Pushing Back on Trump War on Science
February 6, 2017
Three scientific advocacy groups have filed a legal brief in support of federal climate scientists who are being sued by the conservative organization Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch has sought to force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to release 8,000 pages of researchers’ communications regarding a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Science in June 2015.
The study debunked the notion of a global warming “hiatus” between 1998-2012, an argument used by those who dispute the scientific consensus on climate change. A recent paper by a different group of researchers affirmed NOAA’s findings, one of several confirmations.
Ordering the release of agency employees’ emails “would harm (or halt altogether) government scientists’ ability to collaborate with colleagues, damage the government’s ability to recruit or retain top scientists, and deter critically important research into politically charged fields like climate change,” said the amicus brief from the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF), American Meteorological Society and Union of Concerned Scientists.
The anxiety of climate scientists because of the NOAA litigation has intensified since the start of the Trump administration. Charges against NOAA were revived this weekend in the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, and echoed by conservative media (followed by several refutations). Climate information has been deleted from federal websites and administration officials have clamped down on communications at federal scientific agencies
“Now more than ever, it is critical that we defend climate scientists and their research,” Lauren Kurtz, executive director of CSLDF, said in a statement. “Forcing the disclosure of scientists’ private emails is invasive, unnecessary, and hugely detrimental to the scientific method.”
The amicus brief notes the lawsuit is part of a decade-long trend where “groups across the political spectrum have attempted to discredit scientific studies they dislike…by seeking to use the scientists’ emails and preliminary drafts against them.”
In 2011, for instance, the American Tradition Institute (now called the E&E Legal Institute) requested thousands of emails from climate scientist Michael Mann. The case led to a Virginia Supreme Court decision that exempts university scientists’ unpublished research from the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of current and former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are speaking out against President Donald Trump‘s pick to head the department.
About 300 people, including scores of EPA employees, rallied Monday across the street from the agency’s regional headquarters in downtown Chicago to oppose Scott Pruitt‘s nomination.
Nearly 450 former EPA officials also signed a letter sent to the U.S. Senatesaying that Pruitt is the wrong man for the job. It said Pruitt’s record “raises serious questions about whose interests he has served to date and whether he agrees with the longstanding tenets of U.S. environmental law.”
Senate Democrats boycotted a committee vote on Pruitt’s nomination last week, citing the 14 lawsuits he filed as Oklahoma’s attorney general to overturn air and water regulations issued by the very agency he now hopes to lead. Pruitt, who raised campaign money from the oil and gas industry, has also questioned the validity of climate science showing carbon emissions are the primary cause of climate change.