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Plans to Defund NASA Climate Work

The Trump transition team announces a plan to strip NASA of funding for its Earth Science Division

The Earth Science Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration works on temperature, ice, clouds, and other climate phenomena; the Trump transition team wants to shift efforts to exploration of deep space. Senior Trump campaign official Bob Walker comments, “climate research is necessary but it has been heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that researchers have been doing. Mr. Trump’s decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science.” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, responds that the elimination of Earth Sciences would be “a major setback if not devastating”: “It could put us back into the ‘dark ages’ of almost the pre-satellite era… It would be extremely short sighted… We live on planet Earth and there is much to discover, and it is essential to track and monitor many things from space. Information on planet Earth and its atmosphere and oceans is essential for our way of life. Space research is a luxury, Earth observations are essential.”* These plans will play out in the 2017 NASA Transitions Authorization Act, and future Trump Administration budgets, and will face some pushbacks from Congress. **

* Oliver Milman, “Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on
‘politicized’ science,” Guardian, November 23, 2016,
**Orion Rodriguez, “Trump plans to strip NASA’s earth science division, promote mission to Mars,” inhabitat, March 22, 2017,; Scott Waldman, “Congress May Shift Climate Research Away from NASA,” reprinted from E&E News in Scientific American, February 17, 2017,;
Ethan Siegal, “Trump’s Plan To Destroy NASA Science Laid Bare In FY2020
Budget,” Forbes, May 22, 2019,

  2016  /  U.S. Policy  /  Last Updated January 6, 2021 by Jon Donnelly  /  Tags: , , , , ,