It’s a well-known fact that many Republican politicians are skeptical, to say the least, about climate change and the role that humans play in causing it. This has always been worrisome, but it’s only becoming more so in 2018. With a Republican administration in the White House, there’s now significant concern that the federal government will abuse its power by censoring information about climate science. Case in point: The Washington Post reported that the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate change website, once a valuable resource, went down a year ago for “updating.” It’s still not back yet.
During the Obama years, the EPA’s climate page plainly stated that climate change is caused by humans; this point was considered uncontroversial. But now, with Donald Trump in the Oval Office and Scott Pruitt running the EPA, web content that expresses that viewpoint has been archived. Site visitors are simply redirected to a page saying, “this page is being updated.”
Advocates for fighting climate change say this lengthy delay is completely unnecessary.
“If any errors were present, they could have been fixed with minor editing,” Carnegie Institution climate scientist Ken Caldeira told the Post. “There was no cause for a wholesale review of the site’s materials.”
It’s unclear whether the climate change content will ever come back to the EPA’s site. The Post reported that “skepticism is rising” whether it will, both “inside the agency and out.” Sources told the newspaper that no one at the EPA is even assigned to address the issue at present. It took one day to take the pages down, back in January 2017; it’s taken almost a year and a half to put them back. Clearly, it doesn’t add up.
If these pages remain down for the foreseeable future, the impact could be significant. Scrapping this content sends a message that the federal government no longer cares about climate change—a message that could have a ripple effect. Corporations may decide that they’re free to engage in practices that pollute the planet, and the United States’ foreign allies may start to question whether we as a nation can still be trusted.
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