One non-profit leader compared Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state to choosing the CEO of a tobacco company for surgeon general

Environmental groups have called Donald Trump’s choice of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state “unfathomable” and “an epic mistake” and accused the president-elect of creating “a government of, by, and for the oil and gas industry”.

Trump announced his nomination of the 64-year-old outgoing ExxonMobil CEO on Tuesday. If confirmed as the nation’s top diplomat, Tillerson would have a key role in international climate talks, and his ties to the oil industry and his work with oil giant ExxonMobil over the past 41 years have left environmentalists worried.

Related: Climate change denial in the Trump cabinet: where do his nominees stand?

Related: Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years

Tillerson deserves a federal investigation, not federal office

Related: Will Rick Perry’s pro-wind power stance carry on in the Trump administration?

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