Haven’t we had enough of these old codgers who won’t be alive when the worst consequences of climate change are upon us telling us it’s no big deal? Certainly, the President of the United States is in that group. Privately, the 72-year-old probably views the issue in the same terms he does The National Debt: “Yeah, but I won’t be here.” In public, he can be found “joking” that global warming isn’t real because it’s cold outside. Reportedly, he can also be found looking to assemble a so-called “Presidential Committee on Climate Security,” which will be tasked with questioning the findings of climate scientists and the Pentagon that climate change is real and poses a national security risk.
Jesus Christ, these people. Sometimes, you have to wonder whether the human race deserves to survive. We have wreaked destruction on this planet and, now that it is fast becoming uninhabitable for human civilization as we know it, we have elected not to address the issue but to elevate people who dispute that it’s happening and, in the case of Mr. William Happer here, to claim that Actually, More CO2 in the Atmosphere Is Good. Well, at least that’s what the United States of America has decided to do.
Around this time two years ago, I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and stumbled upon a panel organized by the CO2 Coalition, of which Happer is president. He is now, also, a senior director on the White House National Security Council. Here, from my story at the time, is how the panel explained that More CO2 Is Good:
…a pair of men besuited in various shades of olive and brown discussed how the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (which they granted were up 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution) had led to a phenomenon called “global greening.” Plants need CO 2 to grow, they told a captivated audience of a couple dozen people, and when there’s more of it, they grow faster, larger, and-since they need less water-in drier areas…
…Because of increased CO 2levels, “the Earth is in a far better place today,” [said] Craig Idso of CO 2Science and the board of directors of the CO 2 Coalition…Taken by itself, the greening argument is solid enough. In fact, it does not contradict the scientific consensus on climate change, which holds that higher carbon dioxide levels lead to warmer temperatures and, in turn, among other things, to melting sea ice and rising sea levels. Both can be true at once. Except the CO 2 Coalition’s shtick is effectively a red herring; these guys also don’t believe in man-made climate change.
“Temperatures have not risen very much, and most of the temperature rise is probably completely natural, and has nothing to do with increasing CO 2,” William Happer, the coalition’s president, told me over the phone. “Industrialization probably played a small role, but I think it’s very hard to tell how much.”
This directly contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change, which Happer has long disputed in his many roles at various conservative think tanks. It also tells you Happer’s newest group is not actually committed to lionizing CO2, but to muddying the waters around climate science.
Before he founded the CO2 Coalition, Happer chaired the George Marshall Institute and developed a reputation as one of the nation’s premier climate “skeptics.” The Institute received $865,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2011. (Elsewhere, ExxonMobil-funded think tanks have been found offering scientists $10,000-a-pop to undermine climate reports.) With a degree in physics from Princeton, Happer is unusually qualified to serve in this area-the various other deniers I spoke to for the story had degrees like a bachelor’s in political science or a PhD in geography-but he is a professional denier all the same.
Also, there’s this:
Now this fine gentleman will lead a planned Presidential Climate Change Panel that, according to the Washington Post, will “question” the peer-reviewed findings of experts in science and the American military-the latter of which has long acknowledged climate change is real and poses a threat to our way of life. I wonder what conclusion he will come to? Surely he will evaluate the evidence on the merits.