Donald Trump will be sworn in as the next president of United States and owing to the president-elect’s denial of climate change and global warming, scientists are frantically working round the clock to protect decades of climate research before Trump takes office.
Trump has not only been openly denying climate change, he has even gone to the extent of nominating a number of climate change deniers for top posts, including Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the head of Environmental Protection Agency, former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the Energy Department and Congressmember Ryan Zinke to become interior secretary.
These nominations have acted as fuel to the fire of growing concern among the scientific community that the Trump administration may attempt to destroy or bury decades of scientific research that has been carried out on climate change. These concerns might not be wrong considering that Senior Trump adviser Bob Walker has already proposed stripping funding of NASA’s climate research, describing it as “politically correct environmental monitoring.”
Scientists have starting copying reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference. One such “guerrilla archiving” effort has started off already in Toronto wherein experts have started copying irreplaceable public data. Several campaigns have also been launched to copy and preserve decades of government-sponsored climate research.
Scientists are concerned that publicly available climate change data and research found on government websites would be wiped clean or made otherwise inaccessible to the public. Some worry the information could only be retrieved with a taxing Freedom of Information Act request.
“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 as quoted by The Washington Post. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”
Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, argued that Trump has appointed a “band of climate conspiracy theorists” to run transition efforts at various agencies, along with nominees to lead them who share similar views.