White House to Create New Panel to Challenge Climate Change Findings

Mar 1, 2019

by ASME.org

The White House recently announced intentions to create a panel of federal scientists who will reassess and push back on the government’s climate change findings. These findings include conclusions such as the ramifications of burning fossil fuels on the environment. The panel would be led by the White House’s National Security Council (NSC), and include a group of ad hoc scientists who would challenge such findings, as well as question the degree to which humans are to blame for the increase rate of climate change. Due to the ad hoc nature of the panel, it would be not subject to the same degree of public disclosure as a formal advisory committee. The panel will not an official federal advisory committee, so it will not be subject to the same transparency and public disclosure procedures required for other federal advisory bodies.

A February 14 NSC discussion paper obtained by the Washington Post noted that the panel would be comprised of 12 members tasked “to advise the President on scientific understanding of today’s climate, how the climate might change in the future under natural and human influences, and how a changing climate could affect the security of the United States.” The paper lists the panel as being called the Presidential Committee on Climate Security, which will be formed through an executive order and overseen by NSC senior director William Happer.

Announcement of the new panel was met with strong opposition by many on Capitol Hill, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stating that if the administration moves forward with this panel, it is likely that Democrats will try to defund the group. “This may be the most conspicuous symptom of the disease of climate denialism that has infected the Republican Party and the hard right. This is beyond willful ignorance. This is intentional deliberate sowing of disinformation about climate change policy by our own government,“ Schumer said.