President-elect Donald Trump met late last week with leading climate realist Dr. William Happer, a prominent professor of physics at Princeton University who says the planet will benefit from more carbon dioxide and that any global warming would be a positive development for humanity. Details of the January 13 meeting at Trump Tower were not released to the public, but analysts speculated that Trump may be considering the respected expert for a post in the incoming administration or soliciting advice.
Frantic climate alarmists were furious, taking to their keyboards to libel and demonize the respected scholar as well as President-elect Trump across the Internet. Trump supporters and climate realists, though, celebrated the news. Both sides speculated that it could be a sign that the incoming administration plans to follow through on Trump's campaign pledges to throw cold water on the tax-funded climate hysteria.
Trump, who has called the theory a “hoax,” also vowed to cancel the Communist China-backed United Nations “Paris Agreement” purporting to tackle alleged man-made warming through draconian economic and political measures. America should never give “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use,” Trump said, vowing to rip up the UN climate schemes signed by Obama but never ratified by the U.S. Senate. His cabinet picks so far suggest he plans to follow through, analysts say.
Professor Happer, an award-winning scientist who has served in senior science posts within the federal government, is one of the growing number of former man-made global-warming theorists who have since become known as climate “skeptics” or “realists.” Decades ago, Happer even helped write one of the early books promoting the man-made warming theory. But he later recanted, admitting he was wrong. Today, Happer has become one of the leading scientists celebrating the well-documented benefits of CO2 and potential warming.
Last month, The New American magazine was able to interview Dr. Happer at a climate conference in Arizona, organized by Freedom Force International, at which he and this writer spoke. At the event, headlined "Global Warming: An Inconvenient Lie," Happer explained, among other points, that most plants were actually designed to exist in an atmosphere much richer in CO2, which he described as a wonderful and beneficial molecule. Almost all plant life would benefit from more CO2, which is why farmers pump it into their greenhouses, Happer explained.
“We've heard that CO2 is a demon molecule that causes global warming,” the prominent physicist continued, noting that the Earth was getting greener and crop yields were increasing as a result of the increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. “We should tell the truth: CO2 will benefit the Earth.” It will also be a major boon to humanity, he explained, noting that experiments show plants grow better and faster when CO2 levels are doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled.
Dr. Happer also showed that, in the Earth's past, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were far, far higher than they are today. “It is measured in thousands of parts per million rather than hundreds, as we have today,” he explained, noting that humans exhale about two pounds of CO2 each day just by breathing. “The EPA is just completely bonkers,” the professor added, highlighting the absurdity of having a federal agency wage a war on what scientists refer to as “the gas of life.”
In an interview with The New American after his well-received speech, Dr. Happer re-iterated his views on the benefits of more carbon dioxide. “CO2 will be good for the Earth,” he explained. “If you look at geological history, CO2 levels are unusually low right now, it's very seldom that they've been this low. Many plants are not growing as good as they could if they had more CO2, so CO2 by itself will be very good for the Earth, more will be a good thing.”
As for the catastrophic man-made global-warming theory, Happer rejected the view that man's emissions of CO2 would produce any such problems. “It's pretty clear that we're not going to see dangerous climate change,” he said. “If nothing else, the Earth has already done this experiment many times, because in the geological past CO2 levels have been four times, five times, even higher than today, and life flourished all over the Earth and in the oceans too. So it's nonsense, [CO2 is] not a pollutant.”
Still, Dr. Happer cautioned that there are “real pollutants” that humanity ought to be concerned about. “In this frenzy over CO2, we're neglecting many of them,” he said. “Nobody wants to live in a polluted world. If you go to Shanghai or Beijing or Delhi, the air, you can cut it with a knife some days. That's not CO2 at all, that's fly ash, sulfur oxide. So there are obvious things that can be controlled and should be controlled, but not CO2.”
