It’s not every day that the United States Department of Energy, a more than $20 billion government agency, trends on Twitter. On Tuesday, such an occasion occurred, and its reasoning was two-fold: Mr. Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas who once said, if elected President, he would abolish the Dept. of Energy, was tapped by Mr. Donald Trump, the Republican president-elect, to lead said agency; and the DOE, which under outgoing U.S. President Mr. Barack Obama pursued aggressive climate change adaption and mitigation initiatives, declined to provide the names of staffers who initiated climate actions on behalf of the Obama administration to Mr. Trump’s transition team.
The DOE’s non-cooperation with team Trump is a celebrated occurrence of public resistance by relatively unknown bureaucrats; its uniqueness appears equal to the initial request for disclosure. A spokesperson for the DOE said the request, which came attached to a lengthy questionnaire, “left many in our workforce unsettled.”
“We will be forthcoming with all publicly available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team,” Politico reports Mr. Eben Burnham-Snyder as stating in an email.
It’s unclear why Mr. Trump, who’s been dismissive of the scientific community’s assertion that climate change is a already a threat to livelihoods across the globe, desired such information, but some have suspected that it’s because he wants to quickly identify and pluck out those who may be more loyal to the settled science than his perceived sovereignty.
On the issue of climate change, which Mr. Trump once called a hoax, the president-elect as of late has sent mixed signals. When he met with the New York Times in November, he touted his open-mind towards the science. According to reports, two weeks ago Mr. Trump spoke to Mr. Bill Gates – who just launched a $1 billion fund to accelerate technologies aimed at counteracting climate change – about investments and philanthropy in the area of energy innovation. And last week, Mr. Al Gore, a former U.S. Vice President and current climate action promoter, visited Trump Tower to discuss the issue, as did, recently, actor and climate activist Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio.
Simultaneously, however, Mr. Trump this past Sunday said nobody really knows whether climate change is real – the truth is 97 percent of working climate scientists agree that the Earth is warming due to human activity – and the incoming head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General, is a climate skeptic who sued the EPA on several occasions and who is seen as an ally of the fossil fuel industry.
Mr. Trump has a long way to go before the scientific community feels comfortable with him. And until such a time occurs, they, like the DOE, will resist team Trump.
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