The position, pushed forward by the White House pending completion of ethics and security reviews and not requiring Senate confirmation, would put Maue in a leadership position within the agency. As chief scientist, Maue would be tasked with helping establish its oceans and atmosphere research priorities, as well as playing a role in enforcing its scientific integrity policy.
The White House and NOAA declined to comment, and the Commerce Department, which oversees the NOAA, did not respond to a request for comment.
The NOAA scientific integrity policy is meant to prevent political influence from interfering with its scientific work, as well as the communication of NOAA scientists’ findings. The current acting chief scientist, Craig McLean, initiated an investigation into actions by NOAA leadership during the controversy surrounding the agency’s support for President Trump’s inaccurate claims regarding the path of Hurricane Dorian.
Maue serves as the developer of weathermodels.com, a site that displays computer model information using eye-catching graphics to make their simulations accessible to professionals and hobbyists. He was previously an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that was involved in efforts to question the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.
Along with Patrick Michaels, a well-known climate change contrarian, Maue penned a 2018 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal challenging the climate change projections made in 1988 by noted former NASA scientist James Hansen, which other researchers, backed up by peer-reviewed studies, have found were prescient.
He has harshly criticized climate activists and Democrats for pushing for cuts in fossil fuel emissions by linking extreme weather events to global warming, but he does not dispute the fact that human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are warming the planet in ways that are causing significant impacts. He has also spoken out against scientists who link rapid Arctic climate change to weather extremes taking place outside the Arctic.
In recent months, he has been harshly critical of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and his linking of the state’s deadly wildfire season to climate change. Climate studies show global warming is amplifying wildfire risks, making blazes more intense and frequent than they were a few decades ago.