[A lesson learned from the Stephen Harper playbook: if the evidence is
inconvenient, stop collecting it. Then, destroy what was collected
previously (or 'revise' it. 1984
links and images in on-line article]
Oliver Milman in New York
Wednesday 23 November 2016
Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’
Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the
president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep
Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research
conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his
senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.
Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor
of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal
during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the
This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into
temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of
satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the
Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2bn next year. By
comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a
proposed budget of $2.8bn in 2017.
Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for
Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct
“We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker
told the Guardian. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other
agencies where it is their prime mission.
“My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing Nasa
programs but future programs should definitely be placed with other
agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary but it has been
heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that
researchers have been doing. Mr Trump’s decisions will be based upon
solid science, not politicized science.”
Trump has previously said that climate change is a “hoax” perpetrated by
the Chinese, although on Tuesday he said there is “some connectivity”
between human actions and the climate. There is overwhelming and
long-established evidence that burning fossil fuels and deforestation
causes the release of heat-trapping gases, therefore causing the warming
experienced in recent decades.
Walker, however, claimed that doubt over the role of human activity in
climate change “is a view shared by half the climatologists in the
world. We need good science to tell us what the reality is and science
could do that if politicians didn’t interfere with it.”
It’s understood that federal government scientists have been unnerved by
Trump’s dismissal of climate science and are concerned that their work
will be sidelined as part of a new pro-fossil fuels and deregulation
agenda. Climate scientists at other organizations expressed dismay at
the potential gutting of Earth-based research.
Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric
Research, said as Nasa provides the scientific community with new
instruments and techniques, the elimination of Earth sciences would be
“a major setback if not devastating”.
“It could put us back into the ‘dark ages’ of almost the pre-satellite
era,” he said. “It would be extremely short sighted.
“We live on planet Earth and there is much to discover, and it is
essential to track and monitor many things from space. Information on
planet Earth and its atmosphere and oceans is essential for our way of
life. Space research is a luxury, Earth observations are essential.”
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, said Nasa
has a “critical and unique role” in observing Earth and climate change.
“Without the support of Nasa, not only the US but the entire world would
be taking a hard hit when it comes to understanding the behavior of our
climate and the threats posed by human-caused climate change,” he said.
“It would be a blatantly political move, and would indicate the
president-elect’s willingness to pander to the very same lobbyists and
corporate interest groups he derided throughout the campaign.”
Nasa has appointed two officials, Tom Cremins and Jolene Meidinger, to
lead the transition to the new Trump administration. However, the
president-elect’s team has yet to formally review the space agency.
“The Nasa community is committed to doing whatever we can to assist in
making the executive branch transition a smooth one,” a Nasa spokesman
said. “The agency remains focused on the future, a future that will
improve our understanding of our changing home planet from Nasa’s unique
platforms in space.”
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