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U.S. President Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has removed Trump-appointed atmospheric scientist Betsy Weatherhead from her role overseeing a comprehensive report on how climate change is affecting the U.S., the Washington Post first reported Monday.

Why it matters: Weatherhead has not been fired — merely reassigned to the U.S. Geological Survey — the move represents an effort by the Biden administration to remove Trump-era appointees from scientific roles, per CNN.

Of note: The move could cause further delays to the next edition of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated to be produced every four years.

The big picture: Weatherhead's original appointment to the position in November came as a surprise given that she is a mainstream climate scientist whose work reflects that climate change is a serious threat — unlike some other Trump-appointees.

  • However, Weatherhead did allegedly clash with some of the other officials involved about the "direction of the report," per the Post.

What they're saying: Jane Lubchenco, a top White House climate official who ultimately supervised Weatherhead in her position, told Axios in an interview Monday that the White House is committed to producing a "robust" and "effective" assessment.

  • "All I can really say is that Dr. Weatherhead's detail is ending, she's returning to USGS, her home agency," Lubchenco, who serves as the deputy director for climate and the environment at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. said. "We're very grateful to her for her service."
  • Lubchenco left open the possibility that the next assessment, currently due out in 2023, might be subject to further delays. "We will do everything possible to adhere to the schedule but that I guess remains to be seen," she said.

Flashback: The last climate assessment, published in 2018, warned of increasingly damaging climate impacts on the U.S., raising the possibility of severe economic damage in coming decades.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Lubchenco.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 19, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Treasury Dept. unveils climate "hub" and names former Obama official as lead

The U.S. Treasury Building. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department offered more information Monday on plans to expand its focus on global warming, and said John E. Morton, a climate finance expert who served in the Obama administration, will lead the efforts.

Why it matters: Announcement of the new "Climate Hub" and Morton's appointment signal how the Biden administration is stitching climate policy into the fabric of agencies across the government.

Cities up the ante on their climate pledges

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cities and states continue to push forward on their climate goals, raising their level of ambition as the White House prepares to host a global climate summit this week.

Why it matters: Cities account for a significant share of emissions and worked to reduce them despite the Trump-era federal pullback. City leaders also must prepare for climate impacts such as the sea-level rise and more intense heat waves.

The U.S. credibility chasm on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The biggest hurdle for President Biden in winning new emissions reduction commitments at this week's White House summit is America's on-again, off-again history of climate change efforts.

Why it matters: The global community is off course to meet the temperature targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. The White House wants the summit Thursday and Friday to begin to change that.