Former Defense Leaders Warn White House It's 'Dangerous' To Downplay Climate Change

Mar 6, 2019
Originally published on March 5, 2019 6:37 pm

In a letter to President Trump, 58 former military and national security officials expressed deep concern about reported plans to create "a committee to dispute and undermine military and intelligence judgments on the threat posed by climate change."

"It is dangerous to have national security analysis conform to politics. Our officials' job is to ensure that we are prepared for current threats and future contingencies. We cannot do that if the scientific studies that inform our threat assessments are undermined," the letter stated.

Signatories include former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe Adm. James Stavridis, and former NASA Administrator Vice Adm. Richard Truly.

The government's official position is that climate change is a threat to national security, but the White House appears to be singing a different tune with the appointment of climate-change-denying physicist William Happer to the National Security Council.

According to a document first leaked to The Washington Post, Happer is spearheading a panel that challenges the government's official assessment. The document acknowledges several reports released under the Trump administration deeming climate change a threat.

"However, these scientific and national security judgments have not undergone a rigorous independent and adversarial scientific peer review to examine the certainties and uncertainties of climate science," it continues.

Four House committee chairs also sent a letter to the president expressing concern following the leak of the document.

Reps. Adam Smith, D-Wash., Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, signed a letter on February 28, 2019, stating, "We are particularly concerned that this panel reportedly will not be subject to the rules of the Federal Advisory committee."

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