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.
- Potential Trump Science Adviser Says Climate Change Is Great ... ›
- Trump Advisor Will Happer is Not a Climate Scientist | Energy Blog ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
It's Prime Day! The day when thousands of increasingly absurd items are discounted so deeply that you suddenly need items you never knew existed. Yes, I do need a hotdog shaped toaster next to me while I watch this Fast & Furious seven movie box set! And I need it in my house today!
By Jerome Goddard
When it comes to problems caused by ticks, Lyme disease hogs a lot of the limelight. But various tick species carry and transmit a collection of other pathogens, some of which cause serious, even fatal, conditions.
By Julia Conley
Heeding the call of grassroots campaigners, several wealthy philanthropists announced Friday a new fund that will raise money for climate action groups around the world.