Wednesday

20th Mar 2019

Climate experts are eco imperialists, says Trump adviser

  • Greenpeace activist confronts Myron Ebell (Photo: EUobserver)

A Donald Trump adviser on the environment has told his EU counterparts that climate experts are "urban-eco imperialists".

Climate-change denier Myron Ebell, who headed Trump's transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was speaking in Brussels on Wednesday (1 February) at an event hosted by British Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Daniel Hannan described the demonstrators as "dishevelled, dreadlocked" radicals. (Photo: EUobserver)

"The first point I want to make here is concentrate whenever you hear from an environmental expert, think that he is an urban eco-imperialist," said Ebell.

The one-day summit was organised by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe, a European political party.

The group advocates free-trade solutions on climate. "If you want to save the environment, privatise it," is among the claims made by the group on a promotional video.

But Ebell's anti-expert comment was even too much for one of the panellists.

"The idea that we can denigrate learning and expertise sends a terrible message to young people, it sends a terrible message to a wider electorate," said Gregory Barker, Britain's former energy and climate change minister.

"Please, please stop trashing experts. It's incredibly dangerous."

Ebell, a staunch free-trade advocate, believes people who live and work the land are better placed to understand and make decisions on climate.

He then accused Barker of belonging to a "crony capitalist regime" that profits from the environmental movement.

He described the movement as a special interest "that has figured out that there is a lot of money to be made by embracing people's energy crisis".

Ebell had earlier been interrupted by a Greenpeace activist in the audience who stood up and held a sign with the word "Resist" written across it.

Environmental Protection Agency

Ebell does not speak for the Trump administration and has never met the president. But he was appointed by Trump's transition team to revamp an agency that helped uncover the Volkswagen diesel-emission scandal last year.

Ebell said he "assumed" the EPA would continue its probes into car manufactures that cheat on diesel emissions.

But he also told reporters that he agreed with Trump's message that "the EPA is one of the biggest problems to American economic growth".

"President Trump during the campaign said he wanted to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency," noted Ebell.

Trump also wants to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty, pull funding from UN climate programmes, dismantle Obama's climate action plan and scrap the former president's greenhouse emission rules.

Ebell has never worked at the EPA, but his staunch reproach of regulation and his work at the liberal Competitiveness Enterprise Institute (CEI), a Washington DC-based group, had by his own account, caught the attention of "someone very high up" in Trump's team.

CEI calls itself a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy institute but reportedly has ties to tobacco industry campaigns and climate-change denial campaigns

Its key funders include the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers who want Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier, to head the EPA. The brothers also run the coal, oil, and gas Koch Industries conglomerate.

Ebell had earlier in the week visited the UK prime minister's office but reportedly did not speak to Theresa May.

Demonstrators picket Ebell

But his visit to Brussels sparked protest as a group of picketers gathered outside the event.

Among the demonstrators was Fabian Flues, who told this website that Ebell's presence at the event was disgrace for the Conservatives in the European Parliament.

"To provide this forum and invite such a person to an event like this. It really is a backsliding to positions that seems three, four, five years ago the Tory party didn't have," he said.

Colin Ruche, another protester, also took issue with the EU Commission.

"It is disgraceful that Jos Delbeke, the senior climate official in the European Union, is dignifying a climate denial event and contributing to the continuation of a corporate funded climate denier system," he said.

Delbeke heads the commission's directive general on climate action and was a panelist at the event.

EUobserved

Schoolkid 'climate strikers' outnumber MEPs at debate

In response to the now worldwide movement of concerned school children, the EU parliament held a debate about climate change. But those pupils attending were not allowed to speak, only to listen.

News in Brief

  1. EPP proposes suspension for Orban's Fidesz
  2. May asks for Brexit extension until 30 June
  3. Juncker: Brexit decision unlikely this week
  4. North Macedonia EU-membership talks set for June
  5. EU ups benefits rights for mobile workers
  6. Chinese leader visits Italy, France as Rome joins 'Silk Road'
  7. EU agrees to sanction political parties breaching data rules
  8. EPP votes Wednesday on future of Orban's party

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  2. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  3. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  4. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  5. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  6. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance
  7. EU rolls out €525m for military projects, but bars illegal tech
  8. May to seek Brexit extension amid UK 'constitutional crisis'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  2. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  3. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  5. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  6. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us