Credit: William Munoz, via Wikipedia
Andy Rowell, December 12, 2016
The news from over the weekend that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Rex Tillerson, the chairman and chief executive of Exxon, the world’s largest private oil company as Secretary of State, is a clear sign that we face an unprecedented battle against the environmental movement in the years to come.
In nearly thirty years of working on green issues and climate change, the outlook has never looked this challenging.
In the mid-nineties, I wrote a book called Green Backlash, which looked at the assault on the global environmental movement. We thought it was bad then. It is worse now.
A colleague, Dave Helvard, wrote another book the War Against the Greens, which also documented what was happening. Well we face a new war. Plain and simple.
We face the prospect of decades of hard fought progress on environmental issues, clean air and climate change being ripped up in the coming months by the rich and powerful in the Trump Administration.
“Exxonmobil CEO Rex Tillerson in charge of the US climate negotiations team? This is my worst nightmare”, wrote one long term activist I know, who has expertly studied and exposed Exxon’s decades long climate denial campaign.
Others are equally perturbed.
Steve Coll, who is more qualified that most to write about Tillerson, having penned the definitive book about Exxon, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, noted the proposed nomination is “astonishing on many levels”. Whilst many environmentalists worry about Tillerson’s views on climate change, it is his relationship to Putin which equally of concern.
Coll notes he has “forged close relations with both President Vladimir Putin and Igor Sechin, the close Putin ally who runs Rosneft, one of Russia’s oil-and-gas giants … If Tillerson is confirmed, he would be in a position to benefit the corporation where he spent his career, by, for example, advocating for the easing of Russian sanctions.”