NASA’s top climate scientist urged President-elect Donald Trump to keep paying for global warming programs, but threatened to resign if Trump censored his science.
Dr. Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the Independent he and other government scientists are “not going to stand” for any funding cuts or other interference in their work.
“The point is simple: the climate is changing and you can try to deny it, you can appoint people who don’t care about it into positions of power, but regardless nature has the last vote on this,” Schmidt, told The Independent Thursday. “It’s something we’re going to have to deal with sooner or later, and it’s better sooner rather than later. We don’t have a choice if we’re going to deal with it.”
Trump has called global warming a “hoax,” “mythical,” a “con job,” “nonexistent,” and “bullshit.” Trump views policies created to fight global warming as hurting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness with China.
When The Independent asked Schmidt what he would do if Trump told him global warming was a hoax, Schmidt replied: “With respect, that’s not actually true.”
Schmidt went on to say he’d consider resigning if Trump didn’t embrace his vision of NASA as an environmental research institution or threatened to censor him.
Trump’s space policy focuses on eliminating bureaucratic waste and cutting back on environmental science research so the agency can pursue more ambitious goals, like sending humans to Mars.
NASA’s budget includes more than $2 billion for its Earth Science Mission Directorate, which works to improve climate modeling, weather prediction and natural hazard mitigation. NASA’s other functions, such as astrophysics and space technology, are only getting a mere $781.5 and $826.7 million, respectively, in the budget proposal.
Spending on the directorate has increased by 63 percent over the last eight years, making it the largest and fastest growing budget of any NASA science program. Over the same time period, the general NASA budget grew only by 10.6 percent — just enough to account for inflation. The Directorate’s goal is to help NASA “meet the challenges of climate and environmental change.” The organization is also responsible for global warming models proven to be inaccurate when checked against actual temperature observations.
Industry analysts suspect that Trump will likely modestly increase NASA’s overall budget while slashing many of the environmental science programs originally instituted by President Barack Obama.
The top scientific question Schmidt claimed that NASA wants to answer in its budget justification is “How are Earth’s climate and the environment changing?” The more typical space questions, such as “Are we alone?” and “How does the universe work?,” were at the very bottom of the list.
Even global warming alarmist Bill Nye the “Science Guy,” who’s also the CEO of the Planetary Society, has criticized Obama’s attempts to cut NASA’s space exploration and planetary science programs in favor of global warming. NASA’s planetary science program has previously held car washes and bake sales to gain political support to maintain funding.
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