees or U.N. proclamations.

It will certainly be interesting to see how all this plays out, in terms of the scientific research agenda, media reporting, private sector investments, and public policy.

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