Happer Is Right Person to Lead Objective Federal Climate Commission

March 12, 2019 Updated: June 24, 2020

The left-wing media’s rumor mill has been rumbling in recent weeks like an upset stomach in need of an antacid at the thought that President Donald Trump will soon form a Presidential Commission on Climate Security (PCCS) to objectively examine the science behind the oft-repeated claim that humans are causing dangerous climate change.

A PCCS is long overdue, and award-winning physicist William Happer, the administration’s senior director of the National Security Council office for emerging technologies, is the perfect person to run it.

Such a committee should have been formed before 1992 when President George H. W. Bush brought the United States into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Bush put the cart before the horse, agreeing to the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) despite the fact no comprehensive assessment of the state of climate science had been undertaken.

The IPCC wasn’t charged with examining the causes and consequences of climate change but, from the start, was directed to limit its inquiries into the “human causes” of change.

A problem can’t be understood if only one aspect of it is studied. It’s like the parable of the blind men and the elephant—if all the blind men had only been allowed to touch the trunk.

Since then, many scientists have advanced their careers and raked in big government research grants by towing the party line that humans cause dangerous climate change and we needed a government takeover of the economy—such as the Green New Deal—to fix it. Time and again, data has been manipulated or altered, and research questioning whether or not humans cause dangerous climate change has been suppressed or ignored to make the facts conform to the theory.

Happer at the Helm

Before joining Trump’s National Security Council, Happer had a distinguished career in academia and in government service. He was the Cyrus Fogg Brackett professor of physics at Princeton University, served as the director of the Office of Energy Research at the U.S. Department of Energy, is a fellow the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Epoch Times Photo
William Happer in an undated photo taken at an event in Teaneck, N.J. (Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org)

With Happer at the helm, the PCCS will assemble a group of qualified scientists to examine and debate the causes of current climate change, and its purported impacts on national security, agriculture, sea level, and extreme weather.

Happer has previously written about two critical aspects of climate change science: the need for quality data, and a fair examination of the potential benefits of increased carbon dioxide.

In 2015, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rushed into publication research announcing “the observational evidence related to a ‘hiatus’ in recent global surface warming” did not “support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.” This claim conflicted with every extant temperature database, and the findings of many organizations worldwide, including the IPCC, that there had been a lengthy hiatus in global warming.

Along with more than 300 other scientists, Happer objected, noting in an article in Environment & Climate News that in the rush to get their findings published in time to influence the then forthcoming Paris Climate Agreement negotiations, NOAA’s researchers had violated the 2001 Data Quality Act (DQA).

In response, Happer and more than 300 experts signed a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology criticizing NOAA’s actions and stressing the need for climate research to comply with DQA requirements.

Beneficial Carbon Dioxide

Aside from his strong stand on behalf of scientific transparency, the liberal media has been hyperventilating about Happer’s previous statements on climate change, which he explored in an interview I conducted with him in 2015 for Environment & Climate News:

“Doubling the carbon dioxide concentration will probably cause a warming of around 1 degree Celsius. … A warming of 1–2 degrees Celsius will be beneficial in itself by lengthening growing seasons and cutting winter heating bills. … The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s ‘most likely’ warming estimate if carbon dioxide is doubled [is] 3 degrees Celsius[, which] is almost certainly much too large.

“In addition to the direct beneficial effects of modest warming, there will be a huge benefit to agriculture from more carbon dioxide. By the standards of geological history, … we have been in a carbon dioxide famine over the past tens of millions of years, with low concentrations of several hundred ppm. More carbon dioxide will increase crop yields, make plants more tolerant to droughts, and will shrink deserts. Yet, we keep hearing about ‘carbon pollution.’ Carbon dioxide is beneficial, not a pollutant.”

Thousands of experiments, the actions of greenhouse operators worldwide, and the fact the earth has been greening and crop yields continue to set records year after year, all confirm Happer’s assertions on the agricultural benefits of higher carbon dioxide and a modest warming.

From the perspective of climate alarmists and the print and broadcast media that has adopted their cause, Trump’s big sin in forming the PCCS is to question the claim climate science is settled. And Happer’s big sin is to defend the need for high-quality data and to point out a modestly warmer world and increased carbon dioxide will bring benefits as well as costs.

All the panic and hyperbolic gnashing of teeth concerning the PSSC in recent weeks comes down to this: Neither good science nor sound policy can be advanced without an unbiased examination and debate of the facts. This is the cornerstone of scientific discovery. So get to work, Dr. Happer, and thank you for your service.

H. Sterling Burnett is a senior fellow on environmental policy at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Contact him at hburnett@heartland.org.


Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett
Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a senior fellow on environmental policy at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.