Paul Robinson, former director of Sandia National laboratory, is the likely choice of the Trump White House to lead a scientific panel that will review the connection between climate change and national security, according to published news reports.
The idea of creating the review panel was first reported two months ago.
It has drawn substantial criticism from the scientific community, which notes that serious research already undergoes constant, intensive and merit-based review as a matter of course.
Given the President’s long-standing rejection of the reality of climate change, the scientific community fears that only skeptics and deniers will be chosen for the panel in order to confirm existing Administration doctrine.
As if to substantiate these concerns, current news reports suggest that Robinson has been recruiting mainly panelists who have previously expressed doubt that climate change is serious or human-caused.
These include Judith Curry, formerly of Georgia Tech; Richard Lindzen, formerly of MIT; and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
Robinson himself is a physicist, who carried out and managed nuclear weapons research at both Los Alamos and Sandia National laboratories, including serving as director of Sandia from 1995 to 2005.
He led U.S. negotiating teams in a number of arms controls talks under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
He has not taken a public advocacy position on the reality of climate change, according to news reports, but he appeared to signal his skepticism when he cosigned a September 2017 letter advising President Trump to pull out of the “Joint Comprehensive Powers” nuclear weapons agreement with Iran.
That letter doubted that “doom and gloom” would follow withdrawal from the Iran agreement, just as “the sky did not fall when you withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.”