Meet ostriches for Trump's anti-science climate panel


In its current attempt to discredit climate science for decades, the Trump administration would have contacted some of the most seasoned deniers of the circuit to join a new panel to present another approach to climate change.

As the Washington Post reported for the first time on Sunday, the administration is recruit scientists and researchers challenge the scientific consensus that climate change is an immediate crisis caused by global reliance on fossil fuels. At the top of the list of committee targets will be the National climate assessment, a report commissioned by the Congress that scientists from 13 federal agencies issued in November.

This report, which President Donald Trump said that he does not believe, concluded that global warming "could increase by 5 ° C (9 ° F) or more by the end of the century" without dramatically reducing emissions.

The goal of this presidential committee on climate security will be to conduct a "peer-reviewed scientific peer review" of climate science, E & E News. reported Monday, citing a leaked memo from the White House. For all those who have followed Republican efforts to sow doubt about the climate crisis, the names that have emerged as possible panellists will be familiar.

Many appeared at Congressional hearings, with Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), former President of House Committee on Science, Space and Technologyorganized to peddle erroneous information about the climate and its own anti-scientific opinions.

Trump reported choose to direct the panel is William Happer, retired physics professor at Princeton with no expertise in climatology. E & E noted that the people under study also include Judith Curry, a former professor at Georgia Earth's School of Earth Sciences and Atmosphere; John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama; and Richard Lindzen, retired professor at MIT.

Kert Davies, director of the Climate Investigations Center, told HuffPost that the first list of candidates would indicate that the White House chose to address academics rather than representatives of think tanks on denial. climate. Although this might give the impression that they have more credibility, and all bring "different flavors of denial," Davies said.

"The arguments of these guys are only appreciated by a very small club of climate deniers," he said. "They are not part of the general thinking on climatology. And they attack variously temperature recording or modeling. "

William Happer

Happer, who is Trump's deputy assistant for emerging technologies at the National Security Council, has a long history of colorful comments on climate change. He called climate science "worship"And has repeatedly argued that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

The physicist William Happer in the lobby of the Trump Tower in Manhattan on January 13, 2017.

Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

The physicist William Happer in the lobby of the Trump Tower in Manhattan on January 13, 2017.

"The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of poor Jews under Hitler, "said Happer in a 2014 interview on CNBC. He added: "Carbon dioxide is a benefit to the world, as are Jews."

Bear witness before Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works in 2009, Happer said that "the increase in CO₂ would be beneficial" for humanity. And he compared today's climate movement to the temperance movement of the early 1900s, which led to prohibition.

"Deep-hearted people thought that they were saving humanity from the plagues of alcohol, just as many people now sincerely believe that they are saving people from the scourges of CO₂," he said. he declared.

Judith Curry

A retirement A climate scientist known for mocking "climate alarmists," Curry has been repeatedly urged by Republican lawmakers, including Smith, to testify at congressional hearings. While accepting that the planet is warming up, it is questioning the scientific consensus on why.

"The climate is changing, and it will change in the future," she said. Audience 2015 the scientific committee of the House. "The problem is how many changes are caused by humans. We do not know. "

Curry came to the defense Scott Pruitt, the former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, when he told CNBC in 2017, he did not believe that carbon dioxide was a major factor in global warming.

In an interview with Andrew Revkin of National Geographic last week, Curry said it seemed that the White House was "the last bastion of hard denial". She nevertheless announced that she would sit on her new climate committee, if she were invited. were there to follow the data where they lead.

John Christy

Christy, another favorite resource for Republicans, was appointed this month to serve as a member of the EPA Scientific Advisory Board. Like Happer, he often argues that burning fossil fuels is good for the planet.

"There is a benefit, not a cost, to produce energy from carbon, "he told E & E News earlier this month. And in an interview with The Guardian in 2015, Christy said:Carbon dioxide makes things grow. Plants like this stuff. This creates more food. There is absolutely no doubt that carbon dioxide provides longer and better lives. "

Christy opposes federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. And in a 2007 editorial in the Wall Street Journal he wrote that he sawneither the developing disaster nor the smoking gun that proves that human activity is to blame for most of the warming we see. "

Richard Lindzen

Lindzen is a distinguished member at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank based in Washington, DC, funded by billionaire fossil fuels, Koch Brothers. Like Happer, Lindzen likened those who believe in climate change to cult members.

"As with any cult, once the mythology of worship begins to collapse, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they become more and more fanatics," he said. he told a Massachusetts radio station in 2015, according to The Daily Mail.

Last year, Lindzen led a letter signed by more than 300 skeptical climatologists urging Trump to pull the United States out of the UN climate convention. "Since 2009, the United States and other governments have taken global climate action that is not scientifically justified and has already caused and will continue to cause severe social and economic harm without any environmental benefit." , says the letter.

In their own reply letter According to the president, more than 20 Lindzen colleagues at MIT have said they want "explain clearly that this point of view is not shared by us or by the vast majority of other scientists who have devoted their professional lives to a careful study of climate science. "

Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University, called the White House committee's list of names of candidates "a real dream team made up of climate change deniers, opponents and bad players."

"What we expect from an administration that, in terms of energy and environmental policy, is a buffer for Koch Brothers and polluting interests," said Mann in an email.

The committee would be a kind of spin-off of the "red team, blue team" initiative launched by Pruitt in 2017 and aimed at giving industry-backed marginal researchers a place at the same table as scientists. working on the climate. As an "ad hoc group," the new Trump committee would not be forced to meet in public or be subject to requests for public records, according to the Washington Post.

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