The rollback of regulations that were meant to protect the environment and the withdrawal from the Paris Accord were bad enough. The nomination of climate change deniers Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke to top positions in agencies whose primary functions pertained to protecting the environment added insult to injury. And now, to ice the cake, Trump has appointed William Happer for the key job of “senior director for emerging technologies” at the National Security Council.Want to know what’s wrong with William Happer? Happer is a “theoretical physicist”, whatever the heck that is, at Princeton, and is one of the most demented climate change deniers in existence. Here are just a few of the things he has to say about climate science …
- In Defense of Carbon Dioxide: “The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.”
“This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda.”
“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.” Say WHAT???
“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”
So, just what qualifies him for this position? Well, for many years, he was chairman of the board of the George C. Marshall Institute, which was funded in part by the Koch brothers to promote climate science denial. He also writes and co-signs anti-science Wall Street Journal op-eds.
The reality is that Happer knows little about emerging technologies or real threats to America’s national security but he does know a great deal about denying climate science. And, sadly, that appears to be the only qualification you need to join the Trump team these days.
Another Trump nominee, J. Steven Gardner, had been nominated to lead the Interior Department’s mining agency, but withdrew his nomination earlier this week. Gardner was a long-time coal advocate who applauded the decision last year to allow coal companies to dump their toxic waste into streams.
According to Tom Morris of the Sierra Club …
“Gardner has shown time and again that he will try and fight anything that gets in the way of profits for coal executives — even if it means sacrificing the health of the families and communities …”Like Zinke, Pruitt, Happer and all the rest in the current administration, he is a denier of climate science. Some of his beliefs:
- Mining is simply “accelerated erosion”
- Mountaintop mining is good because it creates flat land
- There is no such thing as renewable energy
Fortunately, Gardner has withdrawn his nomination in light of the stalled confirmation process, and certain requirements by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) with which he was unwilling to comply. Good riddance, but who will be next? No doubt another person who doesn’t believe in science, but rather puts corporate profits above preserving our lives.