The Trump administration is taking a more aggressive approach to climate research, announcing a plan to put NOAA and NOAA-funded researchers at the center of its research efforts, and potentially turning over some of the work to private firms that might provide more favorable terms.
The move, according to a senior administration official, would be designed to “build on the success of the NOAA Ocean Climate Project.”
It is unclear exactly what the administration is seeking from private firms, but the proposal includes a potential “funding mechanism” to help those firms “build a better understanding of the ocean, including its potential impacts on climate.”
The official emphasized that the goal of the plan is to develop “an ecosystem that has the best climate and water science capabilities for the oceans and the nation.”
NOAA scientists, who have been working on climate change and ocean acidification for decades, have also been working closely with private firms.
“We are in the process of establishing a research-driven, interdisciplinary, and collaborative collaboration on ocean acidity and acidification, to be led by NOAA Ocean Science Program (OSSP),” the official said.
“The OSP research will be focused on the oceans acidification and its impacts on marine organisms and the ocean.
We are also in the early stages of the planning process for the next phase of this program, which will involve the development of a long-term ocean-based model and data.”
The administration is also looking to “help the private sector develop a long term understanding of acidification impacts on ocean ecosystems, and identify opportunities for collaboration,” the official added.
The plan would be implemented over several years, but was not expected to be in place until at least the end of the next decade.
The Trump plan would allow NOAA to “work collaboratively” with private scientists and private companies to develop new ocean models.
The proposal, which was published in the Federal Register today, also provides “incentives for NSF-funded organizations to collaborate with NOAA to better understand the impacts of climate change on the ocean and its effects on the global economy.”
While the Trump administration has not specified what it would seek from private companies in return for working on the plan, it is not clear how such incentives would be awarded.
The announcement is the latest sign of the administration’s commitment to taking a hard-line stance on climate science, after President Trump announced a new $2 billion fund in the State Department budget to fund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The president’s decision was met with praise from some scientists and scientists who have criticized the lack of action on climate research.
“This is the first time that the administration has been willing to take a hard line on climate,” said Richard Muller, a senior research scientist at the American Geophysical Union.
“It will hopefully make a real difference.”