Climate Change References Keep Disappearing From the EPA's Website, for Some Reason

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As the Northeast comes down from a dangerous heat wave—the likes of which scientists say we’ll be seeing more and more of as the earth burns—there’s this fun, if unsurprising news: the Trump administration seems to be removing language related to climate change at a rapid rate. The sea turtles won’t die if you delete them from the archives first.

According to a report by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI), federal environmental websites’ use of climate change-related terms like “clean energy,” “adaptation,” along with literally “climate change,” dropped 26 percent between 2016 and 2018. These sites included the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, which saw the biggest decline in climate change references and was the 1,750th most-visited government website this year.

The EDGI’s report found that instead of clear-cut language describing a scientifically supported (and, at this point, very visible) climate crisis, the Trump Administration used opaque terms like “resilience,” “sustainability,” and “energy independence,” the latter of which Vice points out sounds a lot like “energy dominance,” an early Trump plan to boost the production of domestic fossil fuels.


Per the report summary:

Rather than cultivating the informational resources necessary to confront climate change, the Trump administration has attempted to remove the topic from federal agency websites, a clear policy indicator in line with withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and revoking the Clean Power Plan. While prominent political, journalistic, and scientific entities are sharpening the language they use to describe the climate crisis, we see precisely the opposite from this administration: removal of the term ”climate change” and its replacement with less clear language.

The report also found the EPA webpages were filled with broken links that had once led to climate change-related pages and resources, and that they had changed certain descriptions of science and scientists, making them less climate change-specific.

None of this should come as much of a surprise, since the Trump Administration’s made no secret of its antagonism toward climate science. Still, it’s chilling to consider how it’s not just the pro-emissions legislation, but the subtle changes that’ll help propel us toward apocalyptic climate doom.


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