Well, well, well, Christmas has come and it looks like someone’s stocking has been filled with lumps of coal, switches, and pink slips.
The transition team has asked the agency to list employees and contractors who attended United Nations climate meetings, along with those who helped develop the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon metrics, used to estimate and justify the climate benefits of new rules. The advisers are also seeking information on agency loan programs, research activities and the basis for its statistics, according to a five-page internal document circulated by the Energy Department on Wednesday. The document lays out 65 questions from the Trump transition team, sources within the agency said.
Two Energy Department employees who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the questionnaire and said agency staff were unsettled by the Trump team’s information request.
The questions about the social cost of carbon dovetail with similar, so-far-unsuccessful requests from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have also sought information about the analysis underpinning that policy and the people who helped develop it.
In the transition document, Trump advisers ask for “a full accounting” of DOE liabilities associated with DOE’s Loan Program Office, criticized by Republican leaders over its part in bankrolling Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that went bankrupt and left taxpayers on the hook for $535 million in federal guarantees. The documents seeks lists of outstanding loans, their terms and objectives, and the parties responsible for repaying them.
The Washington Post has more details:
One question zeroed in on the issue of the “social cost of carbon,” a way of calculating the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. The transition team asked for a list of department employees or contractors who attended interagency meetings, the dates of the meetings, and emails and other materials associated with them.
Another question appeared to delve deeply into the mechanisms behind scientific tools called “integrated assessment models,” which scientists use to forecast future changes to the climate and energy system. It also asked what the Energy Department considers to be “the proper equilibrium climate sensitivity,” which is a way that climate researchers calculate how much the planet will eventually warm, depending upon the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
“My guess is that they’re trying to undermine the credibility of the science that DOE has produced, particularly in the field of climate science,” said Rob Jackson, a Stanford climate and energy researcher, in response to the question about the Integrated Assessment Models.
And if you want to really understand the scope of the problem, get this:
Energy Department officials have not yet decided how to respond to the questions targeting the agency’s climate activities, according to federal officials who asked not to be identified to discuss internal deliberations.
This response is kind of hard to comprehend. On January 20, DOE will be part of a Trump administration. The people there have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to cooperate with the transition AND to loyally carry out the programs of the new administration. Civil service employees do not make policy. The execute policy.
This is great news. Under the maladministration of the Obama regime, the Department of Energy has become nothing more that a huge piggy bank for deep pocket Democrat donors who have convinced the DOE that they have invented the equivalent of the perpetual motion machine. Nothing coming out of Energy’s incubator is financially viable unless the government is paying you a lot of money to use it and paying someone to build it. It’s seeming manipulation of estimates of future production of natural gas provided the basis for the EPA forcing closure of many coal-fired power plants.
I also hope that Trump goes into Energy, and EPA, with a metaphorical hit list of employees who have been prime movers in developing Obama’s programs and takes immediate action to marginalize and/or terminate them.
This is the kind of news that I’m seeing, along with the appointment of guys like Scott Pruitt to EPA, that gives me hope that the next four years will not be the disaster I’d feared.