The Trump administration plans to withdraw its nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change sceptic, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House official said.
President Donald Trump in October nominated White, a former Texas environmental regulator who said that carbon dioxide should be considered the “gas of life” rather than a pollutant, to be the White House senior environmental adviser, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
She had described the belief in “global warming” as a “kind of paganism” for “secular elites” during an interview in 2016 on “The Right Perspective”, an online conservative radio show.
Her nomination was re-submitted to the Senate in January. Senators challenged her statements about climate change, which go against the scientific consensus that man-made greenhouse gases are the primary driver of rising temperatures, during her confirmation hearing in November.
When Democratic Senator Ben Cardin asked White if she believes climate change is real, she said: “I am uncertain.”
White 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 Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse asked White to estimate how much heat in Earth’s atmosphere is stored in the oceans, she replied: “I don’t have numbers like that.”
“I believe that there are differences of opinions on that, that there’s not one right answer,” she added.
Democrats also assailed White’s writings in which she called renewable energy “unreliable and parasitic”, described global warming as “a creed, a faith, a dogma that has little to do with science”, and asserted that science does not dictate policy in democracies.
Democrats and environmental activists hailed the decision.
“Withdrawing Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination is the right thing to do,” said Democratic Senator Tom Carper.