Guest essay by Eric Worrall
An ex-employee claims “fear and anxiety” of President Trump is causing a drop in NASA climate posts. But some of the activities which were allegedly cancelled give us a glimpse of just how far off mission NASA drifted under the previous President.
Nasa full of ‘fear and anxiety’ since Trump took office, ex-employee says
Oliver Milman in New York
Wed 30 May 2018 15.00 AEST
Those still at the agency fear climate science funding will be cut since it is now considered a ‘sensitive subject’
Nasa’s output of climate change information aimed at the public has dwindled under the Trump administration, with a former employee claiming “fear and anxiety” within the agency has led to an online retreat from the issue.
Laura Tenenbaum, a former science communicator for Nasa, said she was warned off using the term “global warming” on social media and restricted in speaking to the media due to her focus on climate change.
“Nasa’s talking point is that it’s business as usual, but that’s not true,” said Tenenbaum, who departed Nasa in October after a decade at the space agency.
“They have stopped promoting or emphasizing climate science communication, they have minimized it. People inside the agency are concerned Trump will cut climate science funding. There is a fear and anxiety there and the outcome has been chaos.”
Planned blogposts on coal plants being turned into solar plants, “reasons to be positive about Nasa” and an interview with Gavin Schmidt, a senior Nasa climate scientist, were all either halted or scrapped due to interference from career staff nervous about provoking the new administration, according to Tenenbaum.
In my opinion the alleged NASA plans to celebrate the demise of coal jobs are evidence of severe mission drift under the previous administration.
There is only one role NASA should have considered playing in the economically vital US coal industry – an Earth Science role, helping miners locate new coal deposits.