Well, we knew this wasn’t going to be pretty — but it’s still shocking. Donald Trump wants to appoint Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Presumably this isn’t one of the personnel decisions where Trump supposedly took advice from President Obama. Pruitt is not only a climate science denier and fossil fuel apologist, he’s cast himself as a sworn enemy of the very agency he would be in charge of. If he’s confirmed — and we will do all we can to keep that from happening — then the EPA, which is sworn to protect us from polluters and which has been leading the federal charge on climate change, will be sabotaged from within. It’s like appointing Darth Vader to lead the Rebel Alliance.
Regardless of how this nomination proceeds, though, Trump has made it clear how serious he is about siding with polluters and how little he cares about climate progress. He’s named climate denier Myron Ebell to lead the transition for EPA, regardless of who’s appointed. He’s named Koch brothers–funded clean energy opponent Thomas Pyle to lead the transition at the Department of Energy. As a Los Angeles Times headline declared, “Trump brings Koch network’s green energy foes from the fringe to the center of power.” Even if Pruitt is rejected, it seems like the climate movement could be stalled.
Or not. Although at the federal level only someone given to delusion or distraction would deny that we have the fight of our lives at hand, that doesn’t mean progress will stop in this country. Far from it. For states, municipalities, corporations, and countries around the world, it’s still full speed ahead. Just yesterday, Google announced that by next year all of its data centers would be 100 percent powered with energy from wind and solar.
Along with dozens of other major companies, Google has committed to renewable energy because it’s the right thing to do, because it’s cheap, and because that is where the future lies. To give you an idea of how significant that commitment can be, Google’s data centers currently consume more energy than the city of San Francisco. By next year, every kilowatt of that energy will be clean.
And speaking of cities, on the same day that Google made its announcement, the city council of Boulder, Colorado, approved a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Boulder, like San Diego and 18 other cities that have made similar commitments, will switch to clean energy regardless of who is in the White House or which party controls Congress.
From coast to coast, renewable energy will keep gaining ground and climate progress will keep being made. It’s true, we’ll have to resist much of our federal government as it attempts to undermine environmental progress. But as Victor Hugo said, “No army is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
Remember, fighting for progress isn’t a spectator sport! We must resist climate deniers like EPA appointee Scott Pruitt with all we’ve got.