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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
Journalist
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Tuesday, 16 April 2019

This Is How The Trump Administration Silences Science

2I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone that Donald Trump is a science denier, and that his administration has gone to great lengths to smother the consensus on climate change: That it's real, that it's dangerous, and that it's us causing it. Leaving the President's Twitter activity aside, the US government has targeted, fundamentally, the last part of that consensus: That greenhouse gas emissions related to human activity is behind global warming.

But how do you actually silence science? We have seen in the past how to misguide it and mislead the debate, but undermining the work of independent scientists to the point of silence is a completely different thing. Listen, and you'll find out.

This podcast, produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting, follows the story of Maria Caffrey, a British climate scientist working for the US National Parks Service. During the Obama presidency, Maria investigated how much flooding could be expected in national parks because of climate change. She got a big report ready in May 2017, with Trump already in office. But then, the publication was delayed. And then, again. And suddenly, it was already 2018, and Maria's report still hadn't seen the light.

The draft had been heavily edited, paying attention to erasing any reference to the human cause of climate change. Maria was pushed to accept the changes, but she wouldn't yield. She was threatened, as were some of her colleagues.

However, Maria didn't give up. The censorship eventually became public (through Reveal, the same organization behind the podcast), and the report was published, but other forms of silencing ensued. Data was hidden. Visualization websites were unlisted. She was removed from the project.

This podcast was published in January. It's a great piece of traditional investigative journalism. It's 51 minutes long, with good pace and professional production. If you liked Drilled, this is a great look at the other side of the climate denial coin.

This Is How The Trump Administration Silences Science
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