Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Trump’s Long-Delayed Pick for Science Adviser Believes in Climate Change

Politics
Kelvin Droegemeier, Trump's pick for science advisor, congratulates the new head of the National Science Foundation in 2014. National Science Foundation

A record-breaking near 19 months into his first term, President Donald Trump is finally set to name a science adviser in meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier, Science Magazine reported Tuesday.


If the Senate confirms his nomination, fellow-scientists say Droegemeier could be a much-needed voice of reason on climate change and the importance of research funding in an administration hostile to both.

"He's a very good pick," Harvard environmental policy expert and science adviser to former President Barack Obama John Holdren told Science. "He has experience speaking science to power. I expect he'll be energetic in defending the R&D budget and climate change research in particular."

Droegemeier is an expert in extreme weather events and has worked to develop the use of supercomputers in atmospheric models as part of his research career. He would be the first non-physicist to hold the position, Nature reported.

Droegemeier has also worked in policy before, serving on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, under both Obama and former President George W. Bush. He has also served as the vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma in Norman since 2009.

If confirmed, he will officially be in charge of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), where he will inherit a much-reduced staff. During the Obama years, the OSTP swelled to around 135 staffers, and was a key part of budget and policy decisions, particularly around climate, according to Science. When Trump took office, the number of staffers fell to around 35, but has climbed up to around 60 since.

Droegemeier's career suggests he could be an important advocate for science.

In an opinion piece co-written for the Des Moines Register and reported by Nature, he urged the White House and Congress to continue to fund scientific research in the 2018 budget.

"Though the benefits of short-term savings in the yearly federal budgets may be appealing, they result in insidious, long-term consequences. Due to underfunding, we risk losing an entire generation of researchers," he wrote.

Colleagues think he would also stand up for climate science specifically.

"He always has. I see no reason why he wouldn't now," Massachusetts Institute of Technology vice president for research Maria Zuber told Science.

Rosina Bierbaum, who is an environmental policy expert at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and worked with Droegemeier on climate change for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, agreed.

"I'm certain he believes in mainstream climate science," she told Nature.

However, former OSTP assistant director Kei Koizumi cautioned that Droegemeier's success isn't entirely up to him.

"Kelvin will be a good science advisor, but so much of what makes an effective science advisor depends not on the person, but on the president and the White House," Koizumi told Nature.

Under Trump, the OSTP has focused on technological development, from enabling cities and states to work with manufacturers to test drones to gathering the leaders of 34 major U.S. tech companies to discuss policy that would lead to better robots and artificial intelligence, The Washington Post reported.

As the OSTP's leader, Droegemeier might also be tasked with developing more effective cybersecurity measures, including ones designed to stop Russia from spreading false information on social media, experts told The Washington Post.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

By James Shulmeister

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

Read More Show Less
Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less