Leonardo DiCaprio and the head of his foundation met on Wednesday with US president-elect Donald Trump to discuss how jobs centring on preserving the environment can boost the economy, hours after Trump announced a climate science sceptic to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In a statement to the Associated Press, Terry Tamminen, the CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), confirmed the meeting at Trump Tower in New York. Tamminen said the pair gave a presentation to Trump, daughter Ivanka, and other members of Trump’s team on how focusing on renewable, clean energy could create millions of jobs.
It came as Trump chose Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma and a sceptic of climate science, as the next EPA administrator, in what was widely viewed as a signal of Republicans’ desire to dismantle Obama’s climate legacy.
Pruitt has called the EPA’s rule “unlawful and overreaching” and has cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific evidence that human activity is causing the planet to warm. “That debate is far from settled,” he said in May. “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
Pruitt is also part of legal action waged by 28 states against the EPA to halt the Clean Power Plan, an effort by Barack Obama’s administration to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Environmental groups said that Pruitt was a “puppet” of the fossil fuel industry, pointing to his intervention in 2014 to push back against air pollution standards by using a three-page letter penned by Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas companies.