Larisa Dobriansky is an environmental lawyer who spearheaded the lobbying and government action against the ratification of the Kyoto Treaty. She is currently (2005) Assistant Secretary for National Energy Policy at the Department of Energy – in which capacity she's charged with managing the department's Office of Climate Change Policy. She graduated from Georgetown Law School, and since then her career has been on/off in government (mostly Dept. of Energy) and with major lawfirms. Her sister is Paula Dobriansky (senior US State Dept. officer), and her father Lev E. Dobriansky – a right-wing ideologue, operative with far right Ukranian emigree groups.
Exxon's consiglieri and Kyoto saboteur
Even while in government she continued to lobby for Exxon. As Chris Mooney summarizes her role:
- Larisa Dobriansky, currently the deputy assistant secretary for national energy policy at the Department of Energy—in which capacity she’s charged with managing the department’s Office of Climate Change Policy—was previously a lobbyist with the firm Akin Gump, where she worked on climate change for ExxonMobil. Her sister, Paula Dobriansky, currently serves as undersecretary for global affairs in the State Department. In that role, Paula Dobriansky recently headed the U.S. delegation to a United Nations meeting on the Kyoto Protocol in Buenos Aires, where she charged that "science tells us that we cannot say with any certainty what constitutes a dangerous level of warming, and therefore what level must be avoided."
Indeed, the rhetoric of scientific uncertainty has been Paula Dobriansky’s stock-in-trade. At a November 2003 panel sponsored by the AEI, she declared, "the extent to which the man-made portion of greenhouse gases is causing temperatures to rise is still unknown, as are the long-term effects of this trend. Predicting what will happen 50 or 100 years in the future is difficult."
Given Paula Dobriansky’s approach to climate change, it will come as little surprise that memos uncovered by Greenpeace show that in 2001, within months of being confirmed by the Senate, Dobriansky met with ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol and the Global Climate Coalition. For her meeting with the latter group, one of Dobriansky’s prepared talking points was "POTUS [President Bush in Secret Service parlance] rejected Kyoto, in part, based on input from you." The documents also show that Dobriansky met with ExxonMobil executives to discuss climate policy just days after September 11, 2001. A State Department official confirmed that these meetings took place, but adds that Dobriansky "meets with pro-Kyoto groups as well."
Just to emphasize the point: Larisa Dobriansky has been intimately involved in undermining the Kyoto Treaty, and yet she heads a unit that should be active in studying the impact of global warming. Her background and her close association with Exxon indicate that this is a most inappropriate appointment (one of a fox guarding a chicken coop). Both Larisa and Paula Dobriansky have lobbied for Exxon.
- Chris Mooney, "Some Like It Hot", Mother Jones, May 2005 (issue).