Mark Warner — the Democratic senator from Virginia that wasn’t Hillary Clinton’s running mate — is going to vote to confirm (now, former) Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state today (Wednesday).
Tillerson has only ever worked at Exxon, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, which, BTW, totally knew that climate change was a thing in the 1970s but did everything it could to confuse the public about the reality of the impacts of increased CO2 emissions.*
Allow me to state that again in slightly different terms:
Mark Warner (D!!!) is voting to install a man as head of the state department who has known for many, many years that the better his company does, the more desperately poor, unlucky people will become homeless, destitute and, with absolutely no hyperbole, die.
If you disagree with that analysis, that’s fine with me. We’re obviously dealing with a separate set of facts,
Warner, on the other hand, has somewhat of a history of endorsing this expert-driven, peer-reviewed, globalist conspiracy of >97 percent of the world’s climate scientists. So, either he’s been lying to his constituents about what he believes (politicians will say anything…), or he has something to gain personally from confirming Tillerson — something worth dangerously jeopardizing his and our children’s future…
Here’s what Warner has said about climate change:
According to The Hill, in a July 2014 debate against Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, he said this:
“My opponent has never been willing to acknowledge the science around climate change, and that man has an effect on it. I’d love to take my opponent to Norfolk where seas are rising so much that the Navy is spending tens of millions a year just to raise the barriers.”
Here he is endorsing Obama’s Clean Power Plan:
Here’s Rex Tillerson’s record on climate issues:
In an April 2015 interview with the AP he said:
We are in the depletion business. There will come a time when all the resources that are supplying the world’s economies today are going to go in decline. This will be what’s needed next. If we start today it’ll take 20, 30, 40 years for those to come on.
“I agree with the consensus view that combustion of fossil fuels is a leading cause for increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” [Tillerson] wrote to Cardin. “I understand these gases to be a factor in rising temperature, but I do not believe the scientific consensus supports their characterization as the ‘key’ factor.”
In reality, the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that synthesized thousands of climate studies to examine the physics behind a warming atmosphere concluded that increased carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning coal, oil and natural gas, caused the “largest contribution” to global warming, followed by other greenhouse gases that are likewise emitted by human industry.
Here is the NRDC’s argument against Tillerson.
On Tuesday, the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club condemned Warner’s expected yes vote:
Rex Tillerson is an unacceptable candidate for Secretary of State. While CEO of Exxon, he knowingly covered up the reality of climate change, showing his willingness to put his company’s profits over people’s health and safety.
So what has Warner said to explain his odd infatuation with this man, whose parents literally named him after a prehistoric man-eating monster?
“There are clearly going to be some Trump nominees that give me pause, but there are some I’m going to be supporting,” Warner said in an interview on Capitol Hill Tuesday. “I argued strenuously, both as a governor and under President Obama, that you give the president, or the governor, the chance to put his team in place.”
Warner said he’s opposed to Trump picks Betsy Devos and Steve Mnuchin.
Here he is on Devos:
Access to a quality public education is key to ensuring every child has a fair shot, and the Secretary of Education’s role in safeguarding students’ civil rights and safety cannot be understated. Ms. DeVos has not demonstrated that she appreciates the scope of these responsibilities, or that she is prepared to effectively fulfill them. For these reasons, I will not be supporting her nomination to be Secretary of Education.
Throughout the confirmation process, Mr. Mnuchin has failed to adequately demonstrate that he will be a forceful advocate for innovative policies that will make the U.S. economy work better for the majority of Americans.
How he came to the conclusion that the CEO of a fossil fuel company would be one to “appreciate the scope” of climate change or “be a forceful advocate for innovative [clean energy] policies” he has yet to explain.
And he owes that to the people who elected and reelected him in 2008 and 2014. #WTFWarner???
What have Warner’s constituents said to him about Tillerson?
“They need to do anything they can to defeat or delay the seating of Senator Sessions, Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Price,” said Maggie Godbold, 62, a retiree and Democratic activist from Fairfax County, Va., who helped organize the protest at Warner’s office, one of 200 across the country Tuesday. “They’re unqualified.”
“We need Democrats who are willing to stand up and fight for the people, not give concessions to Trump. VA deserves more and we’re going to fight one way or another.”
Oh, and they were pretty pissed that he helped prevent a filibuster of the vote for Tillerson altogether on Tuesday…
I, by no means, want to appear to be telling activists and organizers what to do… but if they want to remake the Democratic Party (or Congress, more broadly), Warner is up for re-election again in 2020…
*You can read Inside Climate News’ reports on Exxon’s early knowledge of climate change, which got them nominated for a Pulitzer, HERE.