Over the weekend, the head of Donald Trump’s planned climate review panel had this to say about the climate crisis: “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.” It’s the sort of remark that would instantly result in dismissal in more reasonable times. Under Trump … it’s exactly where policy is going.
William Happer and his comparison of Jews to a polluting gas are just one aspect of a policy that’s focused not only on denying the climate crisis, but also on attacking science and scientific reasoning. As a physicist, Happer might be expected to have some deference toward his scientific colleagues, and some knowledge about the rigor and review that shape their work. But there are more important factors that shape Happer’s reasoning. Millions of them. As in the millions that have come from the fossil-fuel billionaires Robert and Rebekah Mercer to fund Happer and his anti-science pogrom.
According to The New York Times, the Mercers funded both Happer’s one-man “advocacy group” and a super PAC controlled by John Bolton. Then, when Trump brought Bolton into the Cabinet, it was Bolton who pulled in Happer to head up efforts to destroy the planet’s future. The Mercers have to be genuinely happy with their investments.
As a first step in destroying the nation’s faith in science and tamping down concerns about the already unfolding disasters brought on by global warming, the Trump regime has a simple answer: Don’t look. To that end, the new head of the United States Geological Survey has forbidden any analysis that looks beyond 2040. And the EPA, which produces a new climate assessment every four years, will simply drop the best, most accurate models from the next assessment in favor of only looking at the most favorable possible outcomes.
But closing their eyes and whistling a happy tune aren’t enough to make the climate crisis go away. Even though some White House staffers are concerned that opening up a “holy war” on science might be not such a good thing, Trump is determined to charge ahead for the simple reason that allowing people to respect any other voice, on any subject, is a threat to Trump’s authority.
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