DATE: February 21, 2019
SNIP: The White House is working to assemble a panel to assess whether climate change poses a national security threat, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, a conclusion that federal intelligence agencies have affirmed several times since President Trump took office.
The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security, which would be established by executive order, is being spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. Happer, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University, has said that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.
The initiative represents the Trump administration’s most recent attempt to question the findings of federal scientists and experts on climate change and comes less than three weeks after Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats delivered a worldwide threat assessment that identified it as a significant security risk.
“This is the equivalent of setting up a committee on nuclear-weapons proliferation and having someone lead it who doesn’t think nuclear weapons exist,” Francesco Femia, chief executive of the Council on Strategic Risks and co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security, said. “It’s honestly a blunt-force political tool designed to shut the national security community up on climate change.”
Happer, who worked at the Energy Department under George H.W. Bush and joined the White House in September to work on “emerging technologies,” is not formally trained as a climate scientist.