The Trump administration is reportedly planning to convene a group of scientists to question the validity of climate change and challenge a sweeping federal report on the subject that was released last year.
According to The Washington Post, the “ad hoc” panel will include researchers who are openly antagonistic towards the scientific consensus around climate change.
Last week, The Post ran another story that said President Donald Trump planned to use an executive order to set up a presidential committee to challenge the report. However, an “ad hoc group” would not be required to meet in public or be subject to public records requests.
The prime target of the review appears to be the National Climate Assessment, a major report released in November that was jointly written by 13 federal agencies and more than 300 researchers. The study painted a bleak picture: The United States has already warmed an average 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century and will warm by at least 3 more degrees by 2100 without dramatic efforts to stem carbon emissions.
While the congressionally-mandated report was released under Trump, the president was reportedly livid it was published at all.
“The goal of this new ‘National Security Council committee’ is apparently to question the findings of recent federal climate science reports: which just so happen to already be THE most thoroughly reviewed docs on climate in the entire country!” Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University and an author of the National Climate Assessment, wrote on Twitter. “Who is going to review the federal climate reports who has not already had the chance? The answer is no one. Everyone had a chance to review the reports before they were released by this administration ― and if they were part of a federal agency, they had multiple chances.”
The committee idea was discussed at the White House on Friday, The Post reported, and was a modified version of an earlier plan touted by William Happer, a senior director on the National Security Council who has incorrectly argued that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually helps the planet.
The proposal closely resembles another strategy dubbed the “red team-blue team” exercise, which was first stumped by Scott Pruitt. The former Environmental Protection Agency administrator wanted to set up the exercise to allow debate between scientists who recognize climate change and its effects on the planet and those few who do not. That plan was blocked by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Trump discounted the National Climate Assessment shortly after it was released last year, saying he didn’t “see it” when asked if climate change was caused by the release of carbon emissions. Since then, he has continued to attack the science, often confusing weather and climate: