NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Pumping carbon dioxide into the air makes the planet greener; the United Nations puts out fake science about climate change to control the global energy market; and wind and solar energy are simply “dumb”.
Literature left on a chair during the America First Energy Conference 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., August 7, 2018. Picture taken August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Edmund D. Fountain
These are among the messages that flowed from the America First Energy Conference in New Orleans this week, hosted by some of the country’s most vocal climate change doubters – and attended by a handful of Trump administration officials.
The second annual conference, organized by the conservative thinktank the Heartland Institute, pulled together speakers from JunkScience, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and the Center For Industrial Progress, along with officials from the U.S. Department of Interior and the White House for panels that included: “Carbon Taxes, Cap & Trade, and Other Bad Ideas,” “Fiduciary Malpractice: The Sustainable Investment Movement,” and “Why CO2 Emissions Are Not Creating A Climate Crisis.”
The day-long conference reflected the political rise of global warming skeptics in Donald Trump’s America that is occurring despite mounting scientific evidence – including from U.S. government agencies – that burning oil, coal, and natural gas is heating the planet and leading to drought, floods, wildfires, and more frequent powerful storms.
A similar conference blasting the link between fossil fuels and climate change last year drew then-Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who was appointed by Trump to reverse Obama-era climate initiatives and roll back regulation hindering drillers and miners but who has since resigned in a flurry of ethical controversies.
The U.S. officials who joined included White House Special Assistant Brooke Rollins, Interior Department Assistant Secretary Joe Balash, and Jason Funes, an assistant in the office of external affairs at Interior. They praised the administration’s moves to clear the way for oil industry activity, and steered clear of commenting on climate change.