Trump pick for top environmental post called belief in global warming a 'kind of paganism'

Kathleen Hartnett White arrives at Trump Tower, November 28, 2016 in New York City.

Story highlights

  • Kathleen Hartnett White described the belief in "global warming" as a "kind of paganism" for "secular elites."
  • As head of the Council on Environmental Quality, Hartnett White would oversee environmental and energy policies across the government.

(CNN)President Donald Trump's nominee to be the White House senior adviser for environmental policy in 2016 described the belief in "global warming" as a "kind of paganism" for "secular elites."

Trump last week nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, who previously led the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality, to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality, a post that requires Senate confirmation. Hartnett White, currently a senior fellow at the conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, has long expressed skepticism about established climate science and once dismissed the idea that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, calling it "the gas of life on this planet."
As head of the Council on Environmental Quality, Hartnett White would oversee environmental and energy policies across the government.
    Hartnett White appeared on "The Right Perspective," an online conservative radio show, in September 2016 when she made the comments talking about a "dark side" to belief in global warming.
    "There's a real dark side of the kind of paganism -- the secular elites' religion now -- being evidently global warming," Hartnett White said.
    To illustrate her point, Hartnett White pointed to comments made by the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres.
    Figueres told Bloomberg News that on combating climate change and reducing pollution, China was "doing it right," adding that the country was able to enact key tough climate policies because of its political system. In the same interview, Figueres said that the divided US Congress was "detrimental" to combating climate change.
    Hartnett White also referenced comments made by Figueres in which she spoke about intentionally changing "the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution."
    Hartnett White characterized these comments as admissions by believers in climate change of an intent to create a "one-world state ruled by planetary managers."
    "Some of the leaders, totally open, like the just stepping down head of the United Nations climate change program, Christiana Figueres, from Costa Rica, openly says that communism is the best system and maybe our only last chance to use -- and she uses China as some good example as the way we can avert global warming," Hartnett said.
    She continued, "On other occasions [Figueres] says, 'we have, the first time, a clear opportunity using climate policy, climate plans, to undermine the system of economic growth and industrialization that began a couple hundred centuries ago.' I mean totally open. We're talking about, you know, one-world state ruled by planetary managers, you know to kind of allocate our little portion of grub and energy, but they're open and adamant about it."
    Hartnett White did not respond to a request for comment. A representative for the White House also did not respond to an email requesting comment.
    Hartnett White has drawn condemnation from environmentalists, who view her nomination as a threat to enacting policies that would combat climate change. If confirmed, Hartnett White would join several other Trump administration officials, including EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who are skeptical of climate change and have opposed regulations that seek to stymie its effect.