Climate change denialist given top role at major U.S. science agency

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By Scott Waldman, E&E NewsSep. 14, 2020 , 9:50 AM

Originally published by E&E News

A controversial researcher who rejects climate science was hired by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a senior position, in a move suggesting the Trump administration is asserting growing influence over the study of rising temperatures.

David Legates, a geography professor at the University of Delaware, has a long history of questioning fundamental climate science and has suggested that an outcome of burning fossil fuels would be a more habitable planet for humans.

He was hired as deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for observation and prediction, according to a report by NPR.

The move marks an escalation within the Trump administration to undermine the agency’s ability to warn the public of climate risks, observers said.

Legates has spent his career denying consensus climate science while elevating the work of fringe researchers and industry-funded scientists. He has claimed that addressing climate change would do more harm than good, and he has said pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would benefit humanity.

When testifying before the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee last year, Legates blamed natural variations for the unprecedented level of warming …

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