A panel being assembled by the administration of President Donald Trump to study the effects of climate change on national security is set to include an outspoken denier of global climate change, according to a report in the Independent.
A White House memo dated February 14 drafted by Trump’s staff has created an executive order to create a 12-member committee to examine the growing threat of climate change on national security. That panel will include William Happer, a Princeton physicist and well-known climate change denier who has frequently been at odds with well-established science on the reality of climate change.
No other committee members have as yet been named apart from Happer.
Happer, who also serves on the National Security Council, has drawn the fire of scientists for his views that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is actually good for humans. And the memo itself outlining the creation of the committee takes steps to get the ball rolling on an anti-climate change path. It is critical of multiple scientific and Defense Department studies that have concluded that climate change is indeed going to affect national security in a myriad of ways. It claims that those studies “have not undergone a rigorous independent and adversarial peer review to examine the certainties and uncertainties of climate science, as well as implications for national security.”
However, scientists have been quick to defend the research that has already been conducted on climate change and national security by the Department of Defense, which clearly has a vested interest in understanding what the reality is going to be on the ground in terms of security, as the Earth continues to heat up.
“The link between climate science and national security has been closely studied for over a decade at the highest levels of the U.S. government – by scientists, the Defense Department, and intelligence agencies – and all those studies have made a strong case that various aspects of climate change have an effect on national security,” said Michael Oppenheimer, who is also a professor at Princeton in geosciences and international affairs.
This isn’t Happer’s first brush with controversy when it comes to climate science. He was called before a Senate committee in 2015 after it was revealed that he had agreed to write a scientific paper for representatives of an unnamed Middle East oil company. The company representatives turned out to be from Greenpeace and were running a sting operation on Happer.
“More CO2 will benefit the world,” Happer wrote in an email to Greenpeace. “The only way to limit CO2 would be to stop using fossil fuels, which I think would be a profoundly immoral and irrational policy.”