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Photo: Evan El-Amin

The Trump Administration appointed opponents of climate change theory in the first key weeks of the administration at the beginning of the year. President Donald Trump withdrew from the international Paris Agreement on climate change on June 1.

Now the White House has disbanded an advisory committee intended as a bridge between scientists and policymakers.

The Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment was formed in 2015. The group intended to provide a kind of bridge between the scientific findings of the National Climate Assessment and key agencies and policymakers.

The 15-member group was made up of scientists from groups nationwide, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, Seattle Public Utilities, North Carolina Sea Grant, and Microsoft Research, among other institutions. Academia made up about half the members, but the committee was also represented by the industrial, government, and NGO sectors.

The members were appointed by the NOAA administrator during the Obama Administration. But the charter was due to expire on Sunday – and it was allowed to expire, according to The Washington Post, which broke the news.

The congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment is issued every four years. Next year is its fourth edition. The Administration has announced that the dissolution of the committee will not affect the forthcoming document.

“The Department of Commerce and NOAA appreciate the efforts of the Committee and offer sincere thanks to each of the Committee members for their service,” NOAA said in a statement announcing the disbanding of the group.

Various members of the groups told the newspaper and other outlets that they were disappointed, but not shocked, at the disassembling of the group.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science bemoaned the Trump Administration’s “increasingly blatant attempts to ignore and dismiss scientific information,” in a statement this morning.

“At the interface of science and society, the federal government and its research agencies play a critically important role,” said Rush Holt, the CEO of the AAAS. “The capacity to understand and effectively address important policy issues depends on access to relevant scientific and technical expertise.

“Scientifically accurate information builds the foundation for public policies that promote the well-being of people and communities,” Holt added, anticipating that there will be more climate change scientific collaboration at state, local and even international levels.

The Trump Administration has placed its priority on the economy, according to months of briefings at the White House and a litany of “America First” policies.

“The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long,” according to a White House policy statement issued earlier this year. “In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest.”

The economy is paramount, a senior White House official explained in March, adding only that “to the extent that the economy is strong and growing and you have prosperity – that’s the best way to protect the environment.”

But the same official added that Trump “believes in manmade climate change.” The disparity has not yet been explained by the administration, about three months after the Paris Agreement decision.

“Thanks to President Donald Trump, America is back,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, just before Trump announced his decision June 1.

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