White House reportedly removes official in charge of climate change report
The Trump administration has removed the official responsible for writing the federal government’s definitive report on climate change, according to a report.
Michael Kuperberg, a scientist who served as the head of the US Global Change Research Program, was told to return to his former post in the Energy Department on Friday night, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
The program was created by Congress to coordinate the climate science programs of a number of federal agencies and to “advance understanding of the changing Earth system.”
As part of its responsibilities, it compiles the National Climate Assessment, which examines the effects of climate change and projects future damage.
Kuperberg ran the office when it released the fourth edition of the assessment that predicted grave consequences if the country did not take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions – including rising sea levels, longer heat waves, and droughts.
The report, according to the Washington Post, vexed President Trump who has minimized the seriousness of climate change as a threat and removed the US from the Paris climate accord.
Kuperberg, who ran the agency since 2015, was surprised by his removal.
“He was extremely dedicated,” a former White House official told the newspaper. “He did a very good job of figuring out how to walk that political line. He had no idea it was coming.”
Betsy Weatherhead, an official with the US Geological Survey, has been tapped to lead the fifth edition of the assessment, Politico reported.
But Kuperberg’s removal also comes after the Trump White House hired David Legates, a professor at the University of Delaware, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Legates has questioned the effects of carbon dioxide on climate change and has written that “carbon dioxide is plant food and not a pollutant,” Politico reported.
Trump on Monday fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a Twitter post and replaced him with Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, as acting secretary.
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