Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trump's bullying continues: Department of Energy refuses to reveal names of climate scientists to Trump

The Department of Energy (DOE) has refused to give the individual names of workers associated with work on climate change in response to a request from President-elect Donald Trump.

While a request for information for an incoming president is not unusual, questions from the Trump team asking for lists of who was involved with climate change research and negotiations under the Obama administration raised fears of a "witch hunt" among many DOE employees. Mr. Trump has called human-caused climate change a "hoax" on multiple occasions, putting him at odds with the majority of the scientific community.

While most politicians prefer agencies under their control to be staffed by employees and researchers sympathetic to their ideas and causes, the specific nature of the request and potential high cost of climate change denial have made this situation unprecedented. Few, if any, credible climate scientists still doubt that human activity contributes in some way to global warming, and most world powers agree that immediate action is necessary on a global scale in order to prevent warming to dangerous levels. In addition to the environmental concerns, many critics of Trump are also worried that his transition team's request indicates that climate change workers who are just doing their jobs could be unjustly marginalized by the incoming administration.

Last week, the Trump team sent a questionnaire to the DOE asking for details about various aspects in the agency's policies, not in itself an unusual occurrence. But as as The Christian Science Monitor previously reported:

The questionnaire specifically asked for the names of all DOE employees who attended the United Nation’s annual climate talks for the past five years, employees who helped develop the President Obama’s social cost of carbon metrics, and which programs are essential to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

All of which raises concerns that Trump’s administration will target employees involved in Obama-era policies that the president-elect spent his campaign promising to dismantle, including the Paris Climate Agreement, Clean Power Plan, and various other DOE and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

"The identity of employees that worked on climate change projects may be a reasonable administrative request; however, their affiliations would seem to be beyond the pale, and an implicit statement that the employees are motivated by small 'p' politics rather than science." Daniel Riesel, principal of the environmental law firm Sive, Paget & Riesel, tells the Monitor in an email. "The new administration should be able to evaluate the climate change work without meddling in the employees’ personal predilections – unless of course that is the basis of the new Administration’s approach to climate change science."[...]
In an act of defiance to protect these employees, no less unprecedented than the initial questionnaire itself, the Department of Energy has refused to give Trump the names of specific employees requested by the team.[...]

But despite the evident strong feelings of the current administrators of the department, Eberly says the DOE would likely not be able to refuse or ignore a similar request under the Trump administration.[...]


  1. How much does the guy who wrote this article do about climate change? Does he avoid plane flights, meat and ride a bike?


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