is a central pillar of the Trump administration’s efforts to hide climate science. The Trump White House was in the news late last year
for its attempt to bury a government report that squarely refuted the
administration’s climate denial and government scientists who resist the
Trump administration’s censorship are being let go by the federal
government. Maria Caffrey is a 37 year old scientist who is a model of scientific integrity. She worked under contract for the National Park
Service and produced a report outlining the risks of rising seas
at national parks.
As reported by Elizabeth Shogren in a Reveal article, she lost her job as a government scientist after she “resisted
efforts by federal officials to remove all references to human causes
of climate change” in her study. Caffreys report reviews the
relationship between greenhouse gas emissions (mostly from the burning
of fossil fuels) and sea level rise at 118 coastal parks.
After Democratic members of Congress called for an
investigation, the park service released the report with all the
Caffrey said she was yelled at by her supervisors who
also threatened to kill the report or remove her name unless she agreed
to remove references to climate change. Her supervisors were under
intense pressure some of whom told her they could “lose their jobs or be
transferred if she didn’t capitulate”.
As explained by Shogren, Caffrey’s predicament
exposes, “the difficult situation many scientists face as President
Donald Trump’s administration tries to suppress research on topics that
he doesn’t consider a priority.”
This is not a unique case. According to a report from Columbia Law
School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law there have been 194
examples of the federal government censoring, hindering, or sidelining
climate change science since Trump was elected.
Early drafts of the report obtained by Reveal show
some of the ways park services tried to censor the report. This includes
removal of the word “anthropogenic” and “human activities” to try to
obscure the fact that humans are the primary drivers of planetary
warming and climate change.
Caffrey’s website that helped people visualize sea level
rise has been removed. Her attempts to secure other government science
contracts have been rejected.
The Interior Department’s Inspector General and the
park service’s scientific integrity officer have closed their
investigations into whether the agency violated its scientific integrity
policies. However, Congressional Democrats have requested a broader
As Caffrey explained in a Mother Jones article, she doesn’t regret her decision to stand up for her science saying, “I
wouldn’t do anything different”. However, her experience begs the question how
many other scientists have quietly capitulated to censorship to keep