As President Trump and his administration attempt to normalize ‘alternative facts,’ they will inevitably try to use similar sophistry to debate climate change. With the new cabinet so blatantly in favor of corporate wealth and expanded oil and gas development, climate change is one reality that is certain to be on the list of inconvenient facts to be denied, deleted from federal websites, and discouraged from being disseminated. Despite unequivocal agreement within the scientific community and evidence conclusively demonstrating a cause and effect relationship between the planet’s warming due to human activity – primarily fossil fuel combustion – and a host of dangerous climate change impacts, we can expect to see heavy-handed censorship of scientific information about how and why the global climate is changing from this climate-change denying administration. President Trump is not the first to employ politically motivated tactics strategically aimed at preventing the federal government from issuing serious warnings regarding a climate-disrupted future – including the evidence behind these warnings embodied in climate science data sets and information – from reaching the public. We can expect, at the very least, many of this new White House’s actions and policies to evolve from or replicate actions taken by appointees during the George W. Bush Administration to edit and suppress the products of federally-supported climate change science and policy research.
Yesterday, The Washington Post announced a White Paper that I researched and authored as a 2016 CSPW Fellow under Harvard University’s Mindich Summer Fellowship. While writing the Paper, it became clear that the orchestrated campaign to keep the American public from grasping the full extent of the climate threat could easily happen again.