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Climate science contrarian installed in upper-level NOAA position

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Commerce for Environmental Observation
University of Delaware
the White House
The Washington Post
the University of Delaware
State Climatologist
the Heartland Institute
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—
Nongovernmental International Panel
Legates co-
the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot
the Ars Orbital Transmission
CNMN Collection WIRED Media Group
Condé Nast

Scott K. Johnson
Sep 16

David Legates
Neil Jacobs
Wilbur Ross

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the United States

Hurricane Dorian

Positivity     36.00%   
   Negativity   64.00%
The New York Times
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When Ars visited a Heartland conference in 2015, Legates was there, presenting a talk that waved away trends in US rainfall extremes as an artifact of measurement changes.Legates was also a lead author of a 2018 Heartland “Climate Change Reconsidered” report, which adopts the format and trappings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—even calling its coterie of bloggers the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change”—but presents long-debunked nonsense.For example, the report’s summary concludes, “There is no compelling scientific evidence of long-term trends in global mean temperatures or climate impacts that exceed the bounds of natural variability.” It cannot be overstated how demonstrably false that is.In April, Legates co-authored a blog post on the Heartland Institute website about COVID-19 models that linked to a conspiratorial post about “inflated” death numbers.“It is vital that they recheck the models and assumptions—” the post reads, “and distinguish between COVID-19 deaths actually due to the virus... These views are certainly relevant given the “Environmental Observation and Prediction” in Legates’ NOAA job title.Legates also contributed to a 2019 Heartland brief on sea level that falsely stated:Contrary to the IPCC’s statement that it is “very likely” sea-level rise is accelerating, Burton (2018) reports the highest quality coastal tide gauges from around the world show no evidence of acceleration since the 1920s or before, and therefore no evidence of being affected by rising atmospheric CO2 levels.(That Burton citation is not a peer-reviewed study, by the way, but simply a website that plots tide-gauge data.)In 2015, Legates and several other Heartland regulars published a paper titled “Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model.” Their model projected no more than 1°C of global warming through the year 2100, in stark contrast to published research. He claimed that the data shows no changes in drought and criticized the use of climate models as scientific tools.“Droughts that have happened in the past are likely to occur again, and with likely similar frequencies and intensities; thus, preparation for their return is a better strategy than trying to mitigate them through draconian CO2 emission control policies,” he testified.Much of his testimony focused not science but on his supposed persecution for “dissent.” Like other contrarians obsessed with pushing conclusions that the evidence does not support, he chalks up the rejected papers (and challenges to his status as state climatologist), not to his own mistakes, but to a conspiracy to squash “independent thinking.” This imagined persecution earned Legates a “Courage in Defense of Science Award” at that 2015 Heartland Institute conference.Ideas like the above have become common from politicians and performative committee hearings, but they’ll now be represented at the upper level of NOAA—an agency tasked with critical real-time monitoring and research.This is part of a pattern under the Trump administration, of course.

As said here by Scott K. Johnson