The Trump administration is mulling the creation of an expert panel to assess whether climate change poses a risk to national security, but critics are denouncing the idea.
The White House may form the Presidential Committee on Climate Security to determine if global warming is a threat to national security, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post. The committee, which would be initiated under an executive order, would be led by National Security Council senior director William Happer.
While a growing number of Democratic politicians view climate change as an existential threat, the Trump administration has disregarded the issue as a major cause for concern. The Presidential Committee on Climate Security would likely reach similar conclusions given that Happer has previously touted the benefits of carbon emissions and has sat on the board of two different advocacy groups that question the dangers of global warming: the CO2 Coalition and the George C. Marshall Institute.
“I like to call this the CO2 anti-defamation league because there is the CO2 molecule, and it has undergone decade after decade of abuse, for no reason,” Happer said of his CO2 Coalition group during a presentation in 2016.
“We’re doing our best to try and counter this myth that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant,” he continued. “It’s not a pollutant at all. … We should be telling the scientific truth, that more CO2 is actually a benefit to the earth.”
The panel is already drawing objections from environmental advocates. The co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security, Francesco Femia, claims the committee will be used to undermine the scientific consensus that climate change will lead to dire consequences.
“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,” Femia said to The Washington Post. “It’s honestly a blunt force political tool designed to shut the national security community up on climate change.”
The White House has long drawn ire from environmental advocates. Since the beginning on his administration, President Donald Trump has led an ambitious rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations in an effort to revitalize the country’s energy industry. This “energy dominance” agenda has led to an enormous amount of environmentally oriented lawsuits against the administration. One green group alone has filed over 100 lawsuits against the White House.
Nevertheless, energy advocates that have long praised the White House’s energy agenda are hailing the new committee.
“It’s a great idea, spearheaded by a great guy,” Steve Milloy, a policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, said of the Presidential Committee on Climate Security. “Sounds like the dishonest-know-nothing climate bedwetters in the national security apparatus — as well as those across the federal government — are about to get schooled in CO2 reality.”
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