Climate skeptic may lead White House panel to study climate change

WASHINGTON — A climate change skeptic who once compared “demonization” of carbon dioxide to the treatment of Jews under Adolf Hitler may lead a proposed White House committee tasked with studying whether climate change poses a national security threat, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The Post, citing planning documents obtained by the paper, reported that William Happer, a National Security Council official, would head up the proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security.

The committee would be created via an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, according to the paper.

The White House declined a request for comment.

In 2014, Happer, who co-founded the CO2 Coalition, an advocacy group that focuses on “the consequences of mandated reductions in CO2 emissions,” compared criticism of carbon dioxide, the increase of which scientists say has raised global temperatures, to the treatment of Jews under Hitler.

“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” Happer said on CNBC. “Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”

Happer, an atomic physicist at Princeton, also said in 2016 that he prefers to refer to the group as “the CO2 anti-defamation league…because there is the CO2 molecule, and it has undergone decade after decade of abuse, for no reason,” according to the Post.

Happer did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

The Post’s report comes a few weeks after top intelligence officials laid out in a report the potential security challenges posed by climate change, including “threats to public health, historic levels of human displacement, assaults on religious freedom, and the negative effects of environmental degradation.”

That report’s assertion is at odds with positions of the President, who before taking office claimed climate change was a “hoax.”

Last month, in a tweet that was largely seen as mocking global warming, Trump commented on extremely cold temperatures in the Midwest, writing, “What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!”

The Post reported that the documents it obtained indicated the committee would serve “to advise the President on scientific understanding of today’s climate, how the climate might change in the future under natural and human influences, and how a changing climate could affect the security of the United States.”

The paper also said that the documents add that although the Trump administration has said previously that climate change is a threat, “these scientific and national security judgments have not undergone a rigorous independent and adversarial scientific peer review to examine the certainties and uncertainties of climate science, as well as implications for national security.”

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