May 10, 2018

Measuring Data Shouldn’t be Political, Head of NASA Needs to Tell President Trump That

Statement by Rachel Licker, Senior Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists

Washington (May 10, 2018)—In yet another anti-science move, President Trump’s administration has eliminated future funding for NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS)—a program in the Earth Science research program tasked with developing methods to use satellite and aircraft instruments to measure harmful global warming emissions like carbon dioxide and methane—whose information is used by both the public and private sectors. The process to get rid of the program—created by Congress in 2010—began with omitting reference to it in the FY18 budget, which halted new funding and will effectively end the program in two years.

Below is a statement by Rachel Licker, senior climate scientist at UCS.

“NASA’s vitally important scientific mission, which is reliant on obtaining cutting-edge data, can only be achieved in the absence of political interference. It’s no secret that the Trump administration has been working hard to eliminate climate science programs across virtually every federal agency. Measuring data should not be political. The American public has the right to know how its environment is changing and be afforded the benefits of innovative initiatives and technologies like the Carbon Monitoring System that will help efforts to limit global warming and its impacts. Ignoring climate change and hobbling science agencies will only leave us more unprepared to deal with this rapidly worsening problem, risking lives and trillions of dollars in the process.

“In his confirmation hearing last fall, Administrator Bridenstine, the new head of NASA, promised that science, not political motivations, would continue to drive the agency’s work. He committed to supporting NASA’s Earth Science research program, including the ability of the agency’s climate scientists to carry out their work and speak about it publicly. The American people deserve the best available science that is free from political interference. NASA’s new administrator should push back against efforts by the Trump administration to politicize America’s leading scientific enterprise and ensure continuation of the Carbon Monitoring System.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.