On Friday, Donald Trump met with a climate-denying scientist who's said some questionable things about Jewish people. 2017 is moving along exactly as we've expected, it seems.
Screengrab via YouTube
William Happer — who did not answer any questions from the press on his way to meet Trump — is a professor of physics at Princeton who worked at the US Department of Energy in the early '90s under George H.W. Bush. He's a passionate carbon dioxide advocate who once testified to the Senate that "CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving 'pollutant' and 'poison' of their original meaning ... CO2 is absolutely essential for life on Earth."
Professor Happer hasn't outright denied climate change. He just has a radically different take on it than the rest of the scientific community. Happer also told the Senate in 2009, "The current warming also seems to be due mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide."
Considering how Trump called global warming a concept "created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive", it seems like the two men would make a good pair. Happer has also repeatedly compared efforts against global warming to the Holocaust.
"The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler," Happer told Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC in 2014. "Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews."
E&E News first reported on the meeting and mused that Trump is possibly considering Happer for an energy or science position in his administration. Trump has already picked climate change denier Rick Perry as energy secretary and his choice for the head of the EPA is currently suing the organisation over climate change, so Happer would be in like-minded company. Scientists have expressed grave concern about what's going to happen to climate change and health research under Trump's administration.
Regardless of whether Happer ends up on Trump's team, The Washington Post noted, "The meeting may be most noteworthy as an example of how Trump plans to get scientific advice — through meetings with people whose views are not necessarily part of the mainstream."
It's unclear if any inappropriate Holocaust references were made in Happer and Trump's meeting today. What is clear is that two powerful men with meaningless Ivy League cred and hatred of climate science got to talking today, and nothing good can come of that.