NOAA Disbands Climate Assessment Advisory Committee

Published September 7, 2017

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has shut down an Obama-era advisory committee dominated by liberal environmental activists.

The federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate assessment was formed in 2015 by the Obama administration, ostensibly to help the business community, state and local public officials, and the general public understand the National Climate Assessment, a U.S. government multiagency periodic assessment of climate science and policy recommendations required by the Global Change Research Act of 1990. The committee is not mandated under the law establishing the National Climate Assessment.

An August 18 e-mail from Benjamin Friedman, acting director of NOAA, informed members the committee would not be continued when its charter expired on August 20.

The 15 member committee included people from environmental activist groups, public officials, lawyers, sociologists, corporate representatives, and a few scientists from various fields. The committee’s chairman, Richard Moss, has a doctorate from Princeton in public and international affairs and previously served as vice president and managing director for climate change at the World Wildlife Fund activist group.

Keeping Climate Commitments

The decision to end the Advisory Committee is just the latest in a consistent pattern President Donald Trump has followed in reversing climate policies enacted by the Obama administration.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said the United States faced many more important problems than climate change, and he pledged to roll back any climate policies hampering economic growth and domestic energy development.

Since Trump became president, his administration has removed scores of climate-related executive orders and regulations, and EPA decided not to renew the appointments of dozens of scientists on various scientific advisory panels. Trump’s biggest move in reversing Obama’s climate policies came on June 1, when he withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement under which Obama had committed the United States to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Stacked Committee?

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance, says the Climate Committee lacked a balance of scientific views and was formed largely to promote President Barack Obama’s climate policies.

“The committee’s members weren’t appointed until a year ago by the Obama administration,” said Beisner. “To nobody’s surprise, the committee lacked representation from those who think the empirical evidence points to human actions contributing little to global warming and that attempting to reduce it would slow the conquest of poverty around the world.

“Trump’s decision is in keeping with his determination to bring better balance to federal consideration of such issues,” Beisner said.

Paul Driessen, a senior policy analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, says the Trump administration’s cancellation of the Advisory Committee shows the president is putting sound science above politically motivated advocacy.

“Like so many other ‘scientific advisory’ committees during the Obama years, this one was populated with ‘experts’ who could be counted on to put aside their professional analytical abilities and obligations and simply rubberstamp politicized thinking on supposedly dangerous manmade climate change,” Driessen said. “Its entire focus was on greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, the plant-fertilizing miracle molecule that makes life on Earth possible.

 “The members rarely acknowledged the role fluctuations in solar energy output, cosmic rays, ocean currents, atmospheric water vapor levels, and other powerful natural forces play in climate change,” said Driessen. “By disbanding this politicized committee, President Trump is restoring the scientific method and evidence-based science and public policy to our understanding of the climate.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.