Capitol Report: Biden White House reinstates official who directs top government climate report

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The Biden administration has reinstated the head of the federal program that produces the U.S. government’s definitive reports on climate change.

That official, Dr. Mike Kuperberg, had been removed late in the Trump presidency.

Kuperberg, a climate scientist who previously ran the program under both Democratic and Republican administrations, was brought back Monday, the White House said in a Tuesday release.

As the executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, Kuperberg coordinates climate change research across 13 federal agencies and the production of the program’s National Climate Assessment, which most administrations have promoted as the nation’s leading report on climate change science and its consequences for public health and the economy.

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Jane Lubchenco, deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that it is important that scientific leadership “transcends politics” and suggested that Kuperberg has “earned the trust of the science community and policymakers regardless of party stripes.”

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The fourth edition of the report issued in 2018 featured intensifying warnings about the threat of climate change if the U.S. didn’t take steps to curb emissions.

“We face urgent climate threats, but we have the knowledge needed to take bold action to combat them,” Kuperberg said in a statement.

Former President Donald Trump at times dismissed the threat of climate change altogether and in other instances embraced some of the proposed technology to diversify U.S. energy as a way to cut emissions.

Kuperberg was removed from the position and assigned another in November 2020.

The fifth National Climate Assessment is due in 2022 but is not expected to be finished until 2023. 

President Joe Biden has included climate-change initiatives as part of a lofty $2.3 trillion infrastructure package that has drawn Republican pushback for its price tag and the taxes targeted to pay for the package. On Tuesday, Biden pushed for electric vehicle adoption — part of what some say is an ambitious plan to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050 — while visiting a Ford Motor Co.
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Read: Biden says U.S. can’t let China win EV race as he visits Ford plant

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