Notes from the Kakistocracy: Trump puts climate deniers in charge at NOAA


Because real science is a pain in the ass, or something:

Mr. McLean had sent some of the new political appointees a message that asked them to acknowledge the agency’s scientific integrity policy, which prohibits manipulating research or presenting ideologically driven findings. The request prompted a sharp response from Dr. Noble. “Respectfully, by what authority are you sending this to me?” he wrote, according to a person who received a copy of the exchange after it was circulated within NOAA.

Replacing Mr. McLean, who remains at the agency, was Ryan Maue, a former researcher for the libertarian Cato Institute who has criticized climate scientists for what he has called unnecessarily dire predictions.

Just so you know how bad this is, Maue worked with an even crazier dude at Cato, who believes more atmospheric carbon is a good thing:

Maue worked as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute for years until the think tank abruptly shut down its climate policy shop last year. The Cato Institute was founded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and has received millions of dollars from the Koch network, the Mercer Family Foundation, Exxon Mobil Corp. and other foundations that oppose regulations.

At Cato, Maue worked with Pat Michaels, a climate researcher who rejects mainstream scientists' concerns about rising temperatures. Michaels is now a part of the CO2 Coalition, which promotes the idea that the world benefits from burning more fossil fuels and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The CO2 Coalition? Carbon Dioxide has a fan base? Okay, not going down that crazy rabbit hole. Back to the OP, and what is at stake with these moves:

“The real issue at play is the National Climate Assessment,” said Judith Curry, a former chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology who said she has been in contact with Dr. Maue, the new chief scientist. “That’s what the powers that be are trying to influence.”

Ms. Curry and the others said that, if Mr. Trump wins re-election, further changes at NOAA would include removing longtime authors of the climate assessment and adding new ones who challenge the degree to which warming is occurring, the extent to which it is caused by human activities and the danger it poses to human health, national security and the economy.

A biased or diminished climate assessment would have wide-ranging implications.

It could be used in court to bolster the positions of fossil fuel companies being sued for climate damages. It could counter congressional efforts to reduce carbon emissions. And, it ultimately could weaken what is known as the “endangerment finding,” a 2009 scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that said greenhouse gases endanger public health and thus obliged the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Other changes could include shifting NOAA funding 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 do little to reduce carbon dioxide pollution.

Dr. Noble, the new chief of staff, has already pushed to install a new layer of scrutiny on grants that NOAA awards for climate research, according to people familiar with those discussions.

In order to repair the damage done by Trump's Kakistocracy, Joe Biden is going to need the most capable transition team ever put together. Not just loyal party folks who "know a little bit" about these agencies and their missions; he needs extremely qualified people to even begin the process of putting science back at the top. And that work should have already begun, because January 20th is right around the corner.