William Happer, a retired physics professor from Princeton University, is set to become President Donald Trump’s next head of the Presidential Committee on Climate Security.
Happer has absolutely no experience on climate science — his physics discipline doesn’t delve into the subject all that often — but that’s actually the least disturbing aspect of Trump’s latest pick.
In 2014, while arguing against the science that highlights carbon dioxide’s effects on our world’s climate, Happer tried to defend comments he made from 2009 where he made a comparison of CO2 to the treatment of Jewish people during Nazi Germany, reported HuffPost.
William Happer is set to lead a Trump panel on climate change: https://t.co/KNJKpO4A4t
Happer has previously argued that "the demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler" pic.twitter.com/RzI4794alt
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) February 20, 2019
“The comment I made [in 2009] was that the demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” Happer said. “Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”
Happer has continued to try and make the Holocaust-climate change comparison in the years since that 2014 interview. In 2017, for instance, he said that he was being targeted as a climate change denier, and that the word “denier” itself was used purposefully to make it sound like he was a Holocaust denier.
According to reporting from Earther, Happer, who already serves as a senior director on the National Security Council, has defended a rise in CO2 presence in the atmopshere, believing it to be a good thing overall for humanity.
In fact, there needs to be a certain level of CO2 in our atmosphere in order for our world to not be a completely frozen ice ball. That much is true — but the opposite is also of concern. Too much CO2 makes our world completely inhospitable to life by trapping too much heat in the earth.
We have an example of this in our own Solar System: Venus, the second planet from the sun, is actually the hottest, due to it’s significantly higher levels of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere.
Beyond the science denial aspect of Happer’s comments, however, is the insensitive way he tosses about the Holocaust as a comparison of how people treat climate science and CO2. The deaths of millions of Jewish people, as well as other groups of individuals, at the hands of Nazi Germany during the Holocaust is a hyperbolic and demeaning way to talk about the reduction of carbon in our atmosphere, as the latter subject is a necessary conversation to have for the survival of our planet.
Trump’s newest pick seems to be in line with the president’s thinking, however, as Trump himself is a denier that climate change is a bad thing. When the Pentagon released a threat assessment of how climate change adversely affects the United States and the world itself, Trump flatly said, “I don’t believe it,” according to reporting from Vox, essentially dismissing the study from his own Department of Defense.