The media elite are predictably up in arms right now over Donald Trump’s choice of Myron Ebell to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team. But Ebell, who directs the libertarian think-tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, is actually an excellent choice. Unfortunately, a mainstream media steeped in global warming alarmism sees Ebell as oblivious to the “single greatest threat facing mankind.”
Ebell is frequently tarred as a “climate denier.” But what exactly is he accused of denying? Like other climate critics, Ebell simply does not accept the shaky notion that carbon dioxide is the sole lever of global climate change.
It’s noteworthy that the debate over global warming is not actually focused on whether the Earth has warmed. Both alarmists and skeptics readily acknowledge that global temperatures have risen by roughly 0.8 degrees Celsius over the past 150 years. Instead, the real issue for both sides is what has caused this warming. And for individuals like Ebell, the science simply isn’t settled.
A brief aside: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a particularly poor choice to serve as the root cause of climate change. That’s because CO2 actually fades quite rapidly as a “greenhouse gas.” Conversely, solar activity has increased significantly over the past century, and this increased solar output corresponds quite clearly with changes in climate over the past few thousands of years.
So what does this talk about CO2 and solar activity have to do with Myron Ebell? Plenty, since he appears to be one of the few people in Washington who grasps that global warming is more complicated than a simple demonization of carbon dioxide.
Ebell and others who dispute the theory of disastrous, man-made warming have legitimate reasons to question such bumper-sticker science. Consequently, Donald Trump has shown pluck and ingenuity by selecting Ebell—someone who could reorient the EPA back to its original focus on protecting America’s air and water resources.
It’s silly and simplistic to assume that Trump and Ebell are “anti-environment.” In fact, Trump’s campaign website makes prominent mention in its ‘Energy’ platform of a stated desire to “protect clean air and clean water.”
But the preservation of pristine habitats is a far cry from the EPA’s recent transformation into a battering ram against industrial emissions of “carbon pollution”—and at an astronomical cost. Ebell could boost real environmentalism simply by rededicating EPA to its long-time, chartered mission.
In selecting Myron Ebell to oversee a revised EPA, Donald Trump has signaled that a costly war on CO2 must take a back seat to urgently needed job creation. As evidenced by the recent election, Americans are desperately hoping for a resuscitation of the manufacturing sector that once undergirded the nation’s middle class.
And so, while the climate community may fear Ebell as some sort of environmental despoiler, the general public should hope that he guides the EPA toward ensuring a cleaner, healthier environment. Otherwise, oppressive “carbon restrictions” could kill off what’s left of the nation’s industrial economy. And the resulting bankrupt nation would truly have no need for penalties on carbon dioxide.