Trump Ejects Head of Climate Office Whose Report He Rejected
By Jennifer A Dlouhy and Ari Natter
November 9, 2020, 7:49 PM EST
Updated on November 10, 2020, 5:30 PM EST
The Trump administration abruptly removed a top official charting the U.S. government’s research on global warming, just as his agency began writing the next climate report card.
Mike Kuperberg, a Department of Energy employee who has for years led the U.S. Global Change Research Program, was notified on Friday that his assignment atop the agency had ended, according to two people familiar with the move who asked for anonymity discussing a personnel matter.
An email sent to Kuperberg’s address at the research program drew an automatic reply saying that effective Nov. 6, his detail has ended and he’s returned to the Energy Department. The shift, which was reported earlier by the Washington Post, threatens to cause tumult as the program Kuperberg headed lines up authors and the contours of the next National Climate Assessment, expected to be published in 2023.
Kuperberg is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a climate skeptic who was recently installed as a deputy assistant secretary of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. Legates didn’t respond to an email and voice mail seeking comment.
The upheaval also could foreshadow more turmoil during President Donald Trump’s final weeks in office. Last week, the administration demoted the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Neil Chatterjee, after a vote allowing electric grid operators to implement state carbon pricing plans.
“The Trump administration should undertake a hiring bonanza of skeptical climate scientists to fill positions ,” said Marc Morano, a former Republican staffer for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who runs the ClimateDepot.com website. “I expect to see the Trump administration partake in a scientific version of affirmative action hiring practices in the government for the next 10 weeks.”