The abrupt dismissal – via Twitter – of Rex Tillerson from the State Department and his possible replacement by CIA Director Mike Pompeo is bad news. Not because Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., is a champion of the environment, but because, during his watch, United States diplomacy continued to play a relatively constructive role in international negotiations on climate change, in spite of the political hullabaloo that caused the U.S. exit from the Paris climate agreement. For example, at the most recent meeting of the parties in Bonn, the Washington representative did not start torpedoing the conference.
All of that could now change radically, which is something that Argentine diplomacy should follow closely, given its role as chair of the Group of 20 industrial and emerging-market nations. Pompeo is one of the most vocal climate change deniers in Washington. Before his promotion to spy chief, he was a U.S. representative from the district that included Wichita, Kansas, which – oh, what a coincidence – is the headquarters for Koch Industries, the largest money factory opposing climate change science. Pompeo was systematically financed by the Koch brothers; they are the candy men of North American democracy. Although Tillerson was a bad secretary of state (in fact, morale in his organization was poor), it can always be worse.
China has just given teeth and claws to its Ministry of the Environment as a way of actively countering climate change and the resulting contamination of the rivers and air – the price it paid for becoming the world’s factory. It would be very helpful if the Asian giant would also address what Chinese companies do in other places. Here, for example, they are ready to sacrifice the Rio Santa Cruz with a bad and expensive project that contains very dark aspects in its conception and design. It is best to say and do the same thing everywhere.