By Andy May
While attending the latest Heartland Conference on energy in New Orleans, I ran across a pamphlet that contained an excellent TheBestSchools.org interview with Professor William Happer, the famous Princeton physicist, on climate change. As described in the pamphlet, Professor Happer has been heavily involved in climate science since before he was a co-author of the landmark book The Long-Term Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels, edited by Gordon J. MacDonald (Ballinger Publishing Co., 1982). Some have tried to claim that we should ignore what he says about climate change since he isn’t a “real” climate scientist, only one of the most esteemed physicists in the world and the developer of adaptive optics. This is silly since the development of adaptive optics requires a thorough understanding of atmospheric physics. It is a testament to his stature that Greenpeace tried to trap Professor Happer by sending him a fraudulent email in 2015, pretending to be a Middle Eastern potential client asking him to write something about the benefits of CO2. This fraudulent trap failed miserably since Professor Happer made it clear in the subsequent email exchange what his position on CO2 was and said he would write it up only if the “client” agreed with his position.
No author or date are given for the interview by TheBestSchools.org, but the comments suggest the interview was conducted in early 2016. It covers the full range of topics on climate science. It is well worth reading in full. It contains an interesting biography of Professor Happer, his estimate of climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 (1-degree C as opposed to the IPCC estimate of 3 degrees), a full and clear explanation of the benefits of more CO2 and his opinion about the so-called “consensus.”