In keeping with the theme of appointing unqualified or otherwise controversial officials, President Donald Trump tapped William Happer — a known climate denier — for the position of “senior director for emerging technologies” at the National Security Council.
That was in September. Now, Happer is set to lead a special committee the White House is forming to look into the potential impact of climate change on national security issues, according to The Hill.
An email obtained by The Washington Post said the Presidential Committee on Climate Security will be created by executive order, for the purpose of advising “the President on scientific understanding of today’s climate, how the climate might change in the future under natural and human influences, and how a changing climate could affect the security of the United States.”
That Happer is leading the panel is remarkable, considering his past statements regarding climate change, including his comparison of climate change science to Nazi propaganda.
ThinkProgress reported last year that Happer believes increased carbon pollution “would be a benefit” to humanity, as he wrote in a 2013 Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide.”
In 2009, Happer told The Daily Princetonian“This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda.”
He continued: “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”
The comparison came up again in 2014 when Happer told CNBC that climate scientists are demonizing carbon dioxide the same way Adolf Hitler demonized the Jews:
“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” Happer said. “Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”
Despite his extreme views — or perhaps because of them — Happer landed within the Trump administration and will now lead a committee tasked with challenging the conclusions of climate studies, including those from the U.S. government.
The Hill reported that the NSC document mentioned the climate reports released during Trump’s tenure, but took a cautious approach to the findings: “However, these scientific and national security judgments have not undergone a rigorous independent and adversarial scientific peer review to examine the certainties and uncertainties of climate science, as well as implications for national security.”
Trump himself rejected the findings and claims in reports released last year, including the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the United States’ own National Climate Assessment, and a report by the Department of Defense.
All of the reports have reached essentially the same conclusion: that "climate change is occurring at an alarming rate and said significant action must be taken to slow it."
The president simply said, “I don’t believe it.”