This week, President-elect Donald Trump met with Al Gore, the former vice-president who has become a champion of the theory of man-made global warming, as well as actor Leonardo DiCaprio -- who is equally keen on the environment. So, when a letter went to the Energy Department from his transition team asking for the names of people who have worked on climate change, there were some environmental advocates who were surprised.
Reuters news service examined the memo, which contains 74 questions, including a request for a list of all department employees and contractors who attended the annual global climate talks hosted by the United Nations within the last five years, and a list of the professional affiliations. The missive also requested a list of all department employees or contractors who have attended any meetings on the social cost of carbon, and for a list of all publications written by Energy Department employees over the last three years.
The memo also asked for the names of the 20 top salaried employees at the department's labs, and a list of all websites maintained or contributed to by lab staff during work hours.
According to Reuters, an employee of the Energy Department said, "This feels like the first draft of an eventual political enemies list." The employee wished to remain anonymous, citing concerns over supposed reprisals by the transition team.
Trump has expressed skepticism about the climate change, once stating that it is a hoax broadcast by China to damage American manufacturing. Moreover, he said he would rip up the Paris climate deal that was signed by President Obama.
Among those being considered for Secretary of Energy are Rep. Kevin Kramer (R-ND), Senator Heidi Heitcamp (D-ND), and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).
The Energy Department is quite diverse. It employs more than 90,000 people working on nuclear weapons maintenance, research labs, nuclear energy, advanced renewable energy, batteries and climate science.
Commenting on the issue of the Trump Team request was Secretary o Health and Human Services Julian Castro. On his personal Twitter account, he posted a reiteration of the claim that it constitutes "a political enemies list."