What does Trump’s pick for science adviser think about climate science? A 2014 talk offers clues

Aug 21, 2018

By Jeffrey Mervis

The meteorology professor picked to advise President Donald Trump on science-related matters has urged climate scientists to be more humble when they talk about the conclusions of their research—and said Earth might be more resilient to human-caused environmental assaults than many believe.

The comments by Kelvin Droegemeier, Trump’s pick to lead the White House science office, were made during a talk he gave 4 years ago to researchers at a climate science center in Oklahoma.

Droegemeier, vice president for research at The University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman and an expert on predicting severe storms, will appear before the Senate on Thursday to field questions on his qualifications to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Given the policies of the Trump administration, Droegemeier is almost certainly going to be asked about climate change and other environmental issues. He has kept mum on those and all other research topics since his nomination was announced on 31 July, as is the custom for presidential nominees. But a video of a June 2014 talk Droegemeier gave to OU colleagues provides some intriguing hints about his thoughts on climate science and other politically charged topics.

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9 comments on “What does Trump’s pick for science adviser think about climate science? A 2014 talk offers clues

  • @OP – The meteorology professor picked to advise President Donald Trump
    on science-related matters, has [pompously] urged [thousands of] climate scientists
    to be more humble when they talk about the conclusions of their research
    [over a wide diverse range of Earth sciences, which he clearly does not understand, and is not qualified to comment on]!

  • 2
    MagnusFaustus says:

    The planet is more resilient to our foibles than we know? Possibly. Kind of lucked out with those microbes, but it probably just pumped more CO2 into the atmosphere and added to the chemical waste in the oceans.

    A wise person doesn’t risk catastrophe twice after narrowly missing it the first time. What was it that someone said about the definition of insanity? Trying the same thing twice and expecting different results?

    We can do so much better maintaining the biosphere we depend on. So I think we are obligated to try.

  • MagnusFaustus #2
    Aug 21, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    MagnusFaustus #2
    Aug 21, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Welcome to RDFS.

    A wise person doesn’t risk catastrophe twice after narrowly missing it the first time.

    Humans in reduced numbers, have indeed survived evolutionary bottlenecks resulting from earlier major planetary changes.

    Of course numerous other species – particularly dominant complex species at the top food chains (including species of Homo), didn’t narrowly miss earlier mass extinctions!
    The climate and environmental changes exterminated them first time around!

  • 4
    MagnusFaustus says:

    Don’t worry about the welcome Alan. I’ve been here for ages. It’s just that I haven’t logged into my account in a long time.

    Of course numerous other species – particularly dominant complex species at the top food chains (including species of Homo), didn’t narrowly miss earlier mass extinctions!
    The climate and environmental changes exterminated them first time around!

    As to this, I wouldn’t doubt it. Makes me want to repeat the… Oh hell.. Why do I Wikipedia crawl this stuff? Do you recall this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2#Second_mission

    I got curious about closed ecological systems, so I dug this up to find out what the status of Biosphere 2 was.. (I’ve never looked it up before now.) And I find Steve Bannon playing a big part in the article.. As if I needed more reason to hate the guy.

  • MagnusFaustus #4
    Aug 22, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    I got curious about closed ecological systems, so I dug this up to find out what the status of Biosphere 2 was..

    This type of experiment is going to provide data for constructing remote space bases or colonies away from Earth, regardless of any quirks in particular experiments.

    I find Steve Bannon playing a big part in the article.

    I think we can discount anything Bannon has to say about science – or any other fact-based reporting, and should use more reputable information sources!

  • 6
    MagnusFaustus says:

    It’s not that. I just don’t like hearing about him in relation to earth science projects. The fact that Ed Bass considered making Bannon interim CEO of the project just gives me a nasty crawling sensation.

  • MagnusFaustus #6
    Aug 23, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    It’s not that. I just don’t like hearing about him in relation to earth science projects.

    While it has been inferred for a long time (and denied in the case of Comey), Trump has spelled out (in this linked comment on Sessions) the mafia/gangster code of unquestioning obedience and loyalty to the boss – to which he works, – in defiance of established constitutional and ethical requirements: –

    You know the only reason I gave him the job? Because I felt loyalty, he was an original supporter.

    Public appointments where loyalty to the country and the constitution are required, are being made on the basis of personal loyalty to Trump taking precedence over the responsibilities of impartial upholding of the law! – Hence Trump’s constant battles with those “so-called-judges”!

  • Trump clearly requires “science advisers” who endorse his “science” policies and environmental responses, as the “tremendous successes” he pronounces them to be!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45492197?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cg41ylwvw3gt/puerto-rico&link_location=live-reporting-story

    President Donald Trump has been criticised for hailing the US response to the deadly Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year as “tremendous”.

    He was asked at the White House what lessons could be learned from Hurricane Maria as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas.

    Maria, he said, was the “hardest one we had by far because of the island nature”, adding: “I actually think it was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.

    “The job that Fema [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think was tremendous. I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success.”

    Mr Trump had said recently: “We have put billions and billions of dollars into Puerto Rico and it was a very tough one. I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we’ve done.”

    The mayor of its capital tweeted: “If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success God help us all.”

    Puerto Rico only finished restoring full power last month, 11 months after the hurricane hit.

    A recent report says 8% left the island after the hurricane and many died due to poor health care and other services.

    The island’s Governor Ricardo Rossello issued a statement on Tuesday night, describing Maria as “the worst natural disaster in our modern history. Our basic infrastructure was devastated, thousands of our people lost their lives and many others still struggle”.

    For long the government there listed the death toll at only 64, although it acknowledged it was probably much higher.

    The island’s authorities finally accepted a revised toll of 2,975 after a government-commissioned report by experts from George Washington University.

    This counted those who died in the six months following the storm as a result of poor healthcare and a lack of electricity and clean water. Repeated power cuts also led to an increased number of deaths from diabetes and sepsis.

    Clearly in Trump-land, all Trump management is “great and tremendous” regardless of how many die from negligence and neglect, or other actual outcomes on the ground!

  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45511865

    US President Donald Trump is disputing that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico after the island was hit by two hurricanes last year.

    “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, without offering evidence for the claim.

    He added that Democrats had inflated the official death toll to “make me look as bad as possible”.

    The official figure was released last month after an independent study.

    On Thursday, Mr Trump wrote in a pair of tweets that Democrats were attacking him “when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico”.

    It must be those darned “Democrat” scientists, researchers, and record keepers, who actually count recorded deaths and bodies, when debunking Trump’s unevidenced “alternative facts”! 🙂

    The study concluded that the initial death toll of 64 only included those killed directly by hurricanes Maria and Irma – either by drowning, flying debris or building collapse.

    George Washington University also counted those who died in the six months following the storm as a result of poor healthcare provision and a lack of electricity and clean water.

    Last May, Harvard University public health researchers published a study that estimated the death toll was even higher.

    They said about 4,600 people died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane from delayed medical care.

    Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump

    3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes
    that hit Puerto Rico.
    When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit,
    they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths.
    As time went by it did not go up by much.

    I suppose when working with “alternative facts” on an island with disrupted communications, and “digital computation” on fingers and toes, 6 to 18, is just within the limits of the system! 🙂

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