Even as reports from federal agencies demonstrate that the global climate scenario is becoming increasingly alarming, President Donald Trump has decided to continue the "wave of destruction" his administration is inflicting on the environment—and on the agencies tasked with studying climate change—by disbanding the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, which was tasked with helping government translate climate findings into plans for action.
As the Washington Post reported, the "charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment—which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives—expires Sunday," and the Trump administration has decided the panel will not be renewed.
The Post continued:
The National Climate Assessment is supposed to be issued every four years but has come out only three times since passage of the 1990 law calling for such analysis. The next one, due for release in 2018, already has become a contentious issue for the Trump administration.
Administration officials are currently reviewing a scientific report that is key to the final document. Known as the Climate Science Special Report, it was produced by scientists from 13 different federal agencies and estimates that human activities were responsible for an increase in global temperatures of 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 to 2010.
Recent reports have indicated that the Trump administration—more specifically Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—is taking direction from Big Oil, so the move to disband a key climate advisory board was not met with surprise by scientists and commentators.
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Still, many expressed alarm at the speed with which the Trump administration is moving to dismantle what is left of Obama-era rules designed to protect the water and the air from dangerous pollutants.
The administration's decision to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment is just part of this broader deregulatory agenda, which will have both immediate and long-term effects, scientists warn.
"I think it's going to be a serious handicap for us that the advisory committee is not functional," Richard Wright, former chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers' Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, told the Post.
For Ed Murray, the Democratic mayor of Seattle, the move is just another example of Trump "stepping away from reality."