Trump to Withdraw Nomination of Climate Skeptic as Top Environmental Adviser


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Kathleen Hartnett White at Trump Tower in Manhattan in 2016.

Credit
Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration plans to withdraw its nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change skeptic, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House official said.

President Trump in October appointed Ms. White, a former Texas environmental regulator who has said that carbon dioxide should be considered the “gas of life” rather than a pollutant, to be the White House senior environmental adviser. Carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global warming.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Ms. White on a party-line vote, but her nomination languished at the end of 2017. That was in part, lawmakers acknowledged, because of Ms. White’s performance at her hearing in which she not only espoused controversial views on climate change but also stumbled over science questions.

When Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, asked Ms. White if she believes climate change is real, she said “I am uncertain.” She then corrected herself saying, “No, I’m not. I jumped ahead. Climate change is of course real.” She then added she was uncertain about the extent to which humans cause climate change.

When Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat of Rhode Island, asked Ms. White to estimate how much heat in Earth’s atmosphere is stored in the oceans, she replied, “I don’t have numbers like that,” adding, “I believe that there are differences of opinions on that, that there’s not one right answer.”

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