In fear of an administration that could dismantle gains made to combat climate change, efforts are underway to preserve climate data stored by the federal government. Scientists and volunteers have begun a frantic move to archive this data before Donald Trump takes office.
It was a tweet from “climate hawk” Eric Holthaus that started the movement.
Scientists: Do you have a US .gov climate database that you don’t want to see disappear?
Add it here:https://t.co/IEN8OUc4Tr
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) December 11, 2016
Hundreds have answered his call.
Decades of climate data on weather patterns, forest fires, carbon emissions and more exist across dozens of .gov sites. The creation of website and server refuges are underway, providing safe storage for the irreplaceable data. A guerrilla archiving event will take place in Toronto Saturday. Volunteers have offered everything from pro bono legal advice to data entry to pizza delivery for the archiving event.
It’s no secret that Donald Trump is out to dismantle the federal government’s control of environmental regulation. During his campaign he tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Though he has since backed off from that comment, his cabinet choices impose a sense of doom for policies to fight climate change. Rick Perry, who once promised to abolish the Department of Energy (despite not remembering its name in a now-infamous primary debate), will now lead that department. The Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, is the CEO of Exxon Mobil, a company that has long lobbied for climate change denial.
Recent frightening developments prove that Trump’s campaign rhetoric will be turned into action. The Washington Post reports that Trump’s transition team has “asked agency officials for names of employees and contractors who have participated in international climate talks and worked on the scientific basis for Obama administration-era regulations of carbon emissions.”
Saving the data is only a first step. Continuing research and climate activism is key for any kind of forward movement.