Other Voices

Setting the record straight on plans to deal with climate change

An all-too-common aerial view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline covered in smog. (Los Angeles Times)
An all-too-common aerial view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline covered in smog. (Los Angeles Times) TNS

For some unfathomable reason one of Apple Inc.’s senior executives decided to make some gratuitous remarks about the Trump administration’s EPA in a recent interview with an Australian news outlet.

Barack Obama’s first EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, spoke to news.com.au of being troubled by the direction of American leadership and was critical of the agency’s current administrator, Scott Pruitt.

Why she chose to make such remarks to a foreign media is unclear. Perhaps she was following the lead of her boss, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who has often expressed his own negative views of the president.

Jackson scored a lucrative private sector position when she left the EPA and joined Apple as its vice president of environment policy and social initiatives. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Clinton Foundation.

What makes Jackson’s statements even more curious is her own record of leading the EPA to scant results in the Obama administration’s war on coal and related efforts to regulate the use of fossil fuels in a mission to control global warming.

When the Democratic-controlled Congress in Obama’s first two years in office failed to pass any law specifically authorizing actions dealing with climate change, Jackson turned instead to dubious authority in the Clean Air Act to launch a massive regulatory agenda.

With the economic interests of states across the country put at risk from the frenzy of rules arising from questionable legal authority, more than half of them, along with others whose interests were at stake, sued the agency for judicial review of EPA’s actions.

By the time the Obama administration had come to an end, the U.S. Supreme Court had basically put the most egregious effects of that adventure on hold.

With Trump’s appointment of Pruitt, the left has labeled him a “denier” of climate change and has been hammering away at revisions he has implemented to these controversial regulations.

Fortunately for the sake of truth in government in these times of extreme partisanship and biased national media coverage of his leadership, the administrator can speak for himself and has done so emphatically in a recent public interview at the annual President’s Club meeting of the Heritage Foundation.

In a wide-ranging question and answer session in front of the audience gathered for the occasion, Pruitt discussed his view of environmentalism.

In doing so, he explained his role in delivering on the promises Trump made during his successful campaign — especially those that helped him win the swing states that gave him the victory over Hillary Clinton.

On the central question of whether or not he believed in climate change and global warming, here is how he explained his views that you can be certain are embraced at the White House:

“It’s not a question about whether climate change occurs. It does. It’s not a matter of whether man contributes to it. We do. The question is how much do we contribute to it and how do we measure that with precision?

“The American people deserve, in my view, an objective, transparent, honest discussion about what we know and what we don’t know, with respect to CO2. It’s never taken place.”

He went on to explain his plans to put together a team of scientists from opposing sides of the issue who would engage in a “multi-month process asking of each other these very difficult questions to help inform the American public on these issues to help build consensus toward this very important issue.”

That’s something former administrator Lisa Jackson could have done and didn’t. Maybe the next time she speaks on the subject instead of criticizing current initiatives, she should tell us all why she didn’t take that initiative.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.