NASA Defiantly Releasing Climate Change Data Despite Trump Administration’s Anti-Science Agenda
Now that the U.S. has elected a climate change denier-in-chief, it’s comforting to know that NASA remains resolute in posting crucial information regarding climate change. As The Washington Post notes, NASA’s social media feeds show little, if any indication that the U.S. is now lead by the Trump administration’s science-denying merry band of disbelievers.
NASA takes one small step against Trump, one giant leap for science
Each day, NASA posts the most recent updates on Twitter (@nasaclimate) and Facebook that provide crucial information on the science surrounding climate change. And much of this information directly contradicts “alternative facts” spoken by President Donald Trump and his Cabinet cronies.
Zip. Nada. Zilch
And as NASA spokesman Steve Cole told the Post’s Capital Weather Gang the new administration hasn’t had the slightest effect on how the agency communicates science.
“We’re doing our jobs,” Cole said. “It’s business as usual.”
Early Thursday, that business turned out to be this post, a gorgeous but tragic photo by aerial photographer Timo Lieber, who is documenting climate change in Greenland.
“I want to put images right in front of people that #globalwarming is, in fact, happening,’ he said in the tweet.
— NASA Climate (@NASAClimate) February 16, 2017
Trump has repeatedly denounced climate change, and has been known to claim it’s a hoax, most famously tweeting this malarkey:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Even in a November interview with The New York Times, the president stubbornly only made one small concession — that there may be “some connectivity” between human activity and climate change.
“Some connectivity?” Try this on for size: Earlier this week NASA smacked down Trump’s ignorance on its’ @NASAClimate Twitter account with a tweet acknowledging scientific findings which conclude that humans are the main cause of the current climate change catastrophe we are now seeing.
“Humans are changing the climate 170 times faster than natural forces, according to a new study,” the tweet said.
— Yale Environment 360 (@YaleE360) February 13, 2017
This finding doesn’t just fly in the face of Trump’s erroneous views. It also contradicts the views of Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency. During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt sidestepped the issue on whether human activity has fueled climate change.
“I believe the ability to measure, with precision, the degree of human activity’s impact on the climate is subject to more debate on whether the climate is changing or whether human activity contributes to it,” he said.
But on its website, NASA is considerably less vague on the subject.
“The vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists — 97 percent — agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change,” NASA notes.
And NASA took to its Facebook page on Wednesday to highlight the tragedy of “significant” damages due to climate change, using a quote from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Trump has been widely dismissive of just how extensive anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change has been, notably telling The Washington Post “I just think we have bigger risks.”
But in its Facebook post, which links to its website, the agency states the agency has “high confidence” in predictions that temperatures will rise in the future,” and that flies in the face of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state. During his confirmation hearing, he claimed that the ability to predict the effect of increasing greenhouse gases is “very limited.”
Fortunately, none of this negativity by the recent additions to the White House has dampened NASA’s appetite for dispensing the truth. The agency has faithfully shared new information as opposed to the Trump administration’s “alternative facts.” And its steady presence on the social media is the opposite of what the Environmental Protection Agency is doing. It hasn’t even posted one tweet since Trump’s inauguration because Trump officials have posted a media blackout at the agency, The Washington Post reports.
Related: Over 800 Scientists Urgently Demand Trump Take These 6 Critical Steps NOW To Fight Climate Change
And there are those who plan to protect NASA’s valuable climate information should the Trump administration decide to crack down on the agency. On Friday, The Christian Science Monitor reported that some 200 programmers gathered last week at the University of California, Berkeley, where they collected and archived the bulk of NASA’s and the Department of Energy’s earth science data during a day-long “hackathon” in order to locate, download, and make easily available an enormous host of findings. None of the hacking was even slightly illegal. And many scientists are tired of feeling that their hands are tied due to the Trump administration’s anti-science agenda.
“There are many conversations going on right now,” said Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes, who spoke at an anti-Trump rally led by scientists in December, per The New York Times. “many scientists do feel that the time for sitting on the sidelines is past.”
It is comforting to know that NASA is looking out for the health of the planet. Especially since the Trump administration can’t clearly care less.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images