- Michael Kuperberg was booted from one of the most influential roles informing US climate policy.
- He oversaw the US Global Change Research Program, which produces the National Climate Assessment, according to The Washington Post.
- Kuperberg has held the role since 2015 and produced the National Climate Assessment in 2018. Kuperberg was seen as a federal employee who stayed committed to science-based, nonpartisan climate change research, and after releasing the NCA report in 2018, drew Trump’s disagreement with its findings.
- Kuperberg was expected to stay in the post until 2023 and may be replaced by more climate-skeptic personnel.
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The Trump administration removed the head of the US Global Change Research Program, which produces the National Climate Assessment, according to The Washington Post.
The National Climate Assessment, a study seen as one of the foremost guiding documents on climate change and US climate policy. Several outlets reached out to Kuperberg and were met with an automatic reply indicating his last day in the role was on November 6.
Kuperberg, a climate scientist who had been in the role since July 2015, was moved back to the Department of Energy and was replaced by Betsy Weatherhead from the US geological survey in the interim. The news follows the US’ official departure from the Paris Accords, an act President-elect Joe Biden has signaled he would rectify.
Kuperberg was expected to stay in the post until 2023, and help produced the fifth edition of the NCA.
The agency he helmed works with 13 government agencies to source its contributions and data for the assessment.
Throughout Trump’s presidency, many worried about the politicization of the USGCPR, but Kuperberg and the agency were praised in 2018 for issuing a report that honestly looked at the ramifications of climate change.
The dismissal of Kuperberg follows the firing of other federal employees, including Mark Esper and former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission head Neil Chaterjee.
Kuperberg’s removal comes months after the appointment of David Legates to a high-ranking, newly created role, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Legates, the former Delaware state climatologist, resigned from that position under pressure in 2011 after pushing fossil-fuel funded climate research. Legates views on climate change mirror the Trump administration, doubting the reality of human-made climate change and arguing that the wildfires that gripped the West Coast in 2020 were mainly the result of forest mismanagement.