WH Suppressed State Dept. Official’s Congressional Testimony on ‘Possibly Catastrophic’ Climate Change


Member of three Trump White House agencies reportedly tried to change and ultimately suppressed a State Department intelligence official’s testimony to Congress about the “possibly catastrophic” impact of climate change on national security and world affairs.

According to a Washington Post story, several White House officials, including William Happer, a senior director on President Donald Trump’s National Security Council, raised objections during a preview of the testimony Rod Schoonover wanted to provide to the House Intelligence Committee.

The effort to edit, and ultimately suppress, the written testimony of a senior analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research comes as the Trump administration is debating how best to challenge the idea that the burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet and could pose serious risks unless the world makes deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Senior military and intelligence officials have continued to warn climate change could undermine America’s national security, a position President Trump rejects.

One White House official told the Post that Schoonover’s blunt assessment of the risks of climate change did not “jibe” with the administration’s energy and national security policy.This is far from the first time the Trump White House has sought to undermine or eliminate official federal government discussion or action on climate change.

In 2017, Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Accords, an international agreement aimed at sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change. In addition, a watchdog group found that the Trump administration has undertaken a widespread campaign to scrub or bury research about climate change on government websites. Likewise, the White House appointed Happer, a longtime climate change denier, to head an internal panel to study climate change. That move came after Trump himself publicly dismissed an external U.S. National Climate Assessment that warned about the dire consequences of doing nothing about climate change: “I don’t believe it.”

Screengrab of physicist William Happer, a senior director on the White House National Security Council, via CNBC.

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