“The real issue at stake is the national climate assessment,” said Judith Curry, former president of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who said she had been in contact with Dr. Maue, the new chief scientist. “This is what the powers that be are trying to influence.”
Besides Dr Curry, the strategy was described by Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former member of Mr Trump’s transition team, and John Christy, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
According to E&E News, Dr Christy, a critic of past national climate assessments, said he was invited by the White House this summer to take a leadership position at NOAA, but declined the offer. He said he understood the role was to change the agency’s approach to climate assessment.
Ms Curry and the others have said if Mr Trump wins re-election, further changes to NOAA will include removing long-time climate assessment authors and adding new authors who question the degree warming, the extent to which it is caused by human activities and the danger they pose to human health, national security and the economy.
A biased or diminished climate assessment would have far-reaching implications.
It could be used in court to strengthen the positions of fossil fuel companies sued for climate damage. It could thwart efforts by Congress to reduce carbon emissions. And, ultimately, it could weaken what’s known as the “finding of endangerment,” a 2009 Environmental Protection Agency scientific finding that greenhouse gases endanger health. public and thus force the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Other changes in the work could include shifting funding from NOAA to researchers who reject the established scientific consensus on climate change and eliminating the use of certain scientific models that project dire consequences for the planet if countries are doing little to reduce carbon dioxide pollution.
Dr. Noble, the new chief of staff, has already pushed for a new layer of control over the grants NOAA awards for climate research, according to people familiar with the discussions.