Trump’s top climate adviser quits ‘over past marijuana use’

George David Banks, an experienced adviser who represented the White House at the last round of UN climate talks, was denied permanent security clearance

George David Banks answering media questions at UN climate talks in Bonn, December 2017 (Photo: Karl Mathiesen)


President Donald Trump’s top climate change advisor has been forced to quit after failing to gain permanent security clearance.

George David Banks told Politico his application was denied over an admission in 2013 that he had smoked marijuana. It comes as part of a crackdown on temporary clearances after domestic violence allegations surfaced against two other staffers.

Banks represented the White House at the last round of UN climate talks in Bonn. He spoke in favour of fossil fuels at a side event that was disrupted by protesters.

“We’re part of the [UN climate body] and climate mitigation is an important goal of the US but… I don’t think it’s any surprise that economic prosperity is a higher priority,” he said.

Having previously advised George W Bush, Banks was one of the most experienced Trump aides on international climate processes.

He is understood to have advocated keeping the US in the Paris Agreement, but told Climate Home News he did not see the 2C warming limit as a guide for policy.

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