White House Pushes to Place Career Climate Deniers at NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the federal agency that helps us understand climate science. It’s satellites, models, outlooks, and teams of scientists are what help us make sense of the world around us and also prepare for storms and the effects of climate change.

That’s why it was startling to learn that the White House appointed Ryan Maue to serve as NOAA’s head scientist– a meteorologist who has challenged connections between extreme weather and climate change. And as the DeSmog Blog added, Maue’s appointment follows the White House’s appointment last week of climate science denier David Legates as NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction.

It Gets Worse: The White House has been actively working to recruit known climate critics to work at NOAA.

Why This Matters: As E&E News explained, these shakeups at NOAA “symbolize a coordinated effort to reshape NOAA’s senior leadership in the dusk of President Trump’s first term. Until now, the agency has remained relatively unscathed by the president’s embrace of conspiracy theories about climate change.” This is a move to instate climate deniers into the ranks of NOAA as career scientists, where they can maximize their damage to the agency. 

The Stakes: We’ve seen after a summer of wildfires, hurricanes, and a devastating derecho, we’re entirely unprepared for the escalating effects of climate change.

And we’re seeing new types of weather that we don’t yet understand, like “zombie storms” that suddenly pick up speed and destructive power after seemingly losing energy.

As it related to wildfires, we need more robust technology to help predict where fires might erupt. Just as we have a National Weather Service, we need a National Climate Service to better forecast and prepare the American people for climate disasters. However, if climate deniers are allowed to become career scientists at NOAA, it will hamper the ability of the agency to best serve the public.

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