President Trump has disbanded the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. The charter for the group expired on August 20, and on August 18, its chair was informed that the administration did not intend to renew it.
The 15 person committee was responsible for helping officials implement new policy based on the findings of the quadrennial National Climate Assessment. The decision does little to assuage concerns that the Trump administration is turning a blind eye to the threat of climate change.
Former Vice President Al Gore commented on the President’s stance on environmental issues earlier this month, describing his policies as “reckless and indefensible.” Now, a host of scientists are weighing in on the decision to disband the committee.
“It doesn’t seem to be the best course of action,” said Richard Moss, the chair of the committee and an adjunct professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences. “We’re going to be running huge risks here and possibly end up hurting the next generation’s economic prospects.”
“Shutting down two-way communication between people and scientists is a recipe for disaster,” said Kim Knowlton, a senior climate scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and a member of the committee. “We were all volunteers from all professional walks of life and it was an honor to serve. I can’t think of many things more important than keeping people more informed about climate change’s impacts.”
“We found this committee a very effective way of communicating with the climate and weather community,” said Richard Wright, who served on a separate climate panel set up by the American Society of Civil Engineers. “It would be a pity not to have it.”