Wave goodbye to real environmental science, at least as far as the Environmental Protection Agency is concerned. A member of the Trump team told NPR today that the president’s administration will review every single EPA report on a “case by case basis” before it is released.
The news compounds censorship introduced Tuesday, when President Trump prohibited the environmental agency’s scientists from disseminating information on social media. Don’t take our word for it, here’s what Doug Ericksen, the president’s communications director, told NPR:
“We’ll take a look at what’s happening so that the voice coming from the EPA is one that’s going to reflect the new administration.”
NPR points out that such a policy would fly in the face of scientific norms. In 2012, the EPA solidified scientific independence when it adopted rules that prohibits employees from “suppressing, altering, or otherwise impeding the timely release of scientific findings or conclusions.”
Much of the EPA’s published work in recent years has covered the effects of climate change, carbon emissions and other industrial pollution.
Republicans do have a history of such Orwellian censorship. Florida governor Rick Scott set a handy precedent when he signed into a law a measure that prevented that state’s scientific agencies from mentioning climate change in public documents. Ironically, South Florida is among locations most vulnerable to predicted sea level rise. Without solid bedrock (Miami is built on top of porous stone), the region has no way to build levies that could buffer rising water levels, according to The New Yorker.
Mitigating climate change was among President Barack Obama’s top priorities. In a September interview the former president told The New York Times that climate change trends are “terrifying.”
“When you see severe environmental strains of one sort or another on cultures, on civilizations, on nations, the byproducts of that are unpredictable and can be very dangerous,” Mr. Obama continued. “If the current projections, the current trend lines on a warming planet continue, it is certainly going to be enormously disruptive worldwide.”
Not everyone has been cooperative. Badlands National Park tweeted out a series of statistics about climate science before going dark late Tuesday. Those tweets have since disappeared, but I’ll memorialize them here.
- Lake Superior’s summer surface water temperatures have increased by 4.5° F (2.5°C) since 1980. #Climate
- The amount of C02 in the atmosphere has risen by 25% since 1958, and by about 40% since the Industrial Revolution. #CarbonCycle #climate
Given that President Trump’s administration has espoused “alternative facts” as a real thing, who knows what he thinks about real science. Perhaps next we will be hearing that Cleveland is subtropical. Then again, that might actually happen.
Get angry Democrats, and get moving. Unlike “alternative facts” on climate change, government censorship has become very, very real.