Energy & Environment

Climate skeptic on National Security Council leaving Trump administration

William Happer, an outspoken skeptic of climate change, is leaving his position as a senior director on the National Security Council later this week, according to E&E News

The news of his departure comes just a day after Trump announced that national security adviser John Bolton was leaving his administration. Bolton’s spokesperson is also reportedly exiting. 

{mosads}Happer’s decision to leave comes after he failed to persuade President Trump to conduct an “adversarial” review of research on climate change. His effort to challenge the government’s position on climate change was scuttled earlier this year after facing obstacles from officials in the White House, according to E&E. 

Happer, a prominent atomic physics professor at Princeton University, has repeatedly questioned the effect of human activity on climate change. Despite having no formal training in climate science, Happer entered the Trump administration in September 2018 with well-known positions that pushed back against the scientific community’s understanding of global warming. 

He asked the American Physical Society more than a decade ago to change its position on climate change to one that raised doubts about it. The request was rejected. He also wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in 2013 arguing that carbon dioxide production was “a boon to plant life.”

He asserted that CO2 levels had “little correlation with global temperature.”

In addition, Happer has argued that the world is in a carbon dioxide “drought” and that burning more fossil fuels will make the Earth more habitable, E&E reported. 

The news outlet noted that Happer earlier this year played a role in blocking a State Department official from giving written testimony to Congress warning that climate change posed a national security threat.  

“After distinguished public service on the National Security Council staff for the past year, Dr. William Happer is returning to academia. We wish him well and thank him for his tireless efforts to ensure that the Trump Administration’s policies and decision-making were based on transparent and defensible science,” a National Security Council spokesman said in a statement to The Hill.

The Trump administration has made a sustained effort to roll back many of the environmental regulations Barack Obama imposed during his time as president. Trump has repeatedly voiced skeptical views of climate change. 

–This report was updated at 3:16 p.m. 

Tags Barack Obama Climate change Climate change skepticism and denial Donald Trump John Bolton National Security Council

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