NASA’s top climate scientist urged President-elect Donald Trump to keep paying for global warming programs, but threatened to resign if Trump censored his science.
Dr. Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin), the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the Independent he and other government scientists are “not going to stand” for any funding cuts or other interference in their work.
“The point is simple: the climate is changing and you can try to deny it, you can appoint people who don’t care about it into positions of power, but regardless nature has the last vote on this,” Schmidt, told The Independent Thursday. “It’s something we’re going to have to deal with sooner or later, and it’s better sooner rather than later. We don’t have a choice if we’re going to deal with it.”
Trump has called global warming a “hoax,” “mythical,” a “con job,” “nonexistent,” and “bullshit.” Trump views policies created to fight global warming as hurting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness with China.
When The Independent asked Schmidt what he would do if Trump told him global warming was a hoax, Schmidt replied: “With respect, that’s not actually true.”
Schmidt went on to say he’d consider resigning if Trump didn’t embrace his vision of NASA as an environmental research institution or threatened to censor him.
Trump’s space policy focuses on eliminating bureaucratic waste and cutting back on environmental science research so the agency can pursue more ambitious goals, like sending humans to Mars.
NASA’s budget includes more than $2 billion for its Earth Science Mission Directorate, which works to improve climate modeling, weather prediction and natural hazard mitigation. NASA’s other functions, such as astrophysics and space technology, are only getting a mere $781.5 and $826.7 million, respectively, in the budget proposal.