Date
8 December 2016
Tom Steyer says he will focus on trying to present an opposite point of view and trying to get it expressed and communicated to citizens. Photo: Reuters
Tom Steyer says he will focus on trying to present an opposite point of view and trying to get it expressed and communicated to citizens. Photo: Reuters

Billionaire green activist vows to battle Trump

Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, who has spent more than US$140 million to fight climate change, will do whatever it takes to oppose President-elect Donald Trump’s pro-drilling and anti-regulation agenda.

The former hedge fund manager from California is putting together a strategy that will “engage voters and citizens to fight back” once Trump takes the White House in January, he told Reuters in an exclusive interview.

However, he stressed he was not planning to fight Trump through the courts.

Instead, he would focus on “trying to present an opposite point of view and trying to get that point of view expressed and communicated to citizens”.

Steyer’s pledge to fight Trump suggests an intensifying battle for US public opinion on global climate change, an issue that has already divided many Americans, lawmakers and companies between those who consider it a major global threat and those who doubt its existence.

Other US environmental groups are also preparing to resist Trump’s agenda, with some vowing street protests and more established organizations that helped draft some of President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations preparing to defend them in court.

“We have always been willing to do whatever is necessary,” Steyer said, when asked how much money he was willing to spend to oppose Trump’s agenda.

Trump campaigned on a promise to drastically reduce environmental regulation and ease permitting for infrastructure, moves he said would breathe life into an oil and gas industry ailing from low prices, without harming US air and water quality.

He has also called climate change a hoax and has promised to “cancel” the Paris Climate Accord between nearly 200 nations to slow global warming, a deal he said would cost the US economy trillions of dollars and put it at a disadvantage.

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