Guest essay by Eric Worrall
President Trump’s choice is approved by both Katharine Hayhoe and Roger Pielke Jr.
Can Trump’s new science adviser convince him that climate change is real?
By Brandon Miller, CNN
Updated 2030 GMT (0430 HKT) January 3, 2019
(CNN) In the eleventh hour of the outgoing Congress’ term, the Senate confirmed one of President Trump’s nominees that could have a profound impact on the future of our planet.
Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist and former University of Oklahoma professor, was confirmed to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday– a role commonly referred to as “science adviser” and the top scientific office in the country.
The position has sat vacant since Trump’s presidency began nearly two years ago.
“It is encouraging to see that this position is finally filled, and by someone with solid scientific credentials and extensive experience in connecting cutting-edge science to policy decisions,” according to Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist with Texas Tech University.
Trump has a history of dismissing his own experts, whether they be top intelligence reports or senior military officials, so many are skeptical that Droegemeier will have much influence over Trump’s view on climate.
“No one should expect that he will be advising this president on any meaningful manner,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado who studies the intersection of science and politics and who has published on the history of US science advisers. Pielke has worked with Droegemeier and known him for more than 20 years.
“This president does not appear to seek advice,” Pielke said, adding that the primary function of the science adviser has historically been to coordinate budgets and support science and technology programs that cross agency boundaries.
“Science advisers have historically had little, if any, impact on major policies,” Pielke said. “This goes for John Holdren under Obama and all others before him.”
Update (EW): Fixed misspelling of Katharine Hayhoe’s name