The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Two More Government Agencies Axed Climate Change Mentions From Reports and Websites
When the White House website removed all most all references to climate change within minutes of President Donald Trump's inauguration, it set the tone for the administration's environmental policy and led to concerns about how accurately government agencies would be allowed to report climate science during his term.
Those concerns resurfaced Monday when reports emerged that two different government agencies had removed "climate change" from documents and websites, Pacific Standard reported.
And the Center for Disease Control (CDC) removed references to climate change from its National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website, going so far as to change the name of one web page from "Climate Change and Occupational Safety and Health" to "Occupational Safety and Health and Climate," The Washington Post reported.
The Treasury Department draft was obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act. Reporters compared it to the 2016 sustainability report released by the department under the Obama administration and found that it was nearly identical, except when it came to climate change.
The 2016 report listed the department's progress on 10 environmental goals, including "Goal No. 10: Climate Change Resilience." In the 2017 draft, Goal NO. 10 was left out entirely.
The report was the product of an Obama era executive order mandating that all government agencies update the White House with their progress on 10 environmental goals, among them reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting renewable energy. Other agencies' 2017 reports continued to mention climate change. Trump reversed the executive order in May.
The CDC changes, on the other hand, were made either on or after November 14, 2016, after Trump was elected but before his inauguration.
The CDC said the changes were "planned updates," but some speculated that they were an attempt by Obama staffers to keep climate related programs safe under Trump by removing obvious references to climate change from the site.
"What they've done is, they've tried to curtail the language and keep their heads down so they can continue doing the work they want to do," outdoor worker kidney disease non-profit La Isla Network co-founder Jason Glaser told The Washington Post.
NIOSH started a working group to address the impacts of climate change on worker health during the Obama administration. Rising temperatures put outdoor workers at greater risk and climate changes may make some jobs, like wildfire fighting, more dangerous.
But the strategy to save the research could still harm the public. Environmental Data and Governance Initiative volunteer Eric Nost told Pacific Standard in January that, while government workers know that alternative phrases like "climate conditions" refer to "climate change", website visitors searching for information might not. The word swap "definitely changes how the public and policymakers understand what the issue is, what's at stake, and what it's related to," Nost said.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.
The record flooding in the Midwest that has now been blamed for four deaths could also have lasting consequences for the region's many farmers.
By Ana Santos Rutschman
The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.
On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first 20 chemicals it plans to prioritize as "high priority" for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Given the EPA's record of malfeasance on chemicals policy over the past two years, it is clear that these are chemicals that EPA is prioritizing to ensure that they are not properly evaluated or regulated.
Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.