Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has “warned” President-elect Donald Trump not to interfere with their climate activities. Schmidt maintains the GISS global temperature series, arguably the most adjusted of all the global temperature products.
‘Global warming doesn’t care about the election’: Nasa scientist warns Donald Trump over interference
Senior Nasa scientist suggests he could resign if Donald Trump tries to skew climate change research results.
A senior Nasa scientist has told Donald Trump he is wrong if he thinks climate change is not happening and warned the President-elect that government scientists are “not going to stand” for any interference with their work.
Mr Trump has described global warming as a “hoax” perpetrated by China, vowed to unratify the landmark Paris Agreement and appointed a renowned climate-change denier to a senior environmental position in his transition team.
The science community and environmental campaigners in the US have already begun efforts to persuade Mr Trump that climate change is actually real before he takes office next year.
Dr Gavin Schmidt, the director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, signalled they would have allies among the federal science agencies.
In an interview with The Independent, Dr Schmidt, who was born in London, said: “The point is simple: the climate is changing and you can try to deny it, you can appoint people who don’t care about it into positions of power, but regardless nature has the last vote on this.
Asked if he would resign if the Trump administration adopted the most extreme form of climate change denial, Dr Schmidt said this was “an interesting question”. It would not cause him to quit “in and of itself”, he said.
“Government science and things generally go on regardless of the political views of the people at the top,” Dr Schmidt said. “The issue would be if you were being asked to skew your results in any way or asked not to talk about your results. Those would be much more serious issues.”
But he added: “Trump is obviously unique. It’s not just the same as Bush again.”
President-elect Donald Trump has already stated that he intends to refocus NASA on its original mission of space exploration.
“I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistics agency for low Earth orbit activity… Instead we will refocus its mission on space exploration.”
The needless duplication of climate work between multiple federal agencies has been noted before – in 2015, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, introduced a bill calling on NASA to spend more of their time and effort exploring space.