The Trump administration delivered another setback to the fight against climate change on Sunday, as the White House dissolved the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment.
The 15-person committee, which includes academics, local officials and corporate representatives, was informed on Friday that its charter, which expired Sunday, would not be renewed by the Trump administration, the Washington Post reported.
First established in 2015, the federal advisory committee worked to translate the findings of the National Climate Assessment into concrete guidance for officials in both the private and public sectors. The National Climate Assessment is scheduled to come out every four years, although the Post notes that only three reports have been released since it first became mandated in 1990.
The next assessment is currently scheduled to be released in 2018, though some Trump critics are concerned that the president’s administration will take steps to censor the assessment following reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is requesting its staff not to use the term “climate change” in its work.
“It doesn’t seem to be the best course of action,” committee chair Richard Moss, an adjunct professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences, told the Post about the White House’s decision to end the committee. “We’re going to be running huge risks here and possibly end up hurting the next generation’s economic prospects.”
Trump’s decision to dissolve the committee was met with criticism from those supporting the fight against climate change, the Post noted. Seattle mayor Ed Murray told the Post that the move represented “an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality,” adding that when it comes to climate change, Trump “has left us all individually to figure it out.”
The committee’s disbandment is the latest in a string of moves undertaken by the Trump administration to weaken the government’s efforts against climate change, including removing the U.S. from the Paris agreement. Most recently, the president signed an executive order on infrastructure Tuesday that overturned a requirement that the federal government take projected sea-rise into account when giving federal aid to projects built in coastal floodplains, according to the Post.
Although the Trump administration has taken steps to either alter or temporarily suspend other climate change-related federal groups, the National Climate Assessment committee’s removal is the first time such a group has been completely abolished, the Post noted.