Whitman Strategy Group

Whitman to Trump: Listen to Ivanka on climate change

by Russ Zimmer, Asbury Park Press on 12-07-2016

 

 

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. — The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) invites the public to join us for a symposium and policy discussion which never took place during the election — coastal and ocean priorities for the next administration and Congress.
The 12th Annual Future of the Ocean Symposium will be held on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wilson Hall Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.
The panelists, former New Jersey Gov. and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Dr. Donald Boesch, will offer their views and recommendations on critical actions that the administration and Congress should take to ensure that our coasts and oceans are healthy, productive and support sustainable economic development.
Among their many other accomplishments and qualifications, Whitman and Boesch serve on the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) Leadership Council, a national organization dedicated to marine policy reform. JOCI soon plans to release a nine-point action plan for the Trump administration and the new Congress. UCI Ocean Policy Fellow and Monmouth University President Emeritus Paul G. Gaffney II also serves as a member of the JOCI Leadership Council.
“The oceans are going through unprecedented changes, including sea level rise, shifting currents and weather patterns, ocean acidification, and ecosystem destruction,” Whitman said. “These changes are a mounting threat not only to marine ecosystems, but to coastal communities and economies. We must confront these issues with a bipartisan approach from policymakers in Washington and at all levels of government.”
“Robust federal investments in science and research can spur innovation, address important national and global challenges, create new economic sectors, and ultimately save lives,” Boesch said. “If our ecosystems and livelihoods are to be sustained for the future, we’ll need to pair such financial commitments to research with concerted action on policies based in science.”
“The Future of the Ocean Symposium provides a unique forum for students, faculty and the public to engage nationally recognized experts in discussions on the pressing ocean issues of our time,” said UCI Director Tony MacDonald, who will moderate the panel. “As a coastal university, we are also pleased to honor a group of Ocean Champions whose work has so directly impacted lives here on the Jersey Shore and beyond.”
Immediately following the symposium, the UCI will hold its Champion of the Ocean Awards Luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are required for the luncheon. The cost is $150, with proceeds to benefit student research and UCI programs.
Whitman will be honored as a National Champion of the Ocean for her work as a leading voice for the oceans as governor and with the EPA, JOCI and Pew Oceans Commission. Boesch will be recognized as a Regional Champion of the Ocean for his work advancing knowledge about marine environments, including his work as a member of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
In addition, two New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) officials will receive State, Coastal and Ocean Leadership Awards for their roles in restoring New Jersey’s beaches, supporting innovative major Rebuild by Design projects, and improving coastal planning and communities’ resilience to coastal storms after Superstorm Sandy. The honorees are NJDEP Assistant Commission of Engineering and Construction David Rosenblatt and NJDEP Assistant Director of Coastal and Land Use Planning Elizabeth Semple.
For more information on the event or to purchase tickets for the luncheon, click here or contact Danica Simmons at (732) 263-5662 or dsimmons@monmouth.edu.

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, saying she was worried for her grandchildren's future, urged President-elect Donald Trump to turn to one of his closest advisers, daughter Ivanka Trump, to shape his climate policies.

"Listen to your daughter," Whitman said to a packed room at Monmouth University on Wednesday morning. "Ivanka believes in climate change, and I'd like him to be open to it. ... I want us to take this issue seriously."

Hours later, it was announced the president-elect went in a different direction, tapping Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a frequent legal target of his office.

Pruitt has "led litigation against (President Barack) Obama’s landmark climate rule for power plants, as well as water regulations and standards for ground-level ozone pollution, haze, methane and more," according to The Hill, which covers Washington politics.

"Trump's nominee to lead EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a climate denier who's worked closely with the fossil fuel industry," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, the former Democratic presidential candidate. "That's sad and dangerous."

Trump has called climate change a "hoax," pledged to return jobs to coal country and to withdraw from the most significant international climate accord, the Paris Agreement.

But since the election he has backed off from some of his harshest takes on climate change. Both father and daughter Trump met with climate advocate and former  Vice President Al Gore earlier this week.

There is consensus among the scientific community that climate change represents a threat to our way of life, especially in coastal areas. The National Climate Assessment shows that sea levels will most likely rise by between 1 and 4 feet by 2100.

Whitman served as governor from 1994 to 2001, when she left to become head of the  EPA under President George W. Bush. A Republican, Whitman did not support Trump's candidacy, going as far as to lay out the case for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

She was speaking Wednesday at the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute's 12th Annual Future of the Ocean Symposium.

Both Whitman and the other panelist, Donald Boesch, who is an oceanographer and president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, praised Trump as "a dealmaker" who could perhaps bring climate skeptics to agree to a compromise.

To do that, Boesch noted, Trump would have to walk back much of his campaign plans.

"If, however, the president-elect fulfills his campaign statements and withdraws from the Paris agreement and kills green power, we are not only screwed here in America, but the world is screwed — to be blunt," Boesch said.

By resisting the scientific argument, America is only falling farther behind in preparing for the inevitable, they said. And this isn't just about the big-picture, societal problems that rising sea levels and warming oceans will create, but more immediate economic consequences for thousands of American families.

For example, certain fish species are moving north as ocean currents change and adults reproduce in different areas. This will at some point impact commercial fishermen, if it hasn't already, Boesch said.

"Some things that we used to catch here, you can't catch anymore," he said. "You can't catch lobsters in the Long Island Sound anymore."

There are parallels between what adjustments fishermen have to make and coal miners, whose industry is losing market share as private investment switches to cleaner-burning natural gas.

"What do you do for people who live in West Virginia and Kentucky whose entirely family livelihoods have been built around coal?" Whitman said. "What are the investments that government can make in these communities to help these people survive? The same is true for the fishermen. They're not going to be catching the same kinds of fish, (the fish) are not coming back. What species are coming this way? ... How can we help these people maintain their lives even as their livelihoods are going to have to change?"

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