A Politico analysis of the Trump team's climate views, reported on by EcoWatch in March, pointed out that the Pentagon had excluded climate change from the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and quoted a 2013 interview in which Pompeo hedged on climate science.
"There's some who think we're warming, there's some who think we're cooling, there's some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment," he had said.
But now that Pompeo is seeking Senate confirmation to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, a role for which an accurate assessment of national security risks is also essential, he is changing his climate tune somewhat.
"[I] believe that the climate is changing, that there's a warming taking place. I'm happy to concede there is likely a human component to that," Pompeo said during his confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Quartz reported.
He also said that the State Department should work to meet climate-based security threats.
"You're heading in the right direction," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who he had been addressing, said, according to Quartz.
But an Associated Press live-update of the proceedings printed in the Washington Post reported that Democrats found his remarks "insufficient."
During his 2017 Senate hearing to be named CIA director, Pompeo had refused to "get into the details of climate debate and science," Quartz reported.
His most climate-accurate remarks to date come two days after more than 200 environmental groups sent a letter to senators asking them to reject Pompeo for the secretary of state position due to his history of climate change denial, The HIll reported.
"Any Senator who votes in support of his nomination to the important position of Secretary of State is complicit in advancing the Trump/Pompeo pro-fossil fuel, anti-climate agenda," The HIll reported the letter read, in part.
Tillerson, who Pompeo would replace if confirmed, ended up being one of the more climate-friendly members of the Trump administration, despite his former role as CEO of ExxonMobil. He supported staying in the Paris agreement, though he also cut the position of U.S. climate envoy.
Pompeo's updated views on climate might not be enough to win him Tillerson's old gig. Since Republican Senator Rand Paul has already said he would not recommend Pompeo for secretary of state, if the two Democratic senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee join him, Pompeo would not get a favorable recommendation overall. Republicans could still bring Pompeo's nomination to a Senate vote without the recommendation of the committee, but it would be an unusual move, CNN reported Thursday.
Earth to Senate: Hell No, Pompeo! https://t.co/52QAcQi5mG @Public_Citizen @DeSmogBlog— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1523570107.0
By Mark Schlosberg
Mike Pompeo, a former congressman, current CIA director, and Trump's nominee to be Secretary of State, will face confirmation hearing this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For anyone who cares about the environment, Pompeo as Secretary of State is a frightening prospect. His nomination must be rejected—any Senator who votes in support of Pompeo will clearly be siding with the fossil fuel industry over public health and climate stability.
Trump's agenda on climate, energy and the environment is crystal clear: deny science, ignore the impacts of pollution on our air, water and people, and as directed by industry, shred any common-sense environmental regulation in reach. The elevation of Mike Pompeo to Secretary of State would give Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt another willing partner in their agenda of environmental destruction.
Pompeo's record speaks for itself. Back in congress, he was the top recipient of campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, and he did everything in his power to fuel their deregulatory and pro-fossil fuel agenda. He is a climate denier who called relatively weak Obama administration efforts to address climate change "radical" and "damaging." He authored the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which would have expedited the approval of fracked gas pipelines. And he called for the permanent elimination of wind power production tax credits, at a time when we need to be giving every incentive for more solar and wind production as we move off fossil fuels.
Pompeo also carried water for the corporate chemical giant Monsanto, authoring federal legislation that stripped states of their rights to label genetically modified foods. This law was passed at a time when states were beginning to pass labeling laws under great pressure from rising public demand for the right to know what we're eating.
When Pompeo was confirmed as CIA Director he received support from a large number of Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Foreign Relations Committee members Tim Kaine (VA) and Jean Shaheen (NH), senators like Dianne Feinstein (CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) who say we need to protect our climate for future generations.
As the country's top diplomat, the Secretary of State is charged with, among other immensely important things, negotiating with other countries regarding climate change and global energy sourcing. Science tells us undeniably that human fossil fuel consumption is rapidly warming the planet. Not only must we act, but we must act immediately and decisively to avert greater climate chaos and more humanitarian disasters. This is why more than 200 organizations delivered a letter this week to all senators, demanding they reject the Pompeo nomination.
Any senator who votes for Pompeo for Secretary of State will be sending a clear signal that they are choosing to side with fossil fuel industry polluters over people and the planet. They must choose. We'll be watching.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
By Kelle Louaillier
As Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson was one of the most blatant revolving-door cases in the Trump administration and a clear sign that Trump's government was of, by and for the fossil fuel industry. But make no mistake: Mike Pompeo could be far worse.
Once again, this administration has proven that just when you think things can't get any worse, Donald Trump and his cronies will find a way. Now, instead of having a former fossil fuel CEO at the helm of foreign policy, the United States will have an Islamophobic Koch brothers shill who built his own business using Koch money and owes his political career first and foremost to their deep pockets.
