White House reinstates climate adviser removed by Trump

The White House has reinstated a top adviser overseeing the government’s reports on climate change after the official was removed from the position under former President Trump last year.

Officials announced on Wednesday that Michael Kuperberg had returned to the position of executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, six months after he was reassigned during the previous administration. Officials stressed the need for nonpartisan leadership in charge of climate assessments and for science to be in the driver’s seat.

“We face urgent climate threats, but we have the knowledge needed to take bold action to combat them,” Kuperberg said in a statement. “As a scientist, it’s been my honor to serve the American people under Democratic and Republican administrations to help deliver science to inform solutions.”

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have committed to providing the muscle we need to mitigate the causes and impacts of climate change, and I look forward to continuing to serve this nation by helping USGCRP deliver non-partisan, science-based results to guide those actions,” he continued.

Jane Lubchenco, deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that it is important that scientific leadership “transcends politics” and commended Kuperberg for having “earned the trust of the science community and policymakers regardless of party stripes.”

The White House’s decision to reinstall Kuperberg, who has served in the federal government for 18 years, was first reported by The Washington Post.

Reprising his role, Kuperberg will be responsible for overseeing the government’s National Climate Assessment, which relies on opinions from government and independent scientists. The fourth edition of the report, issued in 2018, included dire warnings about the threat of climate change if the U.S. didn’t do enough to curb emissions and reportedly angered the Trump White House. The former president often dismissed the threat of climate change.

Kuperberg was removed from the position in November after the presidential election. He was reassigned to the Department of Energy and replaced with officials who previously questioned climate science, a move that sparked criticism from Democrats.

The Fifth National Climate Assessment is due in 2022, though it’s not expected to be finished until 2023. 

Rachel Frazin contributed to this report, which was updated at 9:41 a.m.

Tags climate science Donald Trump Joe Biden Michael Kuperberg U.S. Global Change Research Program
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