Trump Delaying Global Change Study – Plans “Red Team” Climate Denial in New Term

October 5, 2020

Given another term, the Trump administration will double down on climate denial, and is considering appointing a “Red Team” of climate deniers to evaluate (read distort) climate science.
But this has already been done.

The American Physical Society staged a “Red team, blue team” exercise in 2014, in evaluating and updating the Society’s statement on climate change. Ben Santer of Livermore Labs was a member of the “Blue” team, in support of consensus, science, and reason.

In the early days of the Trump administration, this idea was being floated. Cooler heads realized that the only people willing to serve on the “Red” team were nitwits and clowns, and the idea was shelved.
I interviewed Ben Santer during that moment in time, to get his perspective – it’s been waiting for this moment.

Vote, people.


The Trump administration is slow-walking a mandatory climate report by not seeking out scientists to work on it, says one of the authors of the last National Climate Assessment.

Donald Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois who co-led the first volume of the fourth National Climate Assessment, said the Trump administration is late in putting out a call in the Federal Register for researchers to produce the fifth version.

“It’s not being approved to go out, so therefore they’re just sitting on it. And I don’t know if it’s NOAA or the White House, but somebody’s sitting on it, so that’s just holding up getting up the NCA 5 going,” Wuebbles said.

By law, Congress and the White House are supposed to receive a report no less than every four years on the state of climate change and its impacts on humanity and the natural world.

The fourth version was unequivocal in its assessment of the problem. “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” noted the authors.

That sentiment contrasts with the views of President Trump, who previously has described climate change as a hoax.

The Trump administration tried to bury the last version of the assessment, in 2018, by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving.

Administration officials then spent months preparing an adversarial review of its findings. That effort ultimately was scuttled by the campaign, but Trump told the architect of the scheme that he might revive it after the election.

The outcome of the presidential election is all but certain to have a major effect on the next iteration of the National Climate Assessment. The report is used by policy planners and local governments to help make spending and infrastructure decisions.

The Trump administration, which has focused on weakening or ignoring climate science, would like to revamp the assessment, according to William Happer, a former senior director in the National Security Council.

Happer has told E&E News that the administration purposely released the last National Climate Assessment on the day after Thanksgiving to bury its findings, and that Trump was angry after it was released.

Trump later said he didn’t “believe” the report.

Happer, who claims the world is in a CO2 drought, also said he would like to be an author of the National Climate Assessment. He told E&E News that Trump wants to conduct an adversarial review of climate science — possibly as a prime-time television special — but wants to wait until after the election (Climatewire, Feb. 28).

“This is on hold; we’re not going to abandon it,” Happer said Trump told him.

5 Responses to “Trump Delaying Global Change Study – Plans “Red Team” Climate Denial in New Term”

  1. Keith McClary Says:

    Wackeypedia had an article listing skeptical scientists (loosely defined). I pointed out that it needed updating since many were retired, emeritus or deceased. They disappeared the article before it was all “deceased”.

  2. pendantry Says:

    omg… how can anyone trust anything that this William Happer character says?

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The world is in a CO2 drought in the sense that the world’s average CO2 levels for hundreds of millions of years was higher than 400ppm. The dropping of CO2 levels allowed this planet to develop a human infestation that Happer must think it is better off without.


    • grindupbaker Says:

      Happer does understand the radiative physics though, to the extent that he gives a proper scientific talk discussing the absorption/emission spectrum of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the resulting effect on radiation to space when it’s in the atmosphere (causing warming). His claims (whether honest or for some dishonest purpose) are that the net +ve feedback is much less than model results and that warming will only have minor negative effects. He has that very clear position. I recall he did lie though in a “denier” channel talk with a standard wealth-based “denier” because he said GMST hadn’t increased since ~2002 and the talk was dated after 2015. So he isn’t above lying.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    FWIW, the John Christy Ben Santer discussed is very religious, and it enters into his discussions of climate. He believes, with all the classic signs of humans’ innate self-delusion, that religion and science can coexist.

    He worked with Roy Spencer on the now-notorious work that mistakenly showed the atmosphere cooling, and subsequently had to fix errors until their oft-repaired model finally showed the atmosphere was definitely warming. Only in politics would he be played as a top-tier expert.

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