Citing discredited climate models that “predicted much more warming than we have observed,” Happer explained that climate science is “in shambles” currently. “They're gradually realizing that they have something fundamentally wrong, and the thing that's most likely wrong is they've assumed much more [climate] sensitivity for CO2 than is actually there,” he said, echoing other scientists and experts who spoke at the climate conference in Arizona. Thousands of scientists, including many at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have come to the same conclusion.
Despite efforts to conceal the truth for political reasons, the facts are there. “They've tried to hide that [lack of climate sensitivity to CO2] by keeping the CO2 sensitivity high for political reasons, although scientifically it's very hard to defend that,” he explained, noting that man-made warming theorists were trying to blame “aerosols” for the lack of observed warming. “The most obvious solution — which is that CO2 is not a very good warmer — is something that they are unwilling to admit, but it's the truth.”
Unlike many of his critics among global-warming theorists, who have viciously slandered the soft-spoken physicist for contradicting their agenda with facts, Dr. Happer was measured and calm in his comments about the problem. “Most scientists don't know any more about climate than you do,” he said, noting that they work in different fields. “I would guess that you know more than many of them.”
In general, though, he explained that scientists and academics feel they “ought to be appreciated more by society,” he said. “I think it's partly a resentment that they haven't done better, society treats them like ordinary people when they feel like they're superior people — I think there's a lot of frustration there that is showing. And there's tribalism, that if one area of science is being questioned — climate science — even if you work in urology or some other completely different field, you tend to rally around because you regard it as an attack on your own field.”
Dr. Happer also noted, though, that there are many scientists like him, who are “quite skeptical about the whole thing, and a little bit embarrassed for science itself.” He did say that most of his colleagues continued to treat him well, and that they still believe in academic freedom. However, he pointed out that he receives lots of death threats and hate mail from non-scientists. “Other scientists ought to understand that they're in bed with a movement that is not a very good movement,” Happer said.
Calling the climate-alarmist bandwagon a “vicious” movement, Happer said it ought to be denounced. “I noticed for example that President-elect Trump went through some trouble to denounce all of the bigots that were riding his coat tails,” he recalled, noting that Trump explicitly expressed his disapproval. “But I don't see that happening with scientists, and so that troubles me.” Other leading climate scientists, facing vicious attacks from alarmists, have even started referring to man-made warming activists as “global warming Nazis” or a “cult” that ignores evidence to support its bizarre beliefs.
Despite his early support for the theory, Dr. Happer's criticism of the alarmist movement and its theory is hardly a new phenomenon. He has testified on multiple occasions before Congress on the benefits of CO2. And he has been very outspoken, including giving media interviews, on his view that warming is normal and natural, and probably has very little to do with CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.
Happer and other scientists have also spoken out against the “international warming establishment” in a piece for the Wall Street Journal. In the comments, they equated the alarmists' extremism with the terrifying Soviet experience of persecution by mass-murderer Joseph Stalin for challenging Trofim Lysenko's quack theories on biology, a phenomenon that eventually came to be known as Lysenkoism. Ultimately, despite sending dissenting scientists to the gulag to be tortured and executed, the truth triumphed anyway.
If he were to be appointed by Trump to a position, it would not be Happer's first stint serving in a high-level job in the federal government. Among other posts, Happer served as the director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science during the George H.W. Bush administration. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and has served in multiple scientific and advisory positions for the federal government.
Of course, Trump has also held meetings with senior climate alarmists, including discredited global-warming guru Al Gore and far-left Hollywood personality Leonardo DiCaprio, both of whom emit more CO2 in a day with their private jets and mansions than many normal people do in a lifetime. And reports suggest Trump's daughter may be a well-intentioned global-warming theorist as well.
However, despite fake news reports from the establishment media claiming Trump had betrayed his supporters on the climate issue, Trump has remained relatively consistent so far in his positions. In fact, his key appointments thus far on the issue have been widely celebrated by climate realists and constitutionalists hoping to restore some sanity in politics and science. Perhaps Dr. Happer can also help make science great again by serving formally or informally in the incoming Trump administration.