Why I march: Our obligation to protect American climate progress

Georgetown professor Andrew Bennett explains the Friday protest

I haven’t been to a demonstration or protest in 35 years.

So why am I organizing a nation-wide protest movement now? These are not normal times.

The New York Times has reported that Trump appointed a climate denier funded by the coal industry to be his top environmental adviser. This man, Myron Ebell, is just about the worst possible person on the planet to advise anyone on environmental policy, much less to serve as Trump’s nominee to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a possibility some media have reported. He has no background or qualifications in science. He has never served in the EPA. And he has worked as a climate denier funded partially by Exxon and other energy companies to peddle pseudo science and deny the realities of climate change on behalf of fossil fuel industries.

So I have decided to organize a nation-wide movement to demand that Trump remove Ebell from his transition committee and agree to not nominate climate deniers to head the EPA, the Energy Department, or other environmental agencies.

Here is more information on the organization Ebell works for, the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Basically, this organization has been a paid front for science deniers, first for the tobacco industry and now for the fossil fuel industry.

In a 2012 William & Mary survey international relations experts identified climate change as the number one problem facing the world in the next ten years. The EPA will play a critical role in implementing the Paris Agreement, and if the U.S. does not uphold its commitment to that agreement, China and others may back out of their commitments to reduce CO2 emissions. Climate change differs from other issues in that damage to the climate can become irreversible if the Trump administration allows the world to surpass acceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The irony is that Trump is heeding climate deniers at the very time that renewable sources like wind and solar energy have become cost competitive with fossil fuels.

Investment in wind and solar production and installation offer a way to help rebuild the rust belt manufacturing base and rural communities that were the biggest areas of Trump’s support.

I will be leading a protest at Myron Ebell’s office at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, 1310 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20005, from 3 to 6 pm Friday November 18th . We will be gathering outside the ICC on campus Friday at 2:00 and walking to the L Street location.

Beyond that protest, I plan to urge my Senator, Chris van Hollen (D-MD), and his Senate colleagues to filibuster any of Trump’s nominees who deny that climate change is real and that it is related to human activity. I hope that with the help of students, colleagues, and Congress, we can foster a movement to get President Elect Trump to nominate qualified individuals to help keep America safe from climate degradation.

I hope you will join me on Friday and urge your friends and faculty at Georgetown and other universities in the area to join us Friday.

Andy Bennett

Professor of International Relations

Georgetown University