WASHINGTON – The White House has removed the scientist responsible for the national climate assessment, the federal government’s major contribution to climate knowledge and the foundation of regulations to combat global warming, which critics interpret as the latest sign that Trump Intends to use it the remaining months in office to continue climate science and policy.
Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the US Global Change Research Program that created climate change, said on Friday that he would no longer lead the organization, which is known to people with knowledge of the situation.
According to two people close to the administration, he is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups.
Joseph R. for presidential election. Following the defeat of Mr. Trump last week by Biden Jr., the removal of officers who had fallen outside the White House, Dr. Kuperberg’s departure comes amid an extensive effort. Also, on Friday, Neil Chatterjee, the head of the agency that controls the country’s utility markets, was repealed after the White House publicly endorsed the use of renewable power.
In a message to colleagues, Drs. Kupperberg said he was returning to his previous job at the Department of Energy. He was removed from the list of employees on the research program’s website on Monday.
Dr. Kuperberg did not respond to requests for comment. The Global Change Research Program reports to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Asked whether Drs. As to why Kuperberg was removed from the role, Christina Bom, spokeswoman for that office, said on Monday that “we do not comment on personnel matters.”
Dr. Kuperberg’s dismissal appears to be the latest blow to the latest climate change in the Trump administration, a report by 13 federal agencies and external scientists that the government requires legislation to produce every four years. The most recent report, in 2018, found that climate change has become one Imminent and terrible danger For the United States and its economy.
A biased or decreasing climate assessment will have broader implications.
It can be used in court to prosecute fossil fuel companies for climate damage. This could counter Congress’ efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming.
And, ultimately, it may weaken what is known as “hazard discovery”, a 2009 scientific discovery by the Environmental Protection Agency stated that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to human health and therefore Are subject to government regulation. Finding that under the terms of the Clean Air Act can be difficult to fight climate change.
The agency included in that report is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the country’s premier climate science agency. In September, the White House installed NOAA new political staffers who have questioned the science of climate change. Those familiar with the administration’s strategy said the objective was to use the influence of NOAA Reducing national climate assessment.
“They are trying to acquire all this stuff so they can control the National Climate Assessment Thinking,” said Judith Curry, former president of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. Monday.
One of the new political works was Dr. Legates, a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware and now a deputy administrator at NOAA, who has worked closely with climate denial groups for years and argued that carbon dioxide “Plant is food and is not a pollutant. “Dr. Legates is now being considered to take the position of Dr. Kuperberg as head of the Global Change Research Program, according to two people including Myron Abell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former member of Trump’s transition team .
Mr. Ibel, whose organization questioned the established science of climate change, Drs. Has supported the appointment of Legates and others, saying it is his intention to lead the program while continuing his position at NOAA. “This could be a short-term appointment,” said Mr. Ibel, looking at the election of President-elect Biden, who has said he will adopt aggressive efforts to combat climate change.
“If he only directs it for two months and a week, he may not be far away, but let’s see what can happen in two months.” Maybe the next administration will throw it out completely, but maybe some changes will be adopted, who knows, ”Mr. Ebel said.
Mark Morano, a prominent denier of established climate change science, celebrated Mr. Kuperberg’s departure, saying he hoped Mr. Legates would be named. “The Trump administration is ‘listening to science’ by removing anti-science promoters of extreme climate scenarios. These steps are long, long overdue,” he said.
Dr. Legates did not respond to a request for comment.
Federal employees, who were not identified because they were concerned about retaliation from the White House, said they worried that Drs. The administration’s goal in removing Kuperberg was to make it easier to select authors for the report, who also question the severity of climate change. Those who have publicly attacked climate science, like Mr. Ibel and Mr. Morano, said this is the goal.
While the incoming Biden administration may reverse those decisions, doing so will slow down the production of climate assessments. The next version, to be released by 2022, has already been built Pushed back to 2023.
Dr. Kuperberg’s expulsion is not the only example of the Trump administration, which could disrupt climate policy in its final months.
Mr. Chatterjee, a Republican who was demoted as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday, recently made plans for the White House. He had supported a series of proposals that would expand the use of large-scale battery storage in the power grid, thus encouraging the use of wind and solar energy, allowing electric utilities to provide coal and natural gas-generated electricity to users. Charges allow charging, which would discourage the use of those fossil fuels.
Like the findings of the national climate assessment, Mr. Chatterjee’s move was in line with Mr. Trump’s policies aimed primarily at aggressively increasing the use of coal and other fossil fuels by lowering regulations. The White House replaced Mr. Chatterjee as chairman of the panel with another member of the commission, James Danley, who has opposed efforts to promote renewable energy.
“This is 100 percent reprisal,” Mr. Chatterjee said in a telephone interview, with the White House taking the step of demoting him from its chairman. “It validates my independence and integrity. I’m going to hold my head high.
A White House spokesman, Jude Deere, said the White House would not comment on personnel matters. Mr. Chatterjee will remain on the five-member commission, and he said he intends to complete his current term, which ends in June.
Rachel Liker, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, criticized the actions of Trump administration officials. “Even in their last days, they continue to bury the enormous scientific consensus on climate change.”