In a recent presentation by the acting head of the United States’ top weather and ocean agency, NOAA, suggested that they may remove the study of climate from its official mission.
In the presentation, NOAA suggested that the agency instead move towards work focused on economic goals and “homeland and national security.”
NOAA’s current mission statement is “to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.”
The new NOAA mission, the presentation said, would be “to observe, understand and predict atmospheric and ocean conditions, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to protect lives and property, empower the economy, and support homeland and national security.”
The presentation was given by Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, the acting administrator, and follows a very similar view on governing that the Trump Administration is so fiercely pushing.
In a statement provided by NOAA, it said, “This presentation is a simplified draft for discussion. It was not intended to create change in NOAA mission or policy from what it was before. Any interpretation to the contrary is simply inaccurate.”
But there is a lot of concern from conservationists and opponents who argue that the removal of climate and the focus on short term goals such as economic growth rather than looking at the larger picture in ensuring the safety and health of the world’s ocean.
Climate change, overfishing and reducing ocean pollution have become three of the biggest threats to the oceans and its inhabitants. The new mission statement of the agency would de-emphasize all three which are pivotal to work together with other countries to reduce the impact felt on Earth which is something the current federal government is against.
The presentation has resulted in public outcry from top scientists, including a NOAA administrator, Jane Lubchenco, who worked under President Obama. “This unraveling of NOAA’s core mission ignores the best interests of the American people, core Congressionally mandated responsibilities, overwhelming scientific evidence, and plain common sense.”
“NOAA’s core mission integrates the dual mandates of ‘observe and predict’ with ‘conserve and manage,’ ” Lubchenco added. “The two functions are highly interdependent. Eliminating multiple parts of both of them guts the whole agency and compromises its remaining functions. Eliminating basic functions of NOAA is foolhardy, ignorant, shortsighted, and very stupid. It’s akin to removing multiple vital organs from a body and expecting it to remain healthy.”
Gallaudet is the acting administrator and was confirmed to be NOAA’s second-in-command. He is running the agency because President Trump’s nominee, AccuWeather chief executive Barry Myers, remains unconfirmed.
It remains unclear whether the change will go forward, but regardless, there will be very high opposition rightfully so.