In Congress, Pompeo received more money from the Koch brothers than any other member, and more than twice the Kochs' next highest benefactor, Paul Ryan. And if that weren't bad enough, Pompeo has expressed extremist, bigoted and Islamophobic views and has defended torture programs and supported unconstitutional surveillance by the federal government. He is one of the most dangerous Trump appointees yet and will lead U.S. foreign policy down the same dark, bigoted path of Donald Trump's Twitter feed.
If Pompeo is confirmed, Charles and David Koch will now have a direct line to the State Department, including its already obstructionist positions at the UN Climate Treaty. At the next round of treaty negotiations, the U.S. delegation may as well be called the Koch delegation, as their agenda—dirty fossil fuels—will again be the centerpiece of U.S. climate policy.
Whether it's Exxon Mobil's golden child or the Koch brothers' puppet at the helm of State Department, no amount of dirty coal money and bought-off politicians can stop the movements of people resisting this administration. Nor can it stop the millions of people, institutions, cities and states standing up to the fossil fuel industry. Big polluters are running scared, and this administration is their Hail Mary pass.
Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.
"We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things," Trump said today. The president noted that the Iran nuclear deal was a point of contention, but there were other issues where the two famously clashed, including Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
However, it appears Tillerson found out about his firing like this rest of us—via Twitter.
"The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted," Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein said in a statement.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to… https://t.co/bQrfIvM6iT— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1520945073.0
The Trump administration has gone through several high-level personnel changes during the president's first year in office. Earlier reports suggested that the former ExxonMobil CEO—who reportedly called his boss a "moron"—would soon be on his way out.
During his short tenure at State, Tillerson focused on cutting costs and eliminating staff, including the crucial position of U.S. climate envoy. Many positions at the department remain unfilled.
"Although the Trump administration is packed with billionaires and industry lobbyists, we can't say we're surprised to see Rex Tillerson's stilted and awkward tenure as Secretary of State end," said Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch. "America's premier oil and gas booster should have no role in U.S. diplomacy at a time when we urgently need to transition off of fossil fuels."
Critics have previously spoken against Tillerson's personal and business ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his company's storied history of climate deception—even though Exxon admits climate change is real now.
While Pompeo does not head a giant fossil fuel corporation, he has received millions in campaign funds from the billionaire Koch brothers, criticized the Paris climate deal as a "costly burden," and described the assertion that climate change is a national security threat as "ignorant, dangerous and absolutely unbelievable."
"Mike Pompeo is a climate denier and should not be leading the State Department," Hauter noted. "He's been referred to as 'the Koch Brothers' Congressman.'"
Naomi Ages, Greenpeace USA Climate Director, similarly added: "Donald Trump has now somehow picked someone even worse than Rex Tillerson to run the State Department. Greenpeace has been opposed to Tillerson as Secretary of State from the moment he was nominated, and we continue to believe that the U.S. government cannot and should not be run by fossil fuel industry flunkies. Mike Pompeo, though, is uniquely unqualified to be Secretary of State in an entirely different way than Rex Tillerson was. In addition to being a climate denier, like his predecessor, Pompeo is a Koch brothers' shill and a dangerous choice who will continue to denigrate the United States' reputation abroad and make us vulnerable to threats at home."
Hauter also denounced the former Kansas congressman for authoring legislation that preempted state GMO labeling laws, "and would likely continue the U.S. state department's role in promoting genetically modified crops around the world."
"We urge the Senate to reject his nomination," Hauter said.
Tillerson was ineffective at State but Pompeo could be even worse. I served with him in the House – he denies the r… https://t.co/bz35XdznAM— Rep. Barbara Lee (@Rep. Barbara Lee)1520949482.0
The White House is readying a plan to push out former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State in the coming weeks, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
Tillerson's troubled tenure at the State Department has been marked by frequent clashes with President Trump over policy as well as fierce opposition from career diplomats in the department. CIA director Mike Pompeo is thought to be the top choice to replace Tillerson. Unlike Tillerson, who paid some lip service to climate science and occasionally stood at odds with the White House on international action, Pompeo has an extensive record of climate denial, once calling the assertion that climate change is a national security threat "ignorant, dangerous and absolutely unbelievable."
For a deeper dive:
Despite the fact that Donald Trump campaigned against special interests and suggested his primary opponents who begged for Koch cash were puppets, he now seems to be happy to #StaffTheSwamp with Koch operatives.
Beyond Myron Ebell and David Schnare on his environment team, news broke Sunday that Trump picked Steven Groves to lead the Department of State "landing team." Groves is an international policy wonk at the Koch (and Exxon, and Korean gov't) funded Heritage Foundation, and just last week, he wrote an article advocating for a pull-out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a way to exit the Paris agreement. As the negotiating framework for the UN's climate efforts and the underlying basis for the Paris agreement, if the U.S. were to leave the UNFCCC, it would remove us from the negotiating table altogether.
Amy Goodman: What Would It Take for #Trump to Pull Out of Paris #Climate Deal? https://t.co/sk9D34sfi3 @democracynow @ClimateNexus @NRDC— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479240652.0
Not only would this "lead to political consequences with our allies," as Groves admitted in a House Science hearing last April, but it would also mean that Trump wouldn't be able to negotiate an amazing new treaty on climate, as the U.S. would no longer be part of the negotiating framework.
