Dozens of ex-officials warn Trump against White House panel on climate change

Dozens of former U.S. military and intelligence officials warned President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE on Tuesday not to establish a White House panel to counter government scientists' findings about the threats of climate change.

Fifty-eight former officials organized by the American Security Project and the Center for Climate and Security wrote to Trump to express concerns about the new climate council, which includes members who question the science behind global warming.

"It is dangerous to have national security analysis conform to politics," their letter states. "Our officials’ job is to ensure that we are prepared for current threats and future contingencies. We cannot do that if the scientific studies that inform our threat assessments are undermined."

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Officials who signed on to the letter include former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryUS inaction is hurting the chance for peace in Libya Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, former Secretary of Defense Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelMore than 100 national security professionals urge Trump to invoke Defense Production Act Almost 100 former officials, members of Congress urge Senate action on election security GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel MORE and retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, among other members of past administrations.

The officials described climate change as a "threat multiplier" that could worsen existing security issues. They noted that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria used water shortages in Iraq for strategic purposes from 2014-2017.

The signatories urged Trump to "trust and heed the analysis of your own national security agencies and the science agencies on which their assessments depend," and cautioned that an independent White House committee could undermine their work and weaken U.S. security.

"Our climate will continue to change, and the threats will continue to grow," the letter states. "We spent our careers pledged to protect the United States from all threats, including this one. Let’s drop the politics, and allow our national security and science agencies to do their jobs."

The Washington Post first reported last month that the White House was putting together an ad hoc group of federal scientists to reassess and counter the government's conclusions on climate change. The panel, which must be formed via executive order, would be driven by the National Security Council.

It is set to include at least one well-known climate change skeptic, according to an email obtained by the Post.

Trump has long cast doubt on the existence and effects of climate change. The president late last year downplayed a government report on the subject, telling reporters that he doesn't believe its warnings about the economic impacts of climate change.