William Happer, the White House’s most veteran climate change denier who tried unsuccessfully to establish an ad hoc panel to challenge near-universally accepted climate science, is leaving the Trump administration, according to reports from E&E News and Bloomberg.
A retired Princeton physics professor with no expertise in climatology, Happer has served as President Donald Trump’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies on the National Security Council since September 2018. He has long argued that the planet and humans benefit from increased carbon dioxide emissions. He has called climate science a “cult,” claimed Earth is in the midst of a “CO2 famine,” and said the “demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”
Earlier this year, Trump tapped Happer to lead a panel of fringe researchers tasked specifically with conducting “adversarial scientific peer review” of climate science ― part of the administration’s relentless effort to discredit and downplay the ongoing crisis. The White House ultimately scrapped the plan, as E&E News reported in July.
News of Happer’s departure comes one day after the resignation of his boss, national security adviser John Bolton. It was Bolton who recruited Happer to the National Security Council and backed his effort to create an anti-science panel, according to The New York Times.
The CO2 Coalition, a right-wing think tank that Happer co-founded and that argues Earth benefits from humans pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, confirmed his upcoming resignation in a Tuesday post to its website and praised him for his efforts.
“While your proposed review of alarmist analyses and projections has been delayed, we believe your work in calling attention to the problem of unscientific climate alarmism has reduced the chances of the dramatic increases in energy prices that would arise from the banning of fossil fuels that some have proposed,” Patrick Moore and Caleb Rossiter, two representatives of the CO2 Coalition, wrote in a joint statement.
The CO2 Coalition is one of several think tanks that peddle misinformation about climate change and receive funding from the Mercer family, the billionaire megadonors who gave more than $15 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign.