Close advisor to President Donald Trump and avowed climate change denier Myron Ebell characterized the environmental movement on Monday as "the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world," and promised that the U.S. would soon withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
"The environmental movement is, in my view, the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world," Ebell said, according to the Guardian, while speaking to the press in London.
Ebell, who oversaw the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) transition team before Trump's inauguration, also strongly affirmed the Trump administration's commitment to climate change denial.
"I don't think there is any doubt that [Trump] thinks that global warming is not a crisis and does not require drastic and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions," Ebell said.
"The people of America have rejected the expertariat, and I think with good reason because I think the expertariat have been wrong about one thing after another, including climate policy," Ebell added. "The expert class, it seems to me, is full of arrogance or hubris."
Ebell is CEO of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank devoted to fighting regulations. "Our special interest is, I would say, freedom," Ebell said of the think tank, which ExxonMobil has helped to fund in the past.
Ebell also said that the U.S. would definitely withdraw from the Paris climate accord, reneging on its international climate promises, the Independent reported. "[Trump] could do it by executive order tomorrow, or he could wait and do it as part of a larger package. There are multiple ways and I have no idea of the timing," Ebell said.
Ebell went on to echo Trump's conspiracy theory that climate change is a hoax invented by China, the Guardian observed.
"China is making big investments in producing more solar panels and windmills, which they sell to gullible consumers in the western world, so that power and electricity prices will become higher and the Chinese economy will become more competitive," Ebell said.
The Trump administration is already moving toward fulfilling environmentalists' worst fears, it seems, as Trump's executive order signed Monday clears the path to wholesale gutting of environmental regulations, and the administration has also moved to clampdown on climate science within federal agencies.
Moreover, last week Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) submitted a law to Congress that would cut U.S. funding to the Green Climate Fund, a U.N. initiative established by the Paris climate agreement which funds efforts to fight climate change around the world. (President Barack Obama sent $500 million to the Green Climate Fund in his last week in office.)
Meanwhile, climate experts are warning that the rise of Trump and other far-right candidates around the world is fueling a vicious circle: the far-right refuses to take action on climate change, which in turn leads to waves of climate-related migration, which then boosts the xenophobic far-right, and on and on:
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) January 31, 2017
As meteorologist Eric Holthaus reminded in his daily newsletter Tuesday: "[K]eep in mind that Trumpism (and ascendant leaders like him in the U.K., Germany, France, and elsewhere) is a threat not only to democracy, but to the fate of the planet itself. It is our moral duty to resist."