Compared to nominees for cabinet positions that deal with energy and the environment, Rex Tillerson, Trump's choice for Secretary of State, appears to be the only 'climate believer' even though he heads America's largest oil and gas corporation.
"ExxonMobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson — just tapped to be Trump’s secretary of state, and hence perhaps the future lead player in U.S. international climate negotiations — has tended to articulate a more nuanced position on climate change," writes It’s one that, at least in the context of how Trump’s administration is shaping up on energy and environmental policy, could almost be called moderate."
Indeed, the three candidates selected for cabinet positions that deal directly with energy and environment have all been called either climate skeptics at best or climate deniers:
- Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke for secretary of the interior
- Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for secretary of energy
- Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for Environmental Protection Agency administrator
By contrast, Rex Tillerson appears to be the only believer in climate change even though he heads America's largest, and world's fifth largest, oil and gas company. Two of his, or ExxonMobil's positions, on climate change were noted here in past posts:
- In November, a post on coal's future indicated that ExxonMobil supports the Paris climate agreement. According to the corporation's November 4 statement:
Today marks the entering into force of the Paris climate agreement. The agreement is an important step forward by world governments in addressing the serious risks of climate change.
ExxonMobil supports the work of the Paris signatories, acknowledges the ambitious goals of this agreement and believes the company has a constructive role to play in developing solutions.
Rex Tillerson said that a tax was a "more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach" to curtailing greenhouse gases than other plans [e.g., cap-and-trade] popular in Congress and with the incoming Obama administration.
Tillerson's position on climate change are a 180 degree change from his predecessor, explains Mooney, "and is hard to label a 'denier.'”
Where Tillerson gets into more contested territory, though, is his assessment of the scale of the risks and how to respond to them. He suggested at that 2012 event that the impacts of things like sea-level rise would probably be “manageable” — something that very much remains to be seen.
Most prominent of all, perhaps, was Tillerson’s technological optimism about humans finding a way to solve the problem.
While Tillerson may be better on climate than other cabinet selections, environmental groups don't see much difference. His nomination "drew an immediate rebuke [Dec. 14] from environmental groups and policy makers insistent that an oil executive as the country’s chief diplomat would undermine global action to address climate change," reports Justin Worland, energy and the environment reporter for TIME.
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Proposal Would Transform L.A.’s ‘Freeway to Nowhere’ Into Park, Housing
A never-completed freeway segment could see new life as a mixed-use development with housing, commercial space, and one of the county’s largest parks.
Advancing Shade Equity in LA’s Koreatown
Koreatown is one of Los Angeles's densest and most park-poor communities. A privately funded tree planting initiative will bring some much needed greenery and shade to the area.
Federal Government Announces National Climate Resilience Framework
The document is designed to guide federal investment into community-driven solutions tailored to local conditions and needs.
How to Build for Aging in Place
Why developers should place more emphasis on building homes for aging residents and multigenerational living.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
City of Helena
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.