US could pull out of Paris Agreement “tomorrow”, claims Trump’s EPA transition adviser

Myron Ebell, who was appointed by Donald Trump to head his transition team for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has said that the President could pull out of the Paris Agreement at any time by using an executive order.

“President Trump made it clear that the United States is going to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement,” Ebell said, while speaking at a media briefing held in London. “He could do it by executive order tomorrow or he could wait and do it as part of a larger package [of environmental measures].”

Ebell believes that Trump is “very deciduous” [sic] when it comes to his campaign pledges and will enact them even in the face of significant opposition from non-governmental organisations.

His first week in the White House would seem to support those claims with a raft of executive orders having already been issued on foreign nationals entering the country, the proposed wall on the Mexican border and freezes on hiring in government departments - not least in the EPA. 

When pushed on whether the US could lose influence if it does not have access to global talks held between the member countries of the Paris Agreement, Ebell remained confident that this was not a priority for the President.

“Trump isn’t too concerned about having a seat at the table if the US pulls out of the agreement. Those that voted for him are not concerned about that and would in fact prefer not to have a seat at the table.”

As a long-time director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank, Ebell has built his reputation as being one of the foremost climate sceptics.

He has led a number of campaigns designed to reassure the American public that the effects of climate change have been overstated by groups with vested interests.

“The sensitivity of the climate to carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions has been vastly exaggerated. In all of this discussion on the impact of global warming, the benefits of higher carbon dioxide levels are completely minimised by the alarmist community.”

Ebell cited rising global food production, which is still increasing year on year, as one of the positives to have emerged from increasing temperatures.

When pushed on whether Trump believes climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, a claim he made in 2012 via a tweet, Ebell admitted that Trump does exaggerate for political effect.

“He tends to do that,” he acknowledged. “He likes to exaggerate and then pull back. But I don’t think that there’s any doubt in his mind that global warming is not a crisis and does not require reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

As part of the EPA transitionary team, he produced an advisory document for the new administration at the White House on what policies it should keep and what policies it should change. Although the document itself is confidential, so no specifics could be revealed, Ebell said that the US “will clearly change course on climate policy”.

Looking to the future, Ebell believes the US could quickly ramp up fossil fuel production, primarily via shale extraction, under the new administration.

“Trump wants to unleash American energy production,” he said. “American oil and shale production has been increasing dramatically in recent years, despite the best efforts of the Obama administration.”

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