[Vision2020] NASA GISS Director Gavin Schmidt on Trump Defunding Climate Science

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Thu Dec 1 21:44:43 PST 2016

Article mentioned in subject heading below my comment.

Complaints about the cumbersome bloated hard to change federal government
bureaucracy are ubiquitous, but there's an upside... It's not easy to make
sweeping destructive changes to such a system, such as the suggested Trump
administration defunding of NASA climate science, or Earth Science as NASA
itself describes it: https://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/  It's hard to
totally separate science aimed at weather disaster preparedness, something
even global warming denialists need, from climate science that is more
focused on anthropogenic global warming.


Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett

A NASA scientist told us why he’s surprisingly optimistic about one area of
science under the Trump administration

   - Rafi Letzter <http://www.businessinsider.com/author/rafi-letzter>

   - Nov. 22, 2016, 10:31 AM

Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist and director of NASA's Goddard Institute
for Space Studies, which studies the changing atmosphere, says that it
won't be simple for Trump to purge federal agencies of climate researchers
during his presidency.

"Chopping off science just to prevent people from talking about climate
change won't work," Schmidt told Business Insider. "You need science for
hazards, for weather forecasting, and climate comes along for the ride."

President-elect Donald Trump's stated views on climate change have ranged
from the absurd — that it's a Chinese hoax
— to the doubtful — "There is still much that needs to be investigated
His statements, including his pledge to roll back programs designed to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions
in the US and his selection of someone who says he does not believe in
climate change to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's transition
suggest he could reject policies designed to control pollution and curb
global warming.

"I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't some level of concern," Schmidt
said. "But the federal government is a very, very large place. And the
number of appointees is very small."

"I don't think one should be complacent," he added. "I think people are
going around going 'Oh yeah it's just the same as the last time and it will
be fine, it will be fine, it will be fine.' I'm finding it hard to muster
that kind of optimism."

But still, the sheer scale of science at the federal level makes it hard
for a new presidential administration to radically alter its course.

"When I first started working for the federal government I got frustrated,"
Schmidt said, "like why are we stuck in this pattern? Why are decisions
that are made so difficult to reverse? Why is it so hard to shift anything?
And it's hard because there's a lot of people and there's a lot of moving
parts and there's a huge amount of money. But now I'm thinking, 'Oh, you
know what, it's a good thing that that things can't be changed on a dime.'"

Schmidt added that the work he and his fellow researchers are doing has
faced considerable challenges under previous administrations as well. But
that didn't stop them from continuing to do the research.

"During the [George W.] Bush administration we had climate skeptics
rewriting reports and trying to control what's said to the media," he said.
"But the planet kept warning. We kept reporting on it. We kept improving
the science that underlies our understanding of why it's changing. And we
will work to continue to do so."

If there *was* a campaign to censor or publish bad climate science under
Trump, Schmidt said that outside researchers would notice.

"All of these things are peer reviewed up the wazoo," he said.

And to the degree that there's been information about Trump's plans for
NASA, Schmidt said it doesn't worry him too much.

"The NASA appointee from what I can tell is going to be somebody who's
going to be very focused on Mars or human spaceflight, and I don't think
that's terrible," he said.

In the end, the exact fate of climate research under Trump is still
impossible to predict.

"President Obama said that he hopes their policies will be 'thought
through,'" Schmidt said. "I think that's something to hope for, though
whether I would put money on it myself is a slightly different question."

On Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 9:09 PM, Ron Force <ronforce at gmail.com> wrote:

> Won't need to worry anymore when Trump eliminates NASA's "politicised
> science"
> https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/nasa-
> earth-donald-trump-eliminate-climate-change-research?
> On Nov 24, 2016 11:47 AM, "Ted Moffett" <starbliss at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The National Snow & Ice Data Center graph pasted in below of Arctic sea
>> ice extent reveals what the Guardian article 11-22-16 discusses lower
>> down.  For this time of year, the ice is at a record low.  Also, the first
>> website below shows Arctic sea ice decline from 1979-2016:
>> ---------------------------------------
>> Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
>> http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2016/11/Figure3-1.png
>> ----------------------------------------
>> https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/extraord
>> inarily-hot-arctic-temperatures-alarm-scientists
>> Tue. 11-22-16
>> Extraordinarily hot' Arctic temperatures alarm scientists
>> Danish and US researchers say warmer air and sea surface could lead to
>> record lows of sea ice at north pole next year
>> The Arctic <https://www.theguardian.com/world/arctic> is experiencing
>> extraordinarily hot sea surface and air temperatures, which are stopping
>> ice forming and could lead to record lows of sea ice at the north pole next
>> year, according to scientists.
>> Danish and US researchers monitoring satellites and Arctic weather
>> stations are surprised and alarmed by air temperatures peaking at what they
>> say is an unheard-of 20C higher than normal for the time of year. In
>> addition, sea temperatures averaging nearly 4C higher than usual in October
>> and November.
>> “It’s been about 20C warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean,
>> along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central
>> Asia. This is unprecedented for November,” said research professor Jennifer
>> Francis of Rutgers university.
>> Temperatures have been only a few degrees above freezing when -25C should
>> be expected, according to Francis. “These temperatures are literally off
>> the charts for where they should be at this time of year. It is pretty
>> shocking. The Arctic has been breaking records all year. It is exciting but
>> also scary,” she said.
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