Trump’s Attacks on Climate Science Are Coming to Fruition
A long-gestating idea to limit the use of climate modeling at the US Geological Survey is about to be realized.
“IF YOU VOTE for Biden, he’ll listen to the scientists,” Donald Trump told a crowd of thousands at a recent campaign rally in Carson City, Nevada. The current president, on the other hand, has routinely taken pride in dismissing the recommendations of federal scientists, whether on the handling of the pandemic or the risks of climate change. On both topics, his contention is the same: that the sorts of policies they might recommend—from measures to control the spread of Covid to participation in international climate accords—would only hamper economic growth. “If I listened to scientists,” Trump said at the rally, “we’d have a country in a massive depression instead of—we’re like a rocket ship.”
Now, in the final days of his first term, there are signs that the administration’s disregard for scientific expertise may be morphing into outright meddling. On climate change, in particular, the White House seems to be taking increasingly aggressive steps to undermine government research as Election Day draws near. Last month, the acting chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was removed from his position after asking political appointees to acknowledge the agency’s scientific integrity policy, according to The New York Times. That news comes in the context of a recent, broader effort to fill out top positions at NOAA, the government’s leading climate research agency, with hard-line climate skeptics. And just last week, WIRED learned that a Trump appointee’s long-standing plan to distort the use of climate models at the US Geological Survey may at last be coming to fruition.
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