POLITICS

Official's Climate Warning Blocked Because It Didn't 'Jibe' With Trump's View: Report

The White House stepped in when the State Department refused to cut comments about "potentially catastrophic" warming from an analyst's House testimony.

White House officials blocked written testimony from a State Department senior analyst about “potentially catastrophic” climate change because it didn’t “jibe” with the Trump administration’s view, a source told The Washington Post.

The White House took the action after the State Department refused to remove the comments in Rod Schoonover’s testimony, which was to be submitted to the House Intelligence Committee. The language referred to the “scientific consensus” that climate change is caused by human use of fossil fuels, according to the Post.

Schoonover, a State Department staffer, testified before the committee on Wednesday, but was not allowed to submit a written record of his comments, a source told the Post.

Top American military and intelligence officials have consistently warned that climate change could undermine America’s national security as flooding, extreme weather, droughts and fires affect crop production and threaten to trigger global unrest — an assessment that President Donald Trump does not accept.

The testimony by Schoonover, who has worked as a full professor of chemistry and biology, was attacked by the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council, the Post reported. They reportedly attempted to cut several pages from the written comments.

One critic was climate change denier and National Security Council senior director William Happer, who has infamously boasted about the benefit of carbon emissions to the planet. He has compared the the negative attitude about greenhouse gases to the “demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.” 

The Washington Post reviewed the Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s 12-page prepared testimony presented by Schoonover.

“The Earth’s climate is unequivocally undergoing a long-term warming trend, as established by decades of scientific measurements and multiple, independent lines of evidence,” he testified. “Climate change effects could undermine important international systems on which the U.S. is critically dependent, such as trade routes, food and energy supplies, the global economy and domestic stability abroad.”

He noted: “Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change.”

Schoonover could not be reached for comment. A House official confirmed to the Post that the intelligence committee did not receive a written record of Schoonover’s comments, though had received written comments from others who testified that day.

Trump has called climate change a “Chinese hoax.” Asked in an Axios interview late last year about his attitude toward global warming, Trump said he believed there has been climate change. “Will it change back?” he asked, making a waving motion through the air with his hand. “Probably. That’s what I think.” He said many scientists “very much dispute” that humans are the primary cause of global warming. He reiterated those attitudes in an interview Wednesday with Piers Morgan. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to William Happer as William Harper.

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