Trump Nominates Climate Change Skeptic To Top Science Job At USDA

Charlie Neibergall/AP

President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated an open climate change skeptic with no credentials in agricultural research, science or medicine for the top scientific post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a statement praised Trump’s nomination of Sam Clovis, a former conservative talk radio show host and professor of business and public policy, for the position.

Perdue said Clovis “has become a trusted advisor and steady hand” who “looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data.”

Clovis has openly questioned the scientific proof for climate change, in a departure from the scientific consensus. In 2014, Clovis said he was “extremely skeptical” of that consensus.

“I have looked at the science and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed,” he said in an interview on Iowa Public Radio. “And a lot of the science is junk science. It’s not proven.”

Propublica in May reported that Clovis has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in business administration and a doctorate in public administration, but does not appear to have published any scientific papers.

Clovis in October 2016 said Trump’s policy on agriculture would focus on trade and regulation rather than climate change.

“Mr. Trump is a skeptic on climate change, and we need more science,” he told E&E News. “Once we get more science, we are going to make decisions.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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