A world-renowned physicist in line to be one of President Donald Trump’s science advisers equated climate scientists to cults that chant all day about global warming.
“There’s a whole area of climate so-called science that is really more like a cult,” William Happer, a physicist at Princeton University, told reporters Tuesday. He could become Trump’s next science adviser.
He added: “It’s like Hare Krishna or something like that. They’re glassy-eyed and they chant. It will potentially harm the image of all science.”
Happer, who is highly regarded in the science community, said in January that he would immediately accept a role in Trump’s administration.
The Princeton scientist made similar comparisons during his Trump meeting.
He told Trump during the meeting that he believed man-made global warming is “exaggerated.”
“Very briefly. I said, ‘I’m sure you know my position that I think climate change has been tremendously exaggerated—its significance. Climate is important, always has been, but I think it’s become sort of a cult movement in the last five or 10 years,’” Happer told The Scientist (TS) in early February.
Trump, for his part, has made a number of public comments decrying environmentalist claims global warming is killing the planet. He called climate change a “hoax” during the presidential campaign perpetuated by the Chinese to kill off American business
Environmentalists and members of the Obama administration, meanwhile, are worried Happer, despite his accolades, could bode well for climate science.
John Holdren, one of former President Barack Obama’s science advisers, said Happer’s outspoken opinions would hamper the new administration’s ability to put forth science-based policy.
“Every national academy of science agrees that the science is solid, that climate change is real,” he said. “To call this a cult is absurd and … an insult to the people who have done this work.”
Happer dismissed the idea that the former reality TV star is anti-science, telling reporters the president expressed support for solar energy in areas of the country “where it makes sense.”
“His comments were that of a technically literate person,” he said. “He wasn’t ideologically opposed to renewables; he wasn’t ideologically in favor of them either.”
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