UCSD Scientists Stress Out Over Trump Suppressing Climate Change Data
Campus officials intend to discuss what they should do during a March 21 meeting at the school’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, whose research has been used for decades to shape climate agreements.
The ideas include real-time storage and protection of data that Scripps collects around the world — from the Antarctic to the Indian Ocean to California’s coastline.
The situation at UC San Diego resembles efforts by scientists, librarians, environmental activists and others across the country to preserve climate data housed at colleges and on government websites.
Representatives of the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said they’re worried that President Trump and his team could suppress information that’s central to policy discussions, international treaties and business regulations.
In the past two months, the Trump administration has scrubbed mentions of climate change from several White House web pages.
It also has removed a variety of data from federal websites, making them available only through specialized requests. And it’s aiming to impose double-digit cuts to a range of agencies, including those with deep involvement in climate science.
But there’s no evidence that Trump and his assistants have destroyed any climate data, and they haven’t indicated any intention to do so.
The situation reflects how politicized climate-change discussions have become. As Trump uses his high profile to criticize the scientific community’s main findings on climate change, researchers increasingly ponder worst-case actions by his administration.
The president has repeatedly denied the existence of global warming or cast doubt on it. He has called climate change an “expensive hoax” and said, “I am not a great believer in man-made climate change.”
Scott Pruitt — head of the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal government’s leading enforcer on climate-change issues — said last week that he doesn’t believe carbon dioxide is a “primary contributor” to climate change.
The same remarks are fueling anxiety in research labs and stoking interest in political protests, including the March for Science, which is set to be held in Washington and other locations on April 22 — Earth Day.
UC San Diego, one of the nation’s 10 largest research universities, sharpened its focus on climate data 18 months ago after learning that the federal government is trimming support for archiving such information.