Trump appoints NOAA climate skeptic to panel selecting National Medal of Science winners

Trump appoints NOAA climate skeptic to panel selecting National Medal of Science winners
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The White House is appointing David Legates, a top administration official with a history of questioning humans’ influence on global warming, to the committee responsible for selecting the National Medal of Science winners.

Legates joined the administration in September and now serves as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction.

Previously an academic at the University of Delaware, Legates has a long history of questioning humans’ influence on global warming. 

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“Seems to be a travesty to me,” said Andrew Rosenberg with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Why have someone so far out of mainstream science deciding on those deserving of such an honor that should go to those that make major contributions to the science he derides,” he added.  

The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Legates’s appointment to the committee is one of the first actions the Trump administration during the president's term with regard to the award. The administration has not conferred any National Medals of Science since President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE trump took office. 

The award traditionally goes to top scientists who have made important contributions in their field.

Legates's appointment will extend into the Biden administration. National Medal of Science winners are selected by a 12-member presidential committee, who serve two-year terms.

In Senate testimony in 2014, he argued that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was wrong in its assertion the humans are a main driver behind climate change.

He is also a regular writer for the Heartland Institute, which describes its climate work as “debunking the alarmist climate propaganda.” His most recent contribution to the institute's website was in April of this year.