Head of U.S. Global Change Research Program Removed

On November 6, 2020, the Trump administration removed Michael Kuperberg from his position as the director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

The USGCRP oversees the preparation of the Congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment. The USGCRP had been led by Mr. Kuperberg since July 2015, and he was widely expected to remain director through the production of the fifth version of the assessment, which is due to be released in 2023. White House officials did not offer any explanation for Mr. Kuperberg's removal. According to media reports, he was directed to return to his prior position as a scientist at the Department of Energy. 


On November 9. 2020, the New York Times reported that Mr. Kuperberg would be replaced by David Legates. Mr. Legates is a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He previously worked with climate denial groups, including the Heartland Institute, and has said that he believes that increase fossil fuel use would benefit humanity. 

On May 17, 2021, Mr. Kuperberg was reinstated to the position of executive director of the USGCRP. Mr. Kuperberg told the Washington Post that he wasn't surprised to have been reassigned in November of 2020, but was excited to be back and considers his job responsibilities nonpartisan. With his return to USGCRP, Mr. Kuperberg will resume work on the fifth version of the Congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment slated for release in 2023.