By Justin Mikulka • Tuesday, May 22, 2018 – 12:02
Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) is a hugely influential policy group filled with heavy hitters from politics and the oil industry. While the center’s home page describes it as “an independent, interdisciplinary, and nonpartisan platform,” its track record shows that CGEP consistently supports the same policies favored by the fossil fuel industry.
And one of its latest moves — hiring former Trump energy advisor and fossil fuel defender George “David” Banks as an expert on “international climate policy” — shows that trend will continue.
Under Trump, Banks served as White House Special Assistant for International Energy and Environment, which included publicly representing the administration at international climate change negotiations. At last November’s United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, that meant moderating the U.S.’s lone event, a controversial panel promoting coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy — and defending President Trump’s infamous “climate change is a Chinese hoax” tweet.
George David Banks at the COP 23 UN climate talks in November 2017. Credit: Ashley Braun, DeSmog
In addition to his new job with CGEP, Banks remains executive vice president with the American Council for Capital Formation, a free market think tank funded by an A-list of climate science deniers including ExxonMobil, the Koch family foundations, and the American Petroleum Institute.
When Banks had to leave the Trump administration due to his inability to obtain a permanent security clearance, he told Politico, “It was an honor to serve the president at the White House and I look forward to supporting the president in the future.” He certainly lived up to that promise with his comments on a recent climate change panel hosted by Columbia University’s CGEP.