Officials within the Trump administration reportedly weighed ignoring climate change data last year, according to a leaked internal memo obtained by the Washington Post.
Drafted last September by former special assistant for domestic energy and environmental policy Michael Catanzaro, the document indicates that the White House was torn over whether to "ignore" government-backed studies on climate change or to "consider having a firm position on and a coherent, fact-based message about climate science ― specifically, whether, and to what extent, anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are affecting the climate system, and what level of concern that warrants."
The memo contained three potential courses of action. In the first, "red team/blue team" debates would "highlight uncertainties" in climate data. The second option was to use the Administrative Procedure Act to review scientific studies, and the third option was to "ignore, and not seek to characterize or question, the science being conducted by Federal agencies and outside entities."
Simply accepting the findings of scientists was not an option the White House was considering.
Remember that "red team, blue team" debate on climate change that Scott Pruitt proposed for E.P.A.? Here's who kill… https://t.co/ZNS6EqRxy5— NYT Climate (@NYT Climate) 1520625708.0
In March, the New York Times reported White House Chief of Staff John Kelly shut down the idea of a "red team/blue team" debate over climate science, something which was backed by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt is an outspoken denier of climate change and has overseen the rolling back of numbers environmental protection regulations since his appointment last year.
Unlike Pruitt, Kelly shares "the pragmatic view held by military leaders including Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, that climate change is happening and poses a serious national security challenge."
The White House, however, continues to downplay the realities of man-made climate change despite regular findings by government scientists documenting the risks posed by anthropogenic climate change. The administration's fossil fuel-friendly policies indicate that climate science, even when conducted by President Donald Trump's own agencies, is met with hostility and skepticism.
@party_kong @CaucusOnClimate Thanks for your note--generally, the debate process is handled through the process of… https://t.co/q3mcNQ3Vfz— NYT Climate (@NYT Climate) 1520698673.0
Last Friday, the Trump administration sought to censor a report by the National Park Service which laid out the threat that rising sea levels and intensifying storms posed to our national parks. After the paper's lead researcher accused the Trump administration of attempting to remove language referencing human-caused climate change, the paper was published without redaction.
"The scientific evidence about accelerating effects of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is so strong, and so prevalent, that it would be impossible to hush it up even if you wanted to," Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said in a phone interview. "Coral deaths and glacier melting and sea-level rise, and all of these things are just so well documented and there's just new evidence every day, whether it's from USGS, or [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration], or NASA, or Department of Energy, or various academic institutions. It just can't be swept under the rug."
Democratic lawmakers raged at these reports, slamming the "ignorance" of those who seek to bury the truth about climate change.
"Ignore," distort, or censor. Those are the options the Trump White House is considering to deal with the overwhelm… https://t.co/OVPYMjgJGM— Senator Jeff Merkley (@Senator Jeff Merkley) 1527120180.0
"Climate change is real," tweeted Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). "It impacts New Hampshire every day. Ignoring the overwhelming evidence only sets us back further in addressing this serious threat."
Climate change is real. It impacts New Hampshire every day. Ignoring the overwhelming evidence only sets us back fu… https://t.co/DL6LHuhF5T— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@Sen. Jeanne Shaheen) 1527111136.0