Skeptics of climate alarmism are surprised that President Trump has nominated atmospheric scientist Kelvin Droegemeier to head up the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and possibly be his official Science Advisor as well. The likely explanation is the looming midterm elections.
The Trump people do not want climate change to be a big issue, while the alarmists are trying to make it one. The New York Times just ran an entire magazine devoted to alarmism and a carbon tax bill has been introduced in the House. The issue of global warming policy is clearly heating up.
Droegemeier is at best a “lukewarmer,” which is someone who accepts that humans are causing global warming but who argues that this is not dangerous. At worst he may even be an alarmist.
We will not know until his Senate confirmation hearing, when the issue will no doubt be pressed, possibly by both sides. Even then we may not know for sure because confirmation hearings are exercises in saying as little as possible that might offend some Senator or other.
He is certainly not a skeptic of human caused warming. To begin with he is a computer modeler, not an empirical scientist. Mind you his research work has involved modeling the weather, not the climate, but the models are basically the same so he is not likely to question the basic validity of the climate models, although he may say they are running hot, which is an understatement.
He has been chair the National Science Board, which oversees the U.S. National Science Foundation. NSF is the leading federal climate research agency and very alarmist, to the point of denying that natural variability might explain global warming, as well as funding a lot of alarmist education centers. Droegemeier must have supported this stuff; it being in his field.
Even worse, he was on the Board of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This is an NSF national laboratory that is the leading U.S. producer of alarmist science. They are one of the top climate modeling centers supporting the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the leading global voice of alarmism. Droegemeier must have supported all this as well.
It has been clear that some of the Trump people want to minimize the climate change issue. They see overt skepticism of alarmism as a policy distraction, not a cause worth fighting for. They also see fighting alarmism as politically dangerous.
For example, they successfully blocked then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s attempt to make the climate science debate a national issue, via a public Red Team exercise. They also played a role in Pruitt’s resignation, because he had become a political lightning rod. One of the rules in politics is that incumbents should not make waves in election years.
Given all this it is very likely that Droegemeier has been deliberately chosen as a token warmer. Even Obama’s hyper-alarmist Science Advisor John Holdren has praised his nomination. Other prominent alarmists have done likewise, such as Marcia McNutt, the nutty president of the consistently alarmist National Academy of Sciences, who foolishly claims that the scientific debate is settled in favor of her fellow alarmists..
That OSTP has no authority to speak of makes this tokenary move an easy game to play. It may be a sell out to skepticism but it is a smooth political move indeed.
If Droegemeier is a lukewarmer it will be interesting to see the leftwing press struggle with that concept. They almost universally write as though if humans are causing warming then that is a very bad thing, calling for radical action. That warming might be benign, or even beneficial, is an alien planet to them.
So all things considered, while Kelvin Droegemeier’s nomination might be disappointing, it could be quite useful. Time will tell and an interesting time it may be.