The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Washington, DC 20500
Via e-mail
Dear President Trump,
The undersigned organizations and individuals write to express our strong support for
the proposed President’s Commission on Climate Security. It is our understanding that
this commission, which is being planned and would be directed by Dr. William Happer
of the National Security Council staff, is currently being considered by your senior
White House staff and relevant Cabinet secretaries and agency heads. The commission
would consist of a small number of distinguished experts on climate-related science and
national security. It would be charged with conducting an independent, high-level
review of the Fourth National Climate Assessment and other official reports relating to
climate and its implications for national security. Its deliberations would be subject to
the transparency requirements of the Federal Advisory Committees Act.
In our view, an independent review of these reports is long overdue. Serious problems
and shortcomings have been raised repeatedly in the past by highly-qualified scientists
only to be ignored or dismissed by the federal agencies in charge of producing the
reports. Among major issues that have been raised and that we hope the commission
will scrutinize: the models used have assumed climate sensitivities to CO2
concentrations significantly higher than recent research warrants; the models used have
predicted much more warming than has actually occurred; predictions of the negative
impacts of global warming have been made based on implausible high-end emissions
scenarios; the positive impacts of warming have been ignored or minimized; and surface
temperature data sets have been manipulated to show more rapid warming than has
actually occurred. An underlying issue that we hope the commission will also address is
the fact that so many of the scientific claims made in these reports and by many
climate scientists are not falsifiable, that is, they cannot be tested by the scientific
The conclusions and predictions made by these reports are the basis for proposed
energy policies that could cost trillions of dollars in less than a decade and tens of
trillions of dollars over several decades. Given the magnitude of the potential costs
involved, we think that taking the insular processes of official, consensus science on
trust, as has been the case for the past three decades, is negligent and imprudent. In
contrast, major engineering projects are regularly subjected to the most rigorous and
exhaustive adversarial review. We suggest that climate science requires at least the
same level of scrutiny as the engineering employed in building a bridge or a new
We note that defenders of the climate consensus have already mounted a public
campaign against the proposed commission. We find this opposition curious. If the
defenders are confident that the science contained in official reports is robust, then they
should welcome a review that would finally put to rest the doubts that have been
raised. On the other hand, their opposition could be taken as evidence that the
scientific basis of the climate consensus is in fact highly suspect and cannot withstand
critical review.
We further note that opponents of the proposed commission have already stooped to
making personal attacks on Dr. Happer. Many signers of this letter know Dr. Happer
personally and all are familiar with his scientific career. We know him to be a man of
high capabilities, high achievements, and the highest integrity.
It has been reported that some officials within your administration have proposed an
internal working group as an alternative to an independent commission subject to
FACA. Insofar as an internal working group would consist of federal career scientists
reviewing their own work, we think this alternative would be worse than doing
Although an independent commission of distinguished scientists would have high
credibility, we do not mean to imply that its report should be the end of the
matter. We therefore suggest that the National Academies of Science and Engineering
would be appropriate bodies to conduct an initial review of the commission’s report.
Mr. President, you have made a number of comments in recent years expressing doubts
about the global warming consensus. Many of the signers of this letter have been
similarly skeptical. Without prejudging the results, we think that a review of climate
science produced by an independent, high-level commission would be a fair test for
your views (and ours): either it would provide a sound basis for revising your views or it
would confirm your views and confound your critics.
For these reasons, we urge you to create by Executive Order a President’s Commission
on Climate Security. Thank you for considering our views.
Craig Rucker
President, CFACT