President-elect and ardent climate denier Donald Trump may be back pedaling a bit on his anti-climate stance, but the softening of his position doesn’t mean he’s backing off. Trump’s senior adviser on issues relating to NASA says the president-elect will make efforts to eliminate “politicized science” by axing the space agency’s climate research. NASA is currently one of the leading sources for data on the impact of climate change around the globe, including satellite-acquired information on air and water temperatures, ice loss and sea level rise, and other symptoms that give scientists a better understanding of what is happening to the Earth.
NASA’s Earth science division operates the agency’s climate change research, based largely on data collected by its enormous network of satellites. Previous budget decisions resulted in plans to grow that spending to $2 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, the agency’s budget for space exploration has been reduced to $2.8 billion next year. As space exploration spending is reeled in, climate research has been allowed to grow, and NASA has been able to provide more accurate and updated information about our planet’s health than ever before. This is not an accomplishment Trump is interested in celebrating.
Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, told the Guardian NASA’s climate change research – which he described as “politically correct environmental monitoring” – is no longer necessary. He suggested Trump will attempt to slash, if not eliminate, NASA’s Earth science funding and instead boost the budget for space exploration. Although Trump himself has been fairly tight-lipped about his plans for NASA, he has recently suggested that he would like to “revive American lunar exploration” and he may even support building a base on the moon to house as many as 13,000 Earthlings, which is a plan so wild that even the space-loving entrepreneur Elon Musk doesn’t think it’s worth considering.
Via The Guardian