Washington Post: NOAA taps climate change skeptic to help lead agency

The White House is seen at dusk on the eve of a possible government shutdown as Congress battles out the budget in Washington, DC, September 30, 2013.

A longtime climate change skeptic has been appointed by the Trump administration to help run the federal agency charged with producing "much of the climate research funded" by the government, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

David Legates, who was a professor at the University of Delaware before being tapped by the administration, will serve as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for environmental observation and prediction, according to the Post, which said the climate change skeptic will report directly to acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs.

The Post said Legates formerly served as Delaware's climatologist but was "forced out" because of his "controversial views" on the issue.

The newspaper said that Legates "had come under pressure from then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, (a Democrat), because of his fossil fuel industry-funded research casting doubt on the science showing that burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels is the main factor behind heating the planet and would lead to dangerous effects such as sea level rise and extreme weather events."

NOAA "oversees weather forecasting, climate research and fisheries," according to the Post, and "has until now continued its climate research and communications activities unfettered by political influence," unlike other parts of the administration, like the Environmental Protection Agency, that have "dismissed and sidelined climate scientists or altered their work before publication."