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Physicist William Happer arrives in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, NY on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of the Trump administration's fiercest climate skeptics William Happer is leaving his position on the White House National Security Council on Friday, according to E&E News.

Why it matters: Happer's resignation comes after he failed to encourage the White House to challenge the government's official description of climate change as a national security threat. He was one of the White House's strongest voices against climate science, per E&E News.

Context: Happer joined the staff of Trump's National Security Council in the fall of 2018, earning widespread criticism from House Democrats.

  • Happer is not a formal climate scientist, but he is a physicist at Princeton University.
  • He has made claims that are unsupported by science, including that the earth is in a carbon dioxide "drought" and that burning more fossil fuels will make the planet more habitable to humans.

The big picture, via Axios' Amy Harder: Happer's efforts, had he succeeded, would have represented the most aggressive, full-frontal attack on climate science coming out of the White House, but his resignation doesn't change the basic thrust of Trump's position.

  • The president has aggressively dismissed and mocked climate change, while his administration has wiped websites of its mention and repealed regulations addressing it. None of that will change with Happer gone.

Go deeper: Trump administration voids requirements phasing out inefficient lightbulbs

Go deeper

33 mins ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.