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Fearing Trump, scientists scramble to backup U.S. climate data, research

Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 14, 2016

As President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet continues to grow, so does the number of climate change deniers in it.

That has many climate scientists in the U.S. in a full-blown panic, worried that government research and data on climate change may disappear.

Over the weekend Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and self-proclaimed "climate hawk," tweeted out a request for any government climate databases to be copied and backed up.


Holthaus worried in the Washington Post about a "21st century book burning" of climate data when Trump takes office.

Now the University of Toronto is hosting what it's calling a "guerrilla archiving" event this Saturday to add as many of the databases to the internet archive as possible.

Patrick Keilty is a professor of data sciences at the University of Toronto and is organizing the archiving event.

"Every new administration changes government websites when they come into power," he said via Skype. "We were especially worried about data that was a part of government agencies they want to cut."

In the past, Trump has claimed that the global warming was manufactured by the Chinese and has pledged to undo President Obama's climate policies when in office.

Keilty says there is precedent for worrying.

A government report in 2007 found the Bush administration routinely changed or suppressed climate data.

Keilty says his school in Canada is involved because Canadian climate policy is influenced by the U.S., and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took climate data offline.

The Trump transition team is disavowing a request sent to the Department of Energy asking for all the names of government scientists who worked on researching climate change.

The Obama administration denied the request, and Trump's team says the person who sent it has been "counseled."