Trump Administration Fires Key Federal Climate Change Advisory Board

Par for the course, as usual. Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

You’ve probably never heard of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) before, but that’s probably because it was simply getting on with its job. Comprised of around 300 scientists and up to 60 federal advisors, it is a group tasked with working out how climate change impacts the US, now and in the future.

As study after study has shown, the environmental, health, economic and social impacts of climate change on America will be nothing short of severe, so the NCA’s mission is pretty vital. So that’s why academics and officials are up in arms over Trump’s decision to shut the NCA’s advisory board down.

These federal advisors – a mixture of academics, local officials, and industry execs – are there specifically to disseminate the complex scientific results that the NCA produce every four years. They are there to communicate the science to politicians and private-sector chiefs as clearly as possible in order to help point their decision-making in the right direction.

As reported by the Washington Post, the Trump administration decided to let the charter guiding the advisory committee naturally expire without renewal, which it did this past Sunday.

Importantly, the next NCA report, due in 2018, will still be completed on time. There is just no one left attached to the NCA that can explain it to administration officials and other agencies.

It’s a petty decision by an administration that, for the sake of pleasing the base and keeping certain donors happy, is perfectly happy to bury its head in the sand while the rest of the world moves on.

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There’s no two ways about it: the Trump administration is engaging in an all-out war on science. Giant funding cuts loom, and scientists themselves are getting bullied, censored or fired at a breakneck pace from major federal agencies.

Not too long ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed pretty much all of the scientists sitting on its own advisory panel. At the same time, Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s head, is planning to televise a showdown between climate scientists and climate deniers – something which will only exacerbate the erroneous notion that the science isn’t “settled”.

Others academics in the Department of Energy – headed by climate denier Rick Perry – and in the Department of the Interior are getting “reassigned” to mere accounting positions, in the hope that they quit out of frustration.

It is completely unsurprising then that scientists are running for Congress themselves. We’d suggest that if you don’t want the Trump administration to trash America’s scientific legacy, you should vote for pro-science lawmakers whenever you get the chance.

Are you a federal scientist that is concerned about the treatment of academics and science today? If so, get in touch with me here.

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