As West Coast burns, NOAA welcomes climate change denial on board


A motorboat like the Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear Fire in Oroville, Calif., September 9, 2020.

A motorboat like the Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear Fire in Oroville, Calif., September 9, 2020.
Photo: Josh Edelson (Getty Images)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently hired David Legates, a climate change denier who previously argued that the sun is to blame for global warming and that increasing CO2 levels in the ocean is good because it means we bigger crabs, for a leading position at the agency. Meanwhile, millions of acres on the West Coast continue to be cremated by so-called “Climate fires”.

Yeah, I’m just as confused as you are.

Legates, professor of climatology at the University of Delaware, confirmed NPR Saturday that he had been appointed assistant undersecretary of commerce for the agency for observation and prediction. It’s not immediately clear what his specific duties would be, but this mouthful of a title implies that he will report directly to Dr Neil Jacobs, the agency’s acting head, who is responsible for assigning NOAAs. Annual federal budget of $ 5.49 billion to support its weather and climate forecasting infrastructure.

And if you weren’t yet convinced how terrible this idea is, I thought I’d list some of Legates’ biggest hits over the years:

  • While working as a state climatologist for Delaware in the late 2000s, Governor Ruth Ann Minner, sent him a letter essentially telling him to stop using his state-sanctioned podium to pitch unproven bullshit against climate science. He resigned a few years later in 2011.
  • That same year he appeared in a video for a faith-based YouTube channel to support the discredited theory that it is the sun’s natural cycles, not humans, that are fueling unprecedented temperature increases on the planet.
  • And, as I mentioned before, he argued at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2018 that the appearance of giant crabs caused by rising CO2 levels in the ocean means this global warming problem can’t be all bad, right?
G / O Media can get a commission

Legates is also a longtime affiliate of the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that has spent millions of dollars denigrating scientific evidence for climate change as untrustworthy, which, as NPR points out, includes research from the very agency it will now work for: NOAA .

“David Legates is a true climatologist and will bring a great deal of much needed scientific data to NOAA,” Steve Milloy, Heartland Institute board member and member of President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team said the exit.

Other climate science experts are significantly less enthusiastic.

“At a time when these impacts are playing out before our eyes in the form of unprecedented wildfires in the West and super-storms in the East, I can’t imagine a more ill-advised decision than to name someone. one like Legates in an executive position in an agency. who is responsible for assessing the risks we face in extreme weather events, ”said Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric sciences at Pennsylvania State University, in an interview with NPR.

As apocalyptic as it sounds right now, scientists say the world is on track for about 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) of heating, so things can get even worse – and will be without decisive and comprehensive reform.

Global carbon emissions must fall by more than 7% each year or we risk more catastrophic warming, i.e. more bizarre consecutive hurricanes, no more explosive tundras, and more unprecedented weather calamities. So the fact that the The United States, one of the world’s biggest contributors to the crisis, is hiring officials who refuse to believe that there is even a crisis to begin with, which is not really encouraging. NOAA might as well replace its logo with the Chien « This Is Fine » comical at this rate.



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