The following is an excerpt from Steve Benen | msnbc.com |
Scientists who study global warming and the climate crisis rely heavily on government data to document broader trends. What happens when Americans elect a climate-denying television personality to the presidency, and he chooses a variety of other climate deniers to lead key agencies?
Well, it’s obviously time to secure the data before Donald Trump and his team take office. The Washington Post reported yesterday that scientists are scrambling in advance of Jan. 20.
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.
Just so we’re clear, neither Trump nor anyone on his team has threatened to start trashing evidence of climate change. Scientists aren’t scrambling in response to an explicit threat, but rather, just as a precautionary move.
And unfortunately, that’s not an outrageous idea. Trump has said he believes climate data is part of a conspiracy cooked up by China, and his recent rhetoric on the crisis has been incoherent. The incoming White House chief of staff recently said the president-elect’s “default position” is that climate science, in general, “is a bunch of bunk.”
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