NASA Is A Minor Part Of The Biden Climate Change Action Plan (Update)

Keith's 1 February note: The Biden White House issued an Executive order on 27 January 2021 "Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad" which outlines its immediate steps to deal with the threat of climate change on society and our economy in a "whole of government" fashion.

As you all know, The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, lists a variety of things that NASA Is chartered to "to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives". The first one on the list is: "The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space." NASA builds and launches all of NOAA's satellites and pioneered the Earth resources capabilities used by all sectors of the U.S. government - expertise that it has applied across the solar system. The Earth Science budget at NASA for FY 2021 is $2 billion. As such, you'd think that NASA, as the provider of Earth observation and research capabilities, would be a prime participant in the Biden Administration's Climate Action plans. Guess again.

The only place that NASA is mentioned by name (or even inferred) in the Executive Order is Sec. 103 (s): "The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce, through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the heads of other agencies as appropriate, shall develop and submit to the President, within 120 days of the date of this order, an analysis of the security implications of climate change (Climate Risk Analysis) that can be incorporated into modeling, simulation, war-gaming, and other analyses."

The Executive Order goes on to say "National Climate Task Force. There is hereby established a National Climate Task Force (Task Force). The Task Force shall be chaired by the National Climate Advisor" followed by a list of more than 20 Cabinet agencies and high level government offices. NASA is not mentioned.

NASA is only mentioned once in this entire Executive Order. The word "space" is mentioned once - but only as part of NASA's name. The word "satellite" is never mentioned. So ... the big task force chartered to handle America's "whole of government" climate change response makes no mention of NASA as a member - other than to suggest that the NASA Administrator has an action item due in 120 days.

So - all NASA does is write a memo. Am I missing something?

Keith's 2 February update: Later in the day the NASA HQ main page and its Earth science page added mention of Schmidt's appointment. But if you go to the Science Mission Directorate page and its Earth Science page you'd never know that this happened. Yet the NASA GISS Page and NASA Goddard pages have prominent mention. Again, one part of NASA has no idea what other parts are doing - even when they focus on the same topics. And in this case, the organization (SMD) at NASA HQ who spends NASA's billions on Earth and climate science research is the one that remains out of the loop.

Keith's 2 February update: As noted yesterday the recent Executive Order dealing with Climate change clearly suggests that NASA is apparently going to have a minimal role in that effort. In this interview with FUturism Jurczyk was only able to reflect in NASA's current activities in this interview in a broader sense but did not state with any specificity what NASA's role would be going fourth with regard to this executive order. But this Administration is only 2 weeks old - so who knows.

We Interviewed the New Head of NASA About SpaceX, China, and Aliens, Futurism

"Question: It's been reported that the White House wants NASA to reemphasize climate change. I'm curious what you think about NASA's capacity to focus on climate change research in addition to space exploration, and how you plan to balance those priorities.

Jurczyk: ... Yeah, it would be pretty premature to comment on what the impacts might be on the overall budget of NASA and other areas of NASA. But we're going to do that work and see how we can potentially accelerate some of those observations or earth science missions, to accelerate the research, to contribute to the administration's whole of government approach to dealing with climate change."

  • submit to reddit



Kepler Communications - Aether
Baen Books - The Spacetime War by Les Johnson






Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on February 2, 2021 9:44 AM.

SpaceX Announces First Wholly CivilIan Crewed Space Mission was the previous entry in this blog.

Jurczyk Is Sticking With A 2024 Artemis Lunar Landing Date - For Now is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.