Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Government Climate scientists are upset that President Trump wants them to avoid using emotive language in their press releases.
Trump official said scientists went ‘beyond their wheelhouse’ by writing climate change ‘dramatically’ shrank Montana glaciers
By Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin March 7
A U.S. Geological Survey study documenting how climate change has “dramatically reduced” glaciers in Montana came under fire from high-level Interior Department officials last May, according to a batch of newly released records under the Freedom of Information Act, as they questioned federal scientists’ description of the decline.
Doug Domenech, assistant secretary for insular areas at Interior, alerted colleagues in a May 10 email to the language the USGS had used to publicize a study documenting the shrinking of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966.
The news release began: “The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent.”
Highlighting that sentence, Domenech wrote to three other Interior officials, “This is a perfect example of them going beyond their wheelhouse.”
The USGS, the main scientific arm of Interior, publicly describes its mission as providing “impartial information” about the environment, including “the impacts of climate.” The agency has studied climate change since at least the 1970s.
Andrew Fountain, a geology professor at Portland State University who co-authored the study, said he had heard rumors that Interior officials were unhappy. “In short, they just didn’t like the idea we found yet more evidence of climate warming,” Fountain said.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/07/trump-official-said-scientists-went-outside-their-wheelhouse-by-writing-climate-change-dramatically-shrunk-montana-glaciers/
The referenced email is available here (h/t Washington Post).
What a shocking development – government climate scientists are being required to objectively report their findings, instead of trying to influence the political process by publishing emotionally charged official press releases.