President Donald Trump has demonstrated at many points during his presidency his refusal to acknowledge the realities of global climate change.
Indeed, at many junctures during his tenure, he’s trivialized the dire warnings that have been made, and whined over accolades given to those who have been recognized as leaders on the issue.
Now, a new report from the New York Times demonstrates that individuals within the Interior Department aren’t just supporting the president’s views, but making blatant attempts to edit government documents to match his views.
An Interior Department official named Indur Goklany was promoted by Trump in 2017 to a position where he was responsible for reviewing climate policies of the agency.
That appointment in itself was controversial: Goklany, according to reporting from DeSmog Blog, received $1,000 per month from the Heartland Institute, for work on something called the Nonintergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). The project had a primary goal to “convey that there is a scientific debate about climate change.”
But while working for Interior, Goklany was also busy trying to create doubt about the science. In at least nine government reports, he apparently inserted language that tried to confuse would-be readers about whether climate change was settled science or not.
A Trump official at the Interior Department has been sneaking climate denial language into official government reports—reports that impact our government's response to climate change.https://t.co/vjBySM49Gs
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) March 2, 2020
Language that Goklany inserted into the docs included debunked claims that increased levels of carbon dioxide have actually been good for the world as they “may increase plant water use efficiency” and “lengthen the agricultural growing season.” Both claims have been shown to be false by numerous studies.
Goklany also allegedly inserted wording into government documents that suggested there were doubts about claims over whether the Earth’s average temperatures were rising or not.
A spokesperson for the department tried to justify his actions.
“Uncertainty is a part of climate modeling, as it is with all scientific modeling,” Marlon Duke, acting public affairs chief at the Interior Department said.
According to NASA, “97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree” that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”
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