But contradictory advice is nothing new to the Heritage Foundation, which during the Farm Bill fight in 2013 told the GOP to split the bill into two parts. When Republicans did as they were told, Heritage still wasn't happy. Republican Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina said: "Heritage was now scoring against Republicans for doing exactly what Heritage had been espousing only a month before." Because of this stunt, as well as their push for 2013's government shutdown, former House speaker Boehner said: groups like Heritage had "lost all credibility."
Here's What Happens When You're a Republican and You Defy the Koch Brothers https://t.co/jfiSr3eHlT @DeSmogBlog @KOCHexposed— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479074428.0
Unfortunately, from the top of the Trump administration down, a distinct lack of credibility seems to be the unifying factor. But it is ironic that despite the Koch network's distinct lack of effort to get Trump elected, they are nonetheless filling Trump's administration with their operatives, from VP Mike Pence to CIA chief Mike Pompeo to Ebell, Schnare and Groves. And on the Energy Department front, it's been reported by E&E that Thomas Pyle of Koch-funded American Energy Alliance is running the transition, while the Interior is being led by Doug Domenech, of Koch-funded Texas Public Policy Foundation. And according to PoliticoPRO, on the Treasury team are Heritage-affiliated Bill Walton and Curtis Dubay.
The question is: Does Trump even know the Kochs are pulling his strings? Or does he really think he's "No puppet?"
According to the Washington Watch via Right Wing Watch, Sessions made this remark prior to the Paris climate talks in November 2015: "The balloon and satellite data track each other almost exactly, and it shows almost no warming. So what we're talking about is: The predictions aren't coming true."
According to a press release from Pompeo's website, the congressman said in November 2015, in reference to President's Obama calling climate change the biggest national security threat of our lifetime: "President Obama has called climate change the biggest national security threat of our lifetime, but he is horribly wrong. His unwillingness to acknowledge the true threat posed by Islamic extremism will get Americans killed. His perverse fixation on achieving his economically harmful environmental agenda instead of defeating the true threats facing the world shows just how out of sync his priorities are with Kansans and the American people."
3. Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, tapped for National Security Advisor, does not believe climate change is a national security threat, even though dozens of military and defense experts say otherwise.
In June on Fox News, Flynn said on The Kelly File: "And here we have the President of the United States up in Canada talking about climate change. I mean, God, we just had the largest attack ... on our own soil in Orlando. Why aren't we talking about that? Who is talking about that? I mean, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, Boston, people forget about 9/11!"
For a deeper dive:
Commentary: Motherboard, Grennan Milliken column
By Carey Gillam
News that President-elect Donald Trump has asked U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo to be CIA director shows just how dark the days ahead might be for America's burgeoning food movement, which has been advocating for more transparency and fewer pesticides in food production.
Pompeo, a Republican from the farm state of Kansas, was the designated hitter for Monsanto and the other Big Ag chemical and seed players in 2014 when the industry rolled out a federal effort to block states from mandating the labeling of genetically modified foods. Pompeo introduced the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" in April of that year with the intention of overriding bills in roughly two dozen states.
In bringing the bill forward, Pompeo was acting on behalf the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents the interests of the nation's largest food and beverage companies. The bill, which critics called the "Deny Americans the Right to Know" Act, or the "DARK Act," went through two years of controversy and compromise before a version passed and was signed into law by President Obama this summer. The law nullified a mandatory labeling bill set to take effect in Vermont in July of this year, and it offered companies options to avoid stating on their packaging whether or not a product contained GMO ingredients.
Pompeo has shown himself to be a "puppet" for special interests. If he accepts Trump's offer to head the CIA, it could spell a significant setback for consumers, according to Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety.
"The worst choice I can think of," Kimbrell said of Pompeo. "Far from draining the swamp, Pompeo is the ultimate "swamp" creature. He is little more than a puppet for the big chemical and biotech companies."
Consumer groups have pushed for mandatory labeling for years because of concerns that genetically engineered crops on the market now carry potential and actual risks for human health and the environment. A chief concern has to do with the fact that most GMO crops are sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate, the chief ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup. The World Health Organization has declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, and residues of glyphosate are increasingly being detected in commonly consumed foods.
The Trump transition team answer for those consumer concerns about pesticides doesn't look reassuring either. Trump has named Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to lead transition efforts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That's happy news for the agrichemical industry because Ebell appears to be a big fan of pesticides. His group's SAFEChemicalPolicy.org website champions the safety and benefits of chemicals used in agriculture and elsewhere, and discounts research that indicates harm.
#Trump Looks to Bush-Era Energy Lobbyists to Head @EPA https://t.co/1Jv4BDBJ9Z @MichaelEMann @NRDC @sierraclub @ClimateReality @BillNye— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479309960.0
"The EPA is supposed to protect us from dangerous chemicals, not defend them, as Ebell would almost certainly do if he ran the agency," the Environmental Defense Fund said in a statement.