American climate scientists and their colleagues in other countries are living in fear, given today’s appointment of climate change denier Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy, a man who once described the President-elect as “a barking carnival act.”
Given Donald Trump’s own record of climate denial and his appointment of Scott Pruitt, climate-denialist and Oklahoma Attorney General, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, they have good reason to fear.
And now the scientists are taking action.
From the Washington Post:
Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.
The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.
“Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to hedge against,” said Nick Santos, an environmental researcher at the University of California at Davis, who over the weekend began copying government climate data onto a nongovernment server, where it will remain available to the public. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”
Energy Department refuses to provide a list
Republicans are always brandishing lists of government employees they deem subversive to their goals, most infamously the alleged list of communists in the State Department and military branished by Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the paranoid Red Scare of the 1950’s.
And now the Trumpsters are demanding a list, but one government agency is refusing to hand it over.
From Ars Technica:
The Trump transition team’s request for the names of all staffers who attended meetings about the social cost of carbon, as well as any Conference of the Parties hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, suggested to DOE staffers that the team could be looking to fire staffers for their work on climate change or to marginalize their role at the department.
According to the Washington Post, DOE officials sent an e-mail to employees this morning assuring them that no individual names will be provided to the Trump transition team:
The Department of Energy received significant feedback from our workforce throughout the department, including the National Labs, following the release of the transition team’s questions. Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled. Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE and the important work our department does to benefit the American people. We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.
We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.