After being removed from his post by former President Donald Trump
last year, the Biden administration
reinstated the scientist in charge of producing the federal government's top climate change
The White House
announced Wednesday that Michael Kuperberg, a climate scientist who oversaw the production of the documents for six years before being fired, would return as the executive director of the United States Global Change Research
Program (USGCRP), which is in charge of the National Climate Assessment
, a compilation of work
from hundreds of scientists across more than a dozen agencies that helps guide policy.
“As a scientist, it has been my honor to serve the American people
under Democratic and Republican
administrations to help deliver science
to inform solutions,” Kuperberg, who had been reassigned to the Department of Energy
in the interim, said in a statement Wednesday. “And as a public servant, it has been my privilege to work with the Nation’s best scientists and policymakers, both inside and outside the government.”
Trump fired Kuperberg in November, despite the fact that he was in the middle of working on the Fifth National Climate Assessment, which is set to be released in 2022. Kuperberg was reportedly "shocked" by his dismissal, as he had expected to remain in his position until the document's publication.
He was replaced by David Legates, a scientist who worked closely with climate denial groups and falsely claimed that increased levels of carbon dioxide (a potent greenhouse gas
) in the atmosphere were actually good for the planet. According to the Washington Post
, Legates used his brief time in the role to craft documents that undercut the science behind climate change, despite the fact that the papers wer
Trump also denied climate change science, and his administration worked to effectively bury the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which eventually included damning predictions for the United States.
Trump used his final days in office to fire senior government scientists from a variety of agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's acting chief scientist, Craig McLean, in October.