UCF Global Perspectives


White House Panel Forming to Investigate Climate Change

John Heinbockel, Alexandra Cousteau Environmental and Global Climate Change Fellow

February 20, 2019

Officials at the White House are organizing a panel to investigate the connection between climate change and national security. An executive order will formally establish the Presidential Committee on Climate Security which White House officials are currently drafting(WP). This announcement follows the warning made by the Director of Intelligence Dan Coats to the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 13 (Vox). According to Coats, climate change attributed to global warming “are likely to fuel economic and social discontent,” (Vox).

In November of 2018, a congressional report said climate change poses a major threat to the US economy, but President Trump dismissed the report (WP). The formation of the committee could indicate a change in stance regarding climate change, but the appointment of William Happer to chair could show otherwise. Happer is currently the deputy assistant for emerging technologies to President Trump, but said Carbon Dioxide was a benefit to humanity despite its polluting effects (NYT). Francesco Femia, a founder for the Center of Climate and Security said the appointment of Happer means this panel would “neither be independent or rigorous,” (NYT).





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