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Does Ivanka Trump Really Want to Act on Climate?

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With a climate change denying White House and cabinet taking shape, there's not much environmentalists are excited about these days. But a new report from Politico indicates that our ever-warming planet might have an unlikely defender: Ivanka Trump.

Future First Daughter Ivanka Trump.Flickr

A source told the publication that the future First Daughter plans to "speak out" about climate change and make it one of her "signature issues." As Politico reports:

"Ivanka wants to make climate change—which her father has called a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese—one of her signature issues, a source close to her told Politico. The source said Ivanka is in the early stages of exploring how to use her spotlight to speak out on the issue."

Donald Trump's election stands to overturn President Obama's environmental legacy—just when the environment desperately needs a well-positioned champion. The president-elect plans to renege the Paris climate deal, axe the Clean Power Plan and other environmental regulations, and embrace the Right's "drill, baby, drill" ethos.

Not only that, Trump has climate change denier Myron Ebell leading his transition team at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and his latest cabinet picks, including Elaine Chao for secretary of transportation and frack-happy Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin as the frontrunner for the Interior secretary position, is just more good news for the fossil fuel industry.

"The issues she's talking about are ones she's always talked about," the source elaborated to Politico. "These are totally consistent with what she's developed with her brand. She is playing a critical role in being able to have issues that moderate and liberal women care about—and creating a bridge to the other side."

So does that mean Ivanka actually wants to act on climate change? Once upon a time, the Trump family actually believed in climate science and urged "aggressive" action.

Or, as New York Magazine surmised, does Ivanka just sense climate change as another branding opportunity? After all, she once hawked "sustainable bridal jewelry made from conflict-free diamonds and recycled platinum and gold" with prices ranging from $3,500 to $130,000, according to Ecouterre.

"As a young luxury brand I believe we have the opportunity and the responsibility to look into the multitude of ways we can build ourselves into a truly socially engaged and responsible company," she told WWD in 2011 about the jewelry line.

There are many reasons why going green is good for business and for the planet, but claiming to have environmental, health or safety standards is different than actually living by them. Otherwise that's just greenwashing. Let's not forget that items from Ivanka's top-selling clothing line are manufactured in China and Vietnam, countries under the spotlight for poor working conditions and human rights abuse, as the Independent noted.

In response to Politico's story, Greenpeace spokesperson Travis Nichols said, "It's absolutely necessary for someone to talk climate sense to Trump, but talking a good game [...] isn't the same as taking action."

We fear that Donald Trump's presidential reign could be a disaster for the planet. As Nichols explained, "Trump's transition team and cabinet of millionaires remain among the worst climate denying fossil fuel industry shills we've seen from the Republican party, and Trump himself hasn't laid out any concrete plans to deal with this massive global problem."

"From the start of Trump's presidential run we've seen his team use Ivanka to soften her father's most egregious positions, and there's no reason to think this isn't part of the same plan," Nichols continued. "Even if Trump can afford to protect his family from climate change, the rest of America cannot afford that luxury. Trump will have to take direct, executive climate action before anyone should think of him as any different from the climate disasters like Myron Ebell he surrounds himself with."

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