US Greens fear climate backslide with Pompeo as top U.S. diplomat
Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state with CIA chief Pompeo
<p>President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea, White House officials said Tuesday.</p>Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.
Several green groups criticized the Trump administration's choice on Tuesday of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, saying his past skeptical comments about global warming show he is less suited to run U.S. foreign policy about climate change than the former Exxon Mobil CEO.
Pompeo, who was a Republican congressman from Kansas prior to running the CIA under U.S. President Donald Trump, has been among the biggest critics of efforts to combat global warming by past U.S. administrations, and has questioned the validity of existing climate science - saying it needs to be developed further.
Tillerson fails to thank Trump after firing
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thanked the American people, his State Department staff and the nation's extensive network of diplomats in his farewell statement on Tuesday. One person he did not thank: President Donald Trump, the man who nominated him for the job but abruptly told the world of his ouster in a tweet on Tuesday morning.The only mention of Trump came at the top of the statement when Tillerson mentioned that the President had called him at "a little after noontime from Air Force One" to talk about his ouster.
"In this position, (Pompeo) could prove to be dangerous to our national security and the safety of our planet," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.
Some climate advocates said, however, they hoped the long slate of issues facing the State Department now - from North Korea's nuclear agenda to intensifying trade disputes - would keep climate change low on Pompeo's list of priorities should he be confirmed by the Senate.
"Right now, climate change is not going to be a top 10 issue for him," said Andrew Light, a former adviser to Todd Stern, the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change under Obama.
Pompeo is also a top recipient of campaign donations from Koch Industries, having taken over $375,500 from the family-owned energy conglomerate for campaigns going back to 2010, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a transparency watchdog. Koch Industries has donated millions of dollars to efforts opposing climate change regulation.
Trump's firing of Tillerson came after months of disagreements
It's by far the biggest Trump administration shakeup yet as a shaken Tillerson relinquished control of the State Department ."I received a call today from the president of the United States a little after noontime from Air Force One," Tillerson said.He had been warned in an early Saturday morning phone call from White House chief of staff John Kelly that his job was in jeopardy.Tillerson -- who had been traveling in Africa -- cut short his trip.Hours after landing in Washington, Tillerson learned Tuesday he'd been fired and would be replaced by Pompeo.Mr.
His background upsets many environmentalists, but dovetails neatly with Trump's energy agenda to roll back Obama-era climate regulations and support domestic production of coal and crude oil - the fossil fuels that scientists blame for global warming. Trump has repeatedly bashed international efforts to combat climate change, and has at times called global warming a hoax.
Tillerson had also faced stern opposition from environmentalists when he was nominated as Secretary of State, given his years at the helm of one of the world's biggest oil and gas companies, but he had tried to be a moderating influence on Trump over climate policy during his tenure.
For example, Tillerson advocated continued U.S. cooperation regarding the Paris Climate Agreement, a global deal to fight warming, a battle he lost when Trump announced in June the U.S. intention to withdraw. The State Department has since continued to send delegations to international climate summits, where envoys have been perceived by their foreign counterparts as constructive.
Trump's intelligence whisperer prepares for State role
As news of Donald Trump's upset victory flashed across the TV screen in front of him in November 2016, Mike Pompeo watched in astonishment. "This is crazy. I might actually get my dream job," Pompeo quipped, according to two sources familiar with his comments. That "dream job," he joked, was deputy director of the CIA: It would put him in a top US intelligence community post without first having to undergo a grueling Senate confirmation. The reality was that Pompeo knew Trump's stunning victory could very well propel him to the director's office at Langley -- and within months it would do just that.
"We’ve gone from Exxon’s CEO to the Koch Brothers' most loyal lapdog," said May Boeve, executive director for climate activist group 350.org. Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch own Koch Industries.
Environmental groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club issued similar statements, calling the nomination a potential step backwards.
Koch Industries did not immediately comment, and efforts to reach Pompeo were not successful.
Officials at the White House and the State Department did not immediately comment on whether Pompeo would be expected to update U.S. climate change policy.
"Tillerson was basically hands-off on the issue (of climate change)," said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It is not clear it is going to be any more of a priority for Pompeo."
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner in Washington, additional reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles, writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)
Tillerson urges 'kindness' in farewell remarks at State .
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday praised the work of the agency's employees and urged kindness in the face of what he called "a very mean-spirited town." Speaking to department personnel in what are likely to be his last remarks as the nation's chief diplomat, Tillerson emphasized values of respect and dignity, and called for employees to perform "one act of kindness" each day. "This can Speaking to department personnel in what are likely to be his last remarks as the nation's chief diplomat, Tillerson emphasized values of respect and dignity, and called for employees to perform "one act of kindness" each day.
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