WASHINGTON, D.C.— In response to reports that the Trump White House intends to create a working group to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee and Senior Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, introduced legislation today to prohibit any federal funding from going to this panel. The working group has been strategically designed to avoid the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requirements, which means less public disclosure, and would be comprised of cherry-picked Trump Administration employees who have agreed to undermine the consensus among scientists across thirteen federal agencies in the National Climate Assessment.  The alarming findings in the National Climate Assessment detailed the severe and immediate impacts of climate change.

The panel would be organized by William Happer, a prominent climate change science skeptic who is currently serving as a senior director at the National Security Council and was previously the director of the CO2 Coalition— an organization dedicated to touting the benefits of CO2 and funded by energy executives and hard-right foundations.

Text of the legislation can be viewed HERE.

“Let’s be clear, President Trump’s so-called ‘task force’ will be tasked with one primary objective: casting doubt on settled climate science. Climate denial is par for the course with this administration, even though leaders across the Armed Forces have warned us for years that climate change poses both immediate and long-term threats to our national security, military readiness and international stability. This administration has a penchant for appointing climate skeptics and a pervasive pattern of attacking science, and this panel is no exception. But the president creating a panel specifically to dispute the facts and diminish the findings drawn by hundreds of scientists in his own administration—that’s a new low. Our legislation will ensure no taxpayer dollars are used to fund this shameful, wasteful, anti-science spectacle,” said Senator Carper.

“President Trump’s record on climate change is one of abject failure: denying the science, systematically rolling back environmental protections that reduce carbon emissions, and announcing withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. Now he is on a mission to contradict the National Climate Assessment released by his own administration last year, which outlined the severe and immediate impacts of climate change, by organizing this fake climate panel. This is the intentional, deliberate sowing of disinformation about climate science by our own government and will not stand. My colleagues and I are introducing legislation to block funding for this farce and make sure the fake news stops here,” said Senator Schumer.

“Human-caused climate change poses a threat to our economy, public health, national security, military operations, and infrastructure.  President Trump should cease his hostility toward climate science and U.S. intelligence and start taking evidence-based, concrete action to help mitigate climate threats and risks," said Senator Reed.  "Taxpayer dollars should not be used to censor, suppress, and undermine scientific research or give an elevated platform to a panel of climate science deniers.”

Other senators co-sponsoring the legislation include: Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).