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Joint letter to President Trump in support of proposed President's Commission on Climate Security

March 18, 2019

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.

​Washington, DC
18th March 2019

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 method.

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 airplane.

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 nothing.

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.


Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy and Environment
and Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Tim Huelskamp, Ph. D., President and CEO
and Joseph L. Bast, Founder and Senior Fellow
The Heartland Institute

Adam Brandon, President

Tim Chapman, Executive Director
Heritage Action for America

Thomas Pyle, President
American Energy Alliance

Thomas Schatz, President
Citizens Against Government Waste

Craig Rucker, President
and Marc Morano, Publisher, CFACT’s Climate Depot
Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)

Steve Milloy, Publisher
Junk Science

James L. Martin, Founder and Chairman
and Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President
60 Plus Association

Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen, Chairman
and Kenneth Haapala, President
Science and Environmental Policy Project

Robert L. Bradley, Jr., CEO
Institute for Energy Research

Craig D. Idso, Ph. D., Chairman
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and GlobalChange

Tom Harris, Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition

Eunie Smith, President
Eagle Forum

Rick Manning, President
Americans for Limited Government

Craig Richardson, President
Energy and Environment Legal Institute

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph. D., Founder and National Spokesman
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

Phil Kerpen, President
American Commitment

Mario H. Lopez, President
Hispanic Leadership Fund

Al Regnery, Chairman
Conservative Action Project

Bill Walton, Chairman
CNP Action, Inc.

Jennifer Fielder, CEO
American Lands Council

Tom DeWeese, President
American Policy Center

Andrew Langer, President
Institute for Liberty

David T. Stevenson, Policy Director
and Clinton S. Laird, Advisory Council
Caesar Rodney Institute

Rob Roper, President
Ethan Allen Institute

Kory Swanson, President and CEO
John Locke Foundation

Paul Gessing, President
Rio Grande Foundation

Jason Hayes, Director of Environmental Policy
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Kathleen Hartnett White, Senior Fellow and Director
Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment
Life: Powered, a Project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Daniel Turner, Founder and Executive Director
Power the Future

John Droz, Jr., Founder
Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions

Alex Epstein, Founder
Center for Industrial Progress

Mark Mathis, President
Clear Energy Alliance

Mandy Gunasekara, Founder
Energy 45 Fund

Peter Ferrara, Chief Consultant
and David Wallace, President and Founder
FAIR Energy Foundation

Mark Anderson, Executive Director
and Karla Davenport, Producer
I Spy Radio

[For a list of the individual signers, please download the PDF of the letter.]

Tim Huelskamp served as president of The Heartland Institute from 2017 to 2019.
Myron Ebell is Director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and a Policy Advisor to The Heartland Institute. @myronebell