For unknown reasons, Trump got rid of the top scientist in charge of the Global Change Research Program. That director of the program was Michael Kuperberg. The ex-president abruptly shipped the entire Agriculture research wing from Washington D.C. to Kansas City, and as a result, hundreds of jobs have gone unfilled, The Kansas City Star reported. Donald Trump even had the words “climate change” deleted from all government documents.
Fortunately, President Joe Biden brought him back to the program that has been responsible for the last word on climate change. Kuperberg ran the program for six years. The president just added eight billion dollars to the Hurricane Sandy’s damage fund, The Scientific American reported.
So, his commitment to climate change has been highly visible. President Biden also went to Detroit on Tuesday and put his foot to the medal in an electrically powered pickup. He got it up to 80 m.p.h. within seconds. The vehicle he drove was also a mobile generator.
Kuperberg’s job used to be and is now to coordinate 13 federal agencies’ climate change research activities. In addition, he puts out the National Climate Assessment. This has been America’s most important report on climate change. Kuperberg said, according to The Washington Post:
‘I’m really excited to be back. I think [the program] is a critical component for advancing the climate agenda of this administration. We have an opportunity to put that science to work in informing decisions on our response to climate change.’
Trump placed the brilliant scientist in exile, moving him to the Energy Department last November. But the scientist knew that possibility came with the job:
‘It’s their prerogative to make those kinds of changes. We’re coordinating science and we’re trying to get to the nation the very best possible science. This is not politics.’
The research program’s overseer and lead climate official at the White House, Jane Lubchenco thought highly of Kuperberg’s comment:
‘Dr. Kuperberg has earned the trust of the science community and policymakers regardless of party stripes.’
She also urged him to:
‘[A]ccelerate action on two fronts — advancing science to increase our knowledge, especially on societally relevant topics, and ensuring that knowledge is understandable, accessible and usable to the key stakeholders.’
‘We are at a critical juncture. Smart action, informed by science, is paramount. The role of [the program] has never been more important.’
Kuperberg has been tasked with the challenge of producing the fifth edition of the National Climate Assessment. His deadline was set for late 2023. He already lost over six months to Trump’s pique. But he said work on the project did not halt in his absence and is certain it will be completed on time:
‘We’re not starting from zero. We’re going to put out a document that we can stand behind and be proud of.’
Indeed, he wanted the program to be user-friendly to everyone no matter their interest. He even incorporated customizable data:
‘Everybody from farmers, transportation managers, energy producers and citizens in small and large cities will face challenges from climate change. We want to put information in their hands to respond to those challenges.’
Kuperberg indicated that the next report should not start from ground zero but rather built on previous findings. The assessment used to be committed to thick volumes, but now they grace silk-stocking multimedia websites. As he said he envisioned it, the fifth edition would be a “dynamic resource.”
Director of the Climate Center at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and person in charge of the fourth edition of the climate assessment, Dave Reidmiller, sent the Washington Post an email:
‘Mike is a humble leader, respected by his agency peers; you’d be hard-pressed to identify a civil servant more prepared to steward [the program] in this time. He not only has the knowledge of how to get things done through the interagency process, but also a keen understanding of the research needed to underpin aggressive, equitable climate solutions.’
Featured image screenshot via YouTube.
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