President Donald Trump and his administration have censored or stifled science — particularly climate science — almost 100 times since the election.
This adds up to a reckless and unprecedented war on science, according to the Silencing Science Tracker, which tallies up all of the budget cuts to science, the record low number of science positions filled by Trump, the deletion of science data from websites, the censorship of the words “climate change” from federal reports, and so on.
The tracker is a new initiative from the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
The center’s faculty adviser, Michael Gerrard, called Trump’s blinkered decision to ignore science “dangerous and intolerable,” like “a truck driver who wears a blindfold and drives based on what is whispered into his ear.” That’s especially reckless when the truck driver is speeding toward a cliff called catastrophic climate change.
The tracker has been monitoring efforts to “restrict or prohibit scientific research, education or discussion, or the publication or use of scientific information” since Trump was elected.
Since the tracker is entirely based on what has been reported by the media, this suggests the actual degree to which the administration is directly undermining science may be much higher.
To date, the tracker has 96 entries, including 41 examples of outright government censorship. For instance, “on December 20, 2017, ninety-two documents describing national parks’ climate action plans were removed from the National Park Service (NPS) website.”
And climate change is already an area where the public is not receiving enough factual information and instead is forced to wade through an open fire hydrant of misinformation from the fossil fuel-funded effort to promote climate science denial.
The tracker has also tallied dozens of instances of the administration stifling or silencing scientific work — for instance, by failing to appoint people for key positions of scientific oversight and by putting out a new National Security Strategy that removes “climate change” from its list of threats to our national security.
“America has excelled as a nation in large part because its unwavering governmental support for science and technology,” Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist, told ThinkProgress. “By censoring and stifling scientific research—in the area of climate change in particular—Trump threatens both our economic competitiveness as a nation—and our safety.”