As a result of President-elect Donald Trump being a climate change denier, scientists are moving to save federal government data about climate change in the event Trump’s administration attempt to erase data in an effort to continue denying facts.
Having a little over a month to archive information before Trump takes office Jan. 20, The Washington Post reported scientists are saving federal climate change data on independent servers for safekeeping. Those efforts include work from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who have met with people from the Open Data Philly group and software company Azavea to find a way to save data sets.
Up north at the University of Toronto, researchers are having a “guerrilla archiving” event which will focus on “preserving information and data from the Environmental Protection Agency, which has programs and data at high risk of being removed from online public access or even deleted.” Those programs include projects on climate change, water, air, and toxics. Meanwhile San Francisco’s Internet Archive nonprofit organization will move forward with its End of Term project to archive federal websites through presidential transitions as it has done in previous transitions.
Though some may call the archiving paranoid, others, like Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, consider it being “prepared.”
“They have been salivating at the possibility of dismantling federal climate research programs for years. It’s not unreasonable to think they would want to take down the very data that they dispute,” Halpern said in an email, referring to Trump’s appointees who also deny climate change. “There is a fine line between being paranoid and being prepared, and scientists are doing their best to be prepared...Scientists are right to preserve data and archive websites before those who want to dismantle federal climate change research programs storm the castle.”
Trump may be meeting with environmental activists like Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore, but don’t forget the president-elect's promise to abandon NASA’s research into climate change, which has scientists alarmed.