NASA Announces New Role of Senior Climate Advisor

Feb 15, 2021

by ASME.org

The Biden administration has taken swift action in advancing its climate goals, including recently establishing a new position for a senior climate advisor at NASA. The new role will be responsible for further developing the agency’s research and development portfolio with added focus on technologies for reducing carbon emissions in aeronautics. The administration hopes that increasing NASA’s focus on climate research will allow for more informed climate change mitigation efforts.
 
This announcement comes shortly after President Biden took executive action to combat climate change through his Executive Order on “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” which among other things established a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy to be led by the first-ever National Climate Advisor and Deputy National Climate Advisor.
 
Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, has been chosen to fill the role in an acting capacity until a permanent appointee is named. Additionally, President Biden has already filled a number of senior roles at NASA that do not require Senate confirmation, including appointing Bhavya Lal as acting chief of staff.
 
Acting NASA Chief of Staff Lal believes that “the appointment of Gavin Schmidt will help ensure that the Biden Administration has the crucial data to implement and track its plan toward the path to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050, and a healthier, safer, more prosperous planet for our children.”
 
Specifically, the senior climate advisor will work to:
  • Promote and engage in climate-related investments in the Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Science Division.
  • Promote aeronautics and other technology initiatives focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and broad climate impacts.
  • Demonstrate and communicate the societal impacts and breadth of NASA investments related to climate.
  • Foster communication and coordination within and outside the science community at NASA.
  • Actively engage in amplifying the agency’s climate-related research and technological development.

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