Team Trump's Witch Hunt For Climate Scientists Was 'Unauthorized,' Disregard This Smoldering Pyre!
Any Energy Dept employees turned into newts now better
Donald Trump's transition team backed away Wednesday from that questionnaire sent to the Energy Department asking for the names of any employees who had worked on projects or attended conferences involving climate change, insisting it was all a big mistake, and no, there was never any thought of purging employees, don't be silly, why would you think that just because the New Boss says it's a hoax invented by China? Gosh, you sciencey types are paranoid!
The Energy Department is resisting an attempt to identify climate scientists who may have done science Trump doesn't like.
And apparently it worked. Instead of an angry early morning tweetstorm promising to unleash hell on the troublemakers, the Trump transition team's reply was to insist the questionnaire had been sent by some newbie and was not official, no, not at all:
"The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol," Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said. "The person who sent it has been properly counseled."
We would prefer not to think about what "proper counseling" consists of in Trump Tower. It may involve electrodes.
The Reuters account notes, not without what sounds like some subtle snark, that "Spicer declined to comment further on the team's protocols."
A spokesperson for the Energy Department said Wednesday the Trump transition team's reversal on the questionnaire was a hopeful signal the transition would proceed smoothly.
Nonetheless, the Trumpers' questionnaire was enough to give scientists a good scare; since the memo went out late last week, scientists have been making a concerted effort to copy government-collected climate data onto independent servers, just in case somewhere down the line the Trump administration tries to elminate funding for climate research:
The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.
“Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to hedge against,” said Nick Santos, an environmental researcher at the University of California at Davis, who over the weekend began copying government climate data onto a nongovernment server, where it will remain available to the public. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”
Four (Or Five) Novels To Prepare You For Life In Trump's America. Like Anything Could Prepare You For That.
We wouldn't call it escapist, but it's all fiction. For now.
Do we really need an environment anyway?
Not long before the Trump disavowal, two Democratic members of Congress had warned Team Trump to be careful about thinking they could go messing with career civil servants:
Democratic U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone and Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the head of the transition, saying the team is entitled to select political appointees who share Trump's climate views, but that any effort to marginalize civil servants on the basis of their scientific analysis would be an "abuse of authority."
So hooray for now -- the purges are on hold at least until Trump is actually inaugurated and he can find a way to really make heads roll. The man's all about efficiency.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.