Schumer says he'll act to 'defund' Trump's 'fake' climate panel

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer warned President Trump on Tuesday that Democrats would not go along with creating a commission to promote the administration’s climate-change stance.

The White House has been assembling what it calls the Presidential Committee on Climate Security, the Washington Post reported last week, and chose a prominent climate change denier, William Happer, an emeritus physics professor at Princeton University, to head it.

“I’m announcing that if the Trump administration moves forward with this fake climate panel, we'll be introducing legislation to defund it. … It is long past time for President Trump and Republican leaders to admit that climate change is real, that human activity contributes to it and Congress must take action," Schumer, D-N.Y., said in remarks delivered on the Senate floor.

The panel’s purpose, the Post reported, is to challenge the mainstream consensus, reflected in recent reports from government agencies, that climate change poses a serious national security and environmental risk.

While it's unlikely, given the Republican majority in the Senate, that Schumer and the Democrats can actually defund the panel, the threat comes at a time when the parties have been facing off over climate change and whether the government should takes steps to address it.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is pushing for a vote next week on the “Green New Deal,” putting several Democratic presidential candidates on record for their support of legislation that would have far-reaching economic consequences.

Trump dismissed a report released in November by his own administration that pulled together findings from 13 federal agencies and more than 300 climate scientists. It concluded that climate change from human causes posed a potentially catastrophic threat to the country.

“With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century — more than the current gross domestic product of many U.S. states,” the report stated.

Asked in November what he thought of the findings from his own administration, the president said he was unimpressed.

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I don’t believe it.”

The president has long made clear his view that climate change is a hoax and has routinely mocked those who point to the preponderance of evidence showing otherwise.

On Tuesday, Schumer blasted the president and Republicans in Congress who he said were abetting Trump in a campaign of “disinformation” about the dangers of climate change.

“This may be the most conspicuous symptom of the disease of climate denialism that has infected the Republican Party and the hard right. This is beyond willful ignorance. This is intentional deliberate sowing of disinformation about climate change policy by our own government,” Schumer said.

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