William Happer, a White House National Security Council official known for being a prominent climate change skeptic, will be leaving his post in the federal government, a council spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
“After distinguished public service on the National Security Council staff for the past year, Dr. William Happer is returning to academia,” an NSC spokesman said. “We wish him well and thank him for his tireless efforts to ensure that the Trump Administration’s policies and decision-making were based on transparent and defensible science.”
Happer joined the Trump administration in September 2018 as a senior director for emerging technologies at the NSC. In that role, Happer, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University, counseled former White House national security adviser John Bolton on climate change issues and military technology.
Following Bolton’s forced resignation on Tuesday, two of his closest allies on the National Security Council, Sarah Tinsley and Garrett Marquis, departed the administration. But a source with knowledge about the situation said that though Happer’s departure coincided with other exits among Bolton allies at the NSC, Happer’s departure was previously planned.
The source familiar with Happer’s situation said he “signed up for a year on the NSC staff and his year is up on Friday.”
Happer has a history of making controversial comments attacking established climate science. In 2014, Happer compared the “demonization” of carbon dioxide to the treatment of Jews under Adolf Hitler during an appearance on CNBC. He’s also compared climate change science to eugenics and criticized climate scientists for tinkering with data models to prove their theories.
Happer has also argued that carbon emissions would be “beneficial” to the planet and help agriculture because plants struggled to grow with low carbon dioxide levels and greater amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere would help crops.
CNN’s KFile previously reviewed Happer’s public appearances, which revealed that in 2016 he appeared on a radio show with a host who argued blacks were less intelligent than whites because of what he claimed were their differences in IQ. Around the same time, he also appeared at a conference organized by a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.
In an email to CNN at the time, Happer said his appearances were not endorsement of the views of others at the conference or on the radio show.
Happer’s departure was first reported by E&E News.
CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck contributed to this report.