After 19 months without a science adviser, President Donald Trump last week nominated an Oklahoma meteorologist and respected extreme weather expert to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, with surprising bipartisan support.
Kelvin Droegemeier is a University of Oklahoma meteorology professor whose OU web page boldly proclaims, “God Bless America!!!” and who has voiced support for the Trump administration. He is a “a personable guy,” a “good old boy who wears cowboy boots,” and has “solid conservative credentials,” according to Maria Zuber, a planetary geophysicist and vice president for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But despite Droegemeier’s conservative leanings, his nomination pleasantly surprised many environmentalists who believe he will prove a strong advocate for federal funding of research, particularly climate change studies. Zuber noted Droegemeier has always stood up for “climate science.”
“I’m certain he believes in mainstream climate science,” Rosina Bierbaum, an environmental policy expert at the University of Michigan who has worked with Droegemeier in the past, told Nature.
John Holdren, former science adviser to President Barack Obama, also approved the nomination. “He’s a very good pick. … He has experience speaking science to power. I expect he’ll be energetic in defending the R&D budget, and climate change research in particular,” he told Science Magazine. —J.B.