You’ve probably heard that Steve Bannon, who will be a senior advisor in the Trump White House, is a peddler of racist, alt-right, sexist and anti-Semitic junk. But it turns out his backward views will also be endangering the whole planet.
Bannon lies about climate change just like he lies about people. As reported by Erika Bolstad in Energy & Environment News and elsewhere, Breitbart ― the news site Bannon ran ― calls environmentalists “greentards,” “pure scum” and “totally fu**ing wrong on climate change.”
Bannon believes climate change is a hoax. He says that the scientists from NASA and elsewhere who have demonstrated how carbon pollution is threatening our future are cynically exploiting “mass crowd hysteria.” (To see how big the conspiracy must be, check out this list of scientific organizations who recognize the reality of climate change.)
His role in the new administration is cheering up fringe anti-science figures from around the world. One British anti-environmental activist who worked with Bannon declared “We won” after Trump’s victory. He describes Bannon as “like the eye of Sauron” who has a “pet peeve” about “the great climate-change con.”
Bannon will now work a few feet from the Oval Office, able to whisper this dangerous nonsense in the ear of the President of the United States. Trump ― who declared on the campaign trail he’s okay isolating the U.S. by pulling out of the international climate pact and wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency ― will now be egged on by a man whose ignorance and venality seem to know no limits.
This is Trump’s second personnel choice with an impact on our environmental future. The first, choosing former tobacco and Big Oil mouthpiece Myron Ebell to run the EPA transition team, is also a disaster for the environment. The pattern is clear – Trump is planning to let powerful interests pollute without consequence. American families will suffer.
The press instinctively treats the transition of power to a new president as routine, covering the appointments and policy announcements as part of a regular process. Most of the time that makes sense, as these transitions are a bedrock of our democratic system.
But it’s time to acknowledge that these are not normal times. All of us must recognize that an administration stocked with agents of ignorance and hate can’t be treated as routine. Lies are lies, and should be called out.