President Trump wants a climate science review where he might take center stage as host in front of a prime-time television audience, a former adviser said yesterday.
Trump is also interested in bringing back a hostile review of climate science if he wins reelection, but he’s concerned that it would affect him in the general election, according to William Happer, a former senior director in the National Security Council. The emeritus Princeton University professor worked for months to promote a hostile review of climate science.
Happer told E&E News he’s interested in a purely academic challenge to the National Climate Assessment, while Trump wants a televised event.
“The biggest audience, which is the average American public, has to be informed, and he thinks he’s better at doing that than I am. I’m sure he’s right,” Happer said. “He would prefer it be on prime time, maybe with he himself participating, who knows, but it’s impossible to make much of an impact on the scientific community that way.”
Happer said Trump was already familiar with his view of climate science, which holds that the world needs more carbon dioxide, before they met in the Oval Office with former national security adviser John Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. In those early days of his White House tenure, in the fall of 2018, the climate science review seemed a certainty. Happer said Trump was receptive to his scientific claims but that the president already had his own ideas about climate.
Happer, who left the White House last September, said he stressed to the president that there was no urgency to address climate change.
“I don’t think I told him anything that he didn’t really know. I continually stressed that he’s not really dealing with so much with science as with a popular movement,” he said.
Happer said that in subsequent meetings, Trump would engage with the idea of the review but was largely focused on his political fortunes.
“When you talk to him, he is interested, but his main focus is politics, how’s the next election going,” he said. “It’s hard to distract him too long from his main focus. I don’t think I was with him, I think ever, when at some point in the conversation, some political issue would come up, how’s the latest hearing, how is such and such Democratic candidate looking in the polls.”