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Letter in support of President’s Commission on Climate Security and Dr. Will Happer

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.

Washington, DC 20500

Via e-mail

Dear President Trump,

The undersigned organizations and individuals write to express our strong support for

the proposed President’s Commission on Climate Security. It is our understanding that

this commission, which is being planned and would be directed by Dr. William Happer

of the National Security Council staff, is currently being considered by your senior

White House staff and relevant Cabinet secretaries and agency heads. The commission

would consist of a small number of distinguished experts on climate-related science and

national security. It would be charged with conducting an independent, high-level

review of the Fourth National Climate Assessment and other official reports relating to

climate and its implications for national security. Its deliberations would be subject to

the transparency requirements of the Federal Advisory Committees Act.

In our view, an independent review of these reports is long overdue. Serious problems

and shortcomings have been raised repeatedly in the past by highly-qualified scientists

only to be ignored or dismissed by the federal agencies in charge of producing the

reports. Among major issues that have been raised and that we hope the commission

will scrutinize: the models used have assumed climate sensitivities to CO2

concentrations significantly higher than recent research warrants; the models used have

predicted much more warming than has actually occurred; predictions of the negative

impacts of global warming have been made based on implausible high-end emissions

scenarios; the positive impacts of warming have been ignored or minimized; and surface

temperature data sets have been manipulated to show more rapid warming than has

actually occurred. An underlying issue that we hope the commission will also address is

the fact that so many of the scientific claims made in these reports and by many

climate scientists are not falsifiable, that is, they cannot be tested by the scientific


The conclusions and predictions made by these reports are the basis for proposed

energy policies that could cost trillions of dollars in less than a decade and tens of

trillions of dollars over several decades. Given the magnitude of the potential costs

involved, we think that taking the insular processes of official, consensus science on

trust, as has been the case for the past three decades, is negligent and imprudent. In

contrast, major engineering projects are regularly subjected to the most rigorous and

exhaustive adversarial review. We suggest that climate science requires at least the

same level of scrutiny as the engineering employed in building a bridge or a new


We note that defenders of the climate consensus have already mounted a public

campaign against the proposed commission. We find this opposition curious. If the

defenders are confident that the science contained in official reports is robust, then they

should welcome a review that would finally put to rest the doubts that have been

raised. On the other hand, their opposition could be taken as evidence that the

scientific basis of the climate consensus is in fact highly suspect and cannot withstand

critical review.

We further note that opponents of the proposed commission have already stooped to

making personal attacks on Dr. Happer. Many signers of this letter know Dr. Happer

personally and all are familiar with his scientific career. We know him to be a man of

high capabilities, high achievements, and the highest integrity.

It has been reported that some officials within your administration have proposed an

internal working group as an alternative to an independent commission subject to

FACA. Insofar as an internal working group would consist of federal career scientists

reviewing their own work, we think this alternative would be worse than doing


Although an independent commission of distinguished scientists would have high

credibility, we do not mean to imply that its report should be the end of the

matter. We therefore suggest that the National Academies of Science and Engineering

would be appropriate bodies to conduct an initial review of the commission’s report.

Mr. President, you have made a number of comments in recent years expressing doubts

about the global warming consensus. Many of the signers of this letter have been

similarly skeptical. Without prejudging the results, we think that a review of climate

science produced by an independent, high-level commission would be a fair test for

your views (and ours): either it would provide a sound basis for revising your views or it

would confirm your views and confound your critics.

For these reasons, we urge you to create by Executive Order a President’s Commission

on Climate Security. Thank you for considering our views.


Craig Rucker

President, CFACT

Read the PDF sent to the White House and the full list of co-signers