Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Climate Scientists Coming to Terms with Skeptical Trump Administration

Climate scientists worried that President-elect Donald Trump will slash their budgets and sideline their research are entering survival mode, trimming the words “climate change” from study proposals, emphasizing business applications of their work, and safeguarding data that shows global warming is real. The early reactions, gathered by Reuters in more than a dozen interviews, may foretell a broader shift in the U.S. climate science community, which had enjoyed solid political and financial support under President Barack Obama but could be isolated under a new administration skeptical of climate change and committed to expanding oil drilling and coal mining. “I think it is maybe really necessary to refocus what you are doing and how you are labeling it,” said Andreas Prein, a scientist at the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research, who previously had changed the term “climate change” in a project for the oil industry and expects such linguistic twists to proliferate...Federal funding for climate change research, technology and international assistance hit $11.6 billion in 2014, from $2.4 billion in 1993, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. While Trump has not explicitly said he would cut such funding, one of his advisers told The Guardian newspaper last month that climate research at NASA would be eliminated...more

How are they "coming to terms"? They will just change some terms in their requests for federal dollars. 
Prein at National Center for Atmospheric Research said he had replaced the politically charged term “climate change” with “global change” in a project he submitted for the oil industry. He said that regardless of how it is labeled, interest in climate research would likely endure given the importance of extreme weather forecasting to a broad array of industries, like insurance and energy. However, he was concerned the longer-term work crucial to understanding the scope of global warming could lose critical support. Climate scientist Ben Sanderson, also at NCAR, told Reuters he is applying to renew funding for assessing uncertainty in climate change. “Now the proposal would have to be defensible without referring to climate change explicitly, so to talk about weather risks in general,” he said. Tracey Holloway, an air quality scientist at the University of Wisconsin, said she believed simple word changes sometimes could help scientists avoid trouble. Using the term “weather” instead of “climate change,” for example, could work for studies that deal with a short-term time scale, she said.

In other words, hide or distort the purpose of the research, or whatever it takes to keep those federal bucks flowing your way. The same ingredients, just change "how it is labeled."

What is this "DataRefuge"?

But Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist who writes for online magazine Slate, has taken efforts to protect scientists and their work a step further. He spearhead an effort, with the support of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto, to let scientists move their data onto publicly available non-government servers. The project, called “DataRefuge,” is intended to eliminate the chances of political interference with the data, he said.

So they now fear their own government. A classic case of "live by the sword, die by the sword." And we'll be watching to see if their sword-distorting tactic is successful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If climate change or gloBull warming looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is still a duck !! They can label it however they wish but it will still be a HOAX that puts money in faux researchers pockets. I hope Trump will take that stance.