The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
New Trump Adviser Called Climate Science a 'Cult'
Princeton physicist William Happer confirmed to E&E News by email that he had begun to work Tuesday as the senior director for emerging technologies at the National Security Council (NSC).
He has called climate science a "cult movement," likened the Paris agreement to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler and would have participated in ousted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt's idea for a nationally televised "red team-blue team" debate on climate science, according to emails obtained by the Sierra Club and shared with CNN.
"If it's this important, why haven't we had a public review of it," he asked of climate change in a 2017 Foreign Policy interview, according to CNN. "We have that all the time in defense programs ... if you're going to put in a new fighter jet, you have a red team that tries to find something wrong with it," he said.
Happer told E&E news by email that he would work to make sure government decisions "are based on sound science and technology" in his new role.
Happer was considered a likely appointment to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy last year.
The role ended up going to meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, who accepts the scientific consensus on climate change.
Happer's background is in atomic physics and optics, not climate science. He was a pioneer of "adaptive optics," which helped increase the clarity of telescopes, microscopes and other imaging systems, according to CNN.
Despite his lack of research experience in the area, Happer has been outspoken about his unconventional climate views.
He has accused NASA and NOAA of misrepresenting temperature records and said that increased carbon dioxide was positive for plant growth, E&E News reported.
"There is no problem from CO2," Happer told E&E News in January. "The world has lots and lots of problems, but increasing CO2 is not one of the problems."
Happer, who is now 79, has previous government experience working at the Department of Energy under former President George H. W. Bush, E&E News reported.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis
Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.
The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.
By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.
By Mark Hertsgaard
The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."