White House Recruiting Climate Skeptics For New Working Group

Christopher Davidson
February 28, 2019

The National Security Council has refused to comment on the matter to the newspaper. The report was compiled by several federal agencies, but President Donald Trump apparently didn't like what it had to say.

While the plan is not finalized, NSC officials said they would take steps to assemble a group of researchers within the government.

More than one participant suggested that they might face a challenge establishing an independent outside panel that would question central findings of the National Climate Assessment and other landmark federal reports, said one official familiar with the discussion.

The Post, citing conversations with multiple unnamed administration officials, said that the group "would include scientists who question the severity of climate impacts and the extent to which humans contribute to the problem".

The committee idea was discussed at the White House on Friday, The Post reported, and was a modified version of an earlier plan touted by William Happer, a senior director on the National Security Council who has incorrectly argued that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually helps the planet.

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At the meeting, officials reportedly said Trump was displeased at the release of the National Climate Assessment, the findings of which Democrats have used to push for a Green New Deal that calls for cuts to carbon emissions.

Several scientists, however, said the federal government's recent findings on climate change had received intense scrutiny from other researchers in the field before they became public.

Government researchers in a range of disciplines have identified climate change as a serious threat for the past two decades, under Republican and Democratic administrations.

The Post noted that even within the military - the branch of government that Republicans most revere - the science of climate change has always been accepted as fact, even under GOP administrations. A recent report from the United Nations' scientific panel on climate change projected that if we do not drastically lower our emissions output, a large number of people will die due to the resulting catastrophes, including food shortages and wildfires.

But retired Rear Adm. David Titley, who served as oceanographer of the Navy and chief operating officer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the new initiative could imperil national security by clouding "truthful assessments of the risks stemming from a changing climate".

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