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Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The White House has removed the scientist overseeing the multi-agency group that crafts influential reports every several years on global warming and its harms, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Driving the news: Michael Kuperberg was ousted as head of the U.S. Global Change Research Program — which produces the National Climate Assessment (NCA) — and returned to his prior Energy Department role, both papers report.

  • Per the NYT, he's expected to be replaced by David Legates, a recent appointee to a senior National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration role who disputes mainstream climate science.

Why it matters: The stories note the moves could influence which scientists are initially considered to help write the next NCA due in 2023.

  • The NYT warns of ripple effects, such as a "biased or diminished" report being "used in court to bolster...fossil fuel companies being sued for climate damages."

Yes, but: Or maybe it's just not that big a deal. The incoming Joe Biden administration could reverse the Trump administration's efforts, both papers note.

  • The University of Arizona's Kathy Jacobs, who helmed the third NCA process roughly a decade ago, tells the Post: "I would be more concerned if Trump had won the election."

The big picture: The NCA is written by government researchers and outside scientists. The last one in 2018 warned of steep future economic losses to the U.S., with harmful consequences already underway.

Go deeper

Jan 21, 2021 - Science

Biden seeks to "refresh" America's grand science strategy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is tasking his new science adviser with examining the long-term U.S. strategy for science and technology amid competition from China and deepening inequality at home.

The big picture: The post-World War II framework for scientific research in the U.S. drove decades of prosperity for the country. But the U.S., the world and the practice of science have all changed dramatically since then, prompting calls to adjust the model.

Cuomo says words may have been "misinterpreted" following allegations of harassment

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a Feb. 22 news conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AF via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a lengthy statement on Sunday saying he " never inappropriately touched anybody" but acknowledged that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation," after two of his former aides accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Prior to Cuomo's statement, in which he adds that he "never inappropriately touched anybody" or meant to make anyone uncomfortable, the governor's office and the state attorney general went back and forth in a public disagreement about how to investigate the allegations.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."