He has appointed lots of secretaries that are climate skeptics as well. Rex Tillerson, an ex-boss of Exxon, was paradoxically the main alarmist in Trump's team. Now, Tillerson is gone and replaced by Mike Pompeo who is a great climate skeptic.
But something is still wrong. I think that we're still bombarded by news de facto prepared by climate alarmists that still consider themselves a part of the establishment.
I want to mention two recent stories that sort of shocked me. One of them is the evolution of Scott Pruitt's red team-blue team debate. The problem is that this idea was totally killed by General John Kelly, the White House's chief-of-staff.
Science shouldn't be done in public debates. The public knows a little. But secretive science in the ivory tower only works when the people in the ivory tower are both smart and impartial. In the science about the anthropogenic climate change, the second condition is surely violated and the first one is mostly violated, too. This field needs a lot of new eyes. There are lots of intelligent people who should look into these problems and the new participants should improve the situation because some really bad things have taken place in the climate science itself.
Almost all the politicians in the Trump team who are interested in the issue do know the basic things – which also implies that they are climate skeptics. But the problem is that there are always some unexpected centers of power – people who have nothing to do with that debate but turn out to be consequential. General Kelly has been a soldier (or official in homeland security, fights against immigrations, and similar things – and his credentials are strongly conservative in those things) throughout his life. It's been an impressive military career but he clearly knows nothing about the science.
Kelly said that it would be harmful to do such debates etc. There might be good reasons why one could say such things. But in between the lines, I can see that Kelly has wrong reasons. He just likes the alarmists' takeover of the U.S. government-controlled institutions that touch the climate science. As a general, he probably thinks of these places as territories controlled by the enemy that can't be taken back. Or he is a climate alarmist himself.
I think that lots of the superficially conservative people – who haven't studied the climate issue in detail – simply fail to understand the basic fact, namely that the government's scientific institutions have been deliberately filled with a certain kind of people who were convenient for certain politicians, especially those from the main left-wing party. Their numbers were greatly increased by the likes of Obama – and for political reasons. About 90% of the climate scientists are there in order to serve some political goals. They know how to use one or two scientific phrases, write some equations, caress a polar bear, but their main role is to produce scientifically sounding lies that are meant to help the Big Government, special interests, green energy, and left-wing NGOs. And themselves.
There are certain basic technical things about the atmospheric physics that everyone should know. Some of them are cute pieces of classical physics or statistics. But if someone hasn't understood that this field has been utterly contaminated by dishonest or incompetent people who were chosen for political or ideological reasons, then he hasn't understood anything about the climate change controversy.
Schizophrenia is an unavoidable aspect of this Trump approach. On one hand, the political implications of the climate hysteria are being gradually suppressed. On the other hand, the true underlying reason – the mass of corrupt pseudoscientists who produce lies about looming threats – are allowed to flourish. It's completely wrong.
But I think it's not just folks like General Kelly who pretty much overtly help the climate fearmongers. Some crazy things are taking place in the lawsuit of the People of California against the Big Oil.
OK, San Francisco's city hall and some other Northern Californian carefully selected left-wing nut jobs have boldly called themselves "the People of California" and sued six Big Oil companies to create a lawsuit "People of California vs BP p.l.c." with some extra words. See all the documents. Richard Lindzen, Will Happer, and Steve Koonin (a lukewarmer from the Obama administration) submitted some materials to the court and they're great (of course, I primarily mean their review of the climate issue). But look what Chevron officially wrote:
Chevron agreed with the latest scientific assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC), which was released in 2013 and 2014, the oil company’s lawyer said. [...]Holy crap, "Chevron agrees with the IPCC report". To make this story doubly comical, and to complete the reversal of the sides, some green activists denounced this support for the IPCC as a tobacco industry tactic. Well, I am not sure. How can someone "agree with the IPCC report"? It has some thousands of pages in total. Some of it is boring data, some of them are accurate, some of them are not, most of them can't be verified by an individual who hasn't spent years on the measurements themselves. But a big fraction – which is still some hundreds of pages – are creative interpretations and at least some 1/2 of those are just rubbish. So every intelligent person – including co-authors of the IPCC report themselves – would surely still find a huge number of pages he or they would disagree with. In particular, every intelligent person who has looked into the topic knows that the IPCC report doesn't contain any evidence supporting the idea that Chevron should change its business because of some climate phenomena.
Can these assertions that "Chevron agrees with the IPCC assessment" help the good cause in any way? I don't believe it. Such a claim clearly contradicts what the actual scientists – such as Lindzen, Happer, and Koonin – say about the problem. Chevron is turning into a company of clowns. I think that their lawyer simply has to be an alarmist activist himself. Do you have an alternative explanation? Maybe Chevron wants to make its future profits from the green regulations and its friendship with the government bureaucrats instead of fossil fuels? Why would a big oil company ever hire a climate alarmist as its lawyer? Have the alarmists reversed their divestment campaigns, bought most of the stocks, and guarantee the alarmist behavior of the company through the stockholders' meetings? There are so many crazy things going on here.
So what Lindzen, Happer, and Koonin wrote – and what Spencer wrote elsewhere (he pointed out that the climate models don't actually start with any "feedbacks" so the term "feedback" is just one possible approximate a posteriori description of the behavior of the models after you learned about the results, not something well-defined that enters the calculations at the beginning) – is very interesting but these actual scientific arguments make very little impact on the debate because the key events are still being decided by the green brain of Mr John Kelly, or the idiotic green lawyer at Chevron. For these people, it's enough to say "the debate is over" or "we agree with the whole IPCC report" and for many others, it's an order to end any debate or doubt and continue in the unlimited hysteria.
Sadly, if Trump fails to fix the underlying cause of this mess – the corruption in this scientific discipline – he will be tilting at the wind mills. You can't really cure a disease by addressing the symptoms only.
It's ironic but now, under the Trump presidency, we may see how the alarmist climate science community was created. It was created by the likes of General Kelly and the Chevron lawyer. Such people with no understanding of the science have made arbitrary oversimplified and almost entirely untrue yet officially "authoritative" statements – and they defined constraints that the buildup of the climatological community had to adapt to. So a soldier told you "it's a matter of patriotism to end the debate and fight climate change" or an idiotic lawyer or administrator turned out to be influential and said that it was right to "agree with the whole IPCC report". So everyone was "obliged" to agree with it – who would want to be unpatriotic or contradict the main lawyer in your organization? – and only alarmists were hired. This has nothing to do with science and it's no surprise that the field is mess. Climatology is special because it's so "interesting" for politicians, lawyers, and even generals. No general or lawyer has ever pushed scientists to agree or disagree with the Higgs boson because the army and lawyers don't know what the Higgs boson is and how to make it interesting for their well-being. But climate change is an entirely different issue.