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Trump Administration Lining Up Climate Change ‘Red Team’

John Siciliano, Washington Examiner

The Trump administration is in the beginning stages of forming an adversarial “red team” to play devil’s advocate in a plan to debate the facts behind global warming and take on what skeptics call climate alarmism.

The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency are recruiting scientists by enlisting the help of the Heartland Institute, considered to be the lead think tank for challenging the majority of scientists on climate change.

The institute has its own red team, which is the antithesis to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which it calls, unabashedly, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

“The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached out to the Heartland Institute to help identify scientists who could constitute a red team, and we’ve been happy to oblige,” Jim Lakely, the group’s communications director, told the Washington Examiner.

“This effort is long overdue,” he said. “The climate scientists who have dominated the deliberations and the products of the IPCC have gone almost wholly without challenge. That is a violation of the scientific method and the public’s trust.”

The Heartland Institute has been a long proponent of a red team “to critically examine what has become alarmist dogma rather than a sober evaluation of climate science for many years,” Lakely said. “In fact, Heartland has worked closely with a red team that has been examining the science for several years: the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, or NIPCC.”

What the Trump administration may pull together in creating its red team might look a little like what Heartland has created.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “believes that we will be able to recruit the best in the fields which study climate and will organize a specific process in which these individuals … provide back-and-forth critique of specific new reports on climate science,” a senior administration official told the news service Climatewire late last month.

“We are, in fact, very excited about this initiative. Climate science, like other fields of science, is constantly changing. A new, fresh, and transparent evaluation is something everyone should support doing,” the official said.

The Heartland team continues to publish reports challenging IPCC and other climate scientists, which it began eight years ago. The group has produced four volumes of “Climate Change Reconsidered,” with a fifth coming out later this year, Lakely said.

“Hundreds of scientists have reviewed and helped produce those volumes, which have been published by the Heartland Institute,” Lakely said. The reports total more than 3,000 pages.

The irony behind the Trump administration taking up the approach is that it was suggested by a former Obama administration official, Steve Koonin, who suggested a red team-blue team approach to clear out the politics and address the science. Koonin teaches at New York University.

He suggested the idea in an April op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The exercise would include a red team, representing climate skeptics, squaring off against a blue team, representing the majority of scientists who believe the Earth’s temperature is warming because of increased greenhouse gas emissions caused by manmade activity.

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