Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data — If They Can Find It

Mar 9, 2017

By Amy Harmon

As the presidential inauguration drew near in January, something bordering on panic was taking hold among some scientists who rely on the vast oceans of data housed on government servers, which encompass information on everything from social demographics to satellite photographs of polar ice.

In a Trump administration that has made clear its disdain for the copious evidence that human activity is warming the planet, researchers feared a broad crusade against the scientific information provided to the public. Reports last week that the administration is proposing deep budget cuts for government agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have fueled new fears of databases being axed, if only as a cost-saving measure.

“We’ll probably be saying goodbye to much of the invaluable data housed at the NCEI,” Anne Jefferson, a water hydrology professor at Kent State University, wrote on Twitter Saturday, referring to the National Centers for Environmental Information. “Hope it gets rescued in time.”

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18 comments on “Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data — If They Can Find It

  • I just saw this headline reported from the AP: ‘EPA chief: Carbon dioxide not primary cause of warming’. Specifically,

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said measuring the effect of human
    activity on the climate is “very challenging” and that “there’s
    tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact” of carbon dioxide
    and other greenhouse gases.

    “So, no, I would not agree that (carbon dioxide) is a primary
    contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt told CNBC’s
    “Squawk Box.”

    To paraphrase the Sierra Club later in the piece:

    “The arsonist is now in charge of the fire department, and he seems happy to let the climate crisis burn out of control”. So yes, this topic is timely.



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  • Steven007 #1
    Mar 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said measuring the effect of human
    activity on the climate is “very challenging”

    It is especially challenging for science illiterates who don’t listen to the consensus of experts!

    and that “there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact” of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

    . . . . coming from the propagandists of the coal industry and their political stooges!
    From the 97%+ of climate experts who have published work on the subject – not much disagreement at all!

    “So, no, I would not agree that (carbon dioxide) is a primary
    contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt told CNBC’s
    “Squawk Box.”

    “Squawk Box.” does seem to be a very appropriate name for propagandist parrot Pruitt’s ignorant comments! – so ignorant that any honest scientist would be embarrassed to say such stupid things, – but hey!- Stupidity and ignorance is a prime management qualification in the Trump administration!

    I do hope there are some cartoonists working for the quality press who are good at drawing dunces hats for the lined up dunce squad!



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  • @Vicki (#2)

    Great link, Vicki. And thanks for the heads up re: the Climate March!

    I read elsewhere that there are fewer advanced degrees in this Cabinet than there were in any other dating back nearly 30 years. You literally could not have conceived of a more ill fitting Cabinet. Nearly every pick is either clueless about their post or, as in the case with Pruitt, nearly 180 degrees opposed to the very tenets of the Department! As someone very ignorant once said, “sad!”



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  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said measuring the effect of human
    activity on the climate is “very challenging”

    I think muppet Pruitt, is likely to find, that regardless of any sabotage committed in the USA, with the help of ESA. rapidly increasing numbers of people are going to find it progressively less challenging!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/03/former-epa-scientists-to-trump-evidence-does-not-change-when-the-administration-changes/#li-comment-219486

    One of the key spacecraft in Europe’s new multi-billion-euro Earth observation programme has launched from French Guiana.

    Sentinel-2B carries a large camera to image all land surfaces and coastal waters in visible and infrared light.

    It joins an identical spacecraft, Sentinel-2A, already in orbit.

    The duo will be flown on the same path but 180 degrees apart so that they can provide a complete map of Earth – clouds permitting – every five days.

    Applications range from urban planning and air-quality monitoring to tracking deforestation and glacier retreat.

    Sensitive to 13 bands of light, the instruments will observe a range of properties in the things they see, allowing for example the distinction to be made between different types of crops and for an assessment to be made about their health.

    Together, they will be producing something like four terabytes of data daily.
    It is a prodigious volume that will lean on the assistance of a laser relay link.

    For a 10-minute spell on each orbit, the spacecraft will each fire their images not down to Earth but higher into the sky, to a geostationary satellite that will then bounce them to the ground.

    Thousands of users have registered to have access to the pictures. Downloading them from the various distributed servers has been made easier by chopping the “scenes” up into more manageable chunks.



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  • We’ll be getting our own Trump and May Climate Change protest march in London April 29th. I’ll be there.

    Here is some news out of Stanford and Berkley via the MIT Technology Review.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603158/hotter-days-will-drive-global-inequality/

    The GDP delta produced by Global warming by 2099 will be astonishingly large.

    The great catastrophe will be for hot countries in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Southern Asia and indonesia. Their GDP’s will be reduced by 75% to 95% (!!!!) of what they would have been without the warming.

    Warm countries like USA, China, Japan and Australia will be reduced by 35 to 45%.

    Temperate countries like the UK, Germany, Ukraine will see an uplift of 40 to 80%

    Cold countires like Canada, Scandiwegia, Russia will see an uplift of 250 to 500%

    a) The catastrophe awaiting Africa is sooo much worse than I thought it to be. This is who to march for.

    b) American citizens emigrate north for your children’s sake.

    c) Trump is making this catastrophe a certainty and will inflict on the grandchildren of American citizens a much more economically powerful (570%) and intimidating Russia and a European Union Market that will dwarf the USA by two or three to one, up from parity.

    Incidentally, fncking thank you once more Brexiteers for taking my eco products for the EU market and trashing their profitability there. I’ll insist you are all out on the streets of London on the 29th April to ensure this salt of a huge euro market, is not rubbed in my wounds. Thank you.





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  • Is it possible that some civil activist group, scientist group or science establishment, or a political party to sue people like Pruitt for high treason? According to the scientists and their documented facts, it means that people from Trump administration are making treason against the state and its citizens (by falsification of scientific facts). I would like to see scientist (if they protect and honour their work) to act in this way. Sue Pruitt and other bastads! I think, more concrete steps must be drawn to fight rising of totalitarianism. Not just point at this cases (writing in newspapers or blogs) and go home. Perhaps would wider comunity stand with them. 🙂
    Anyway, good to here about protests (even in London!) Oh, how I would like to see some lawsuits against this monsters of high treason.

    By the way,… is this falsification of scientific evidence, and denial of warming of the planet by human activity has an aim to improve artificial means of food production (which Trump and his friends from corporations can do it, because they have money and means)? I mean, a goal to destroy everyone elses agriculture (with this omission concerning global worming) and then place their product without competition? 🙁



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  • Modesti #8
    Mar 11, 2017 at 5:05 am

    By the way,… is this falsification of scientific evidence, and denial of warming of the planet by human activity has an aim to improve artificial means of food production (which Trump and his friends from corporations can do it, because they have money and means)? I mean, a goal to destroy everyone elses agriculture (with this omission concerning global worming) and then place their product without competition?

    As Tropical deserts expand, droughts and floods increase, and coastal lands become inundated or more prone to storm damage, there will certainly be scope of speculators profit from trading in land and property! Even famine and shortages of crops after storms or bad harvests, open up opportunities for big-time futures market-traders sitting on large warehoused stocks of food crops, to profit from disaster!

    Trump trademarks:- businesses including branded spas, massage parlors, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real-estate companies, retail shops, restaurants, bars, and private bodyguard and escort services.

    As Trump’s portfolio of businesses demonstrates, it is possible to make billions by engaging in industries or services which provide no benefit to the larger population, or the world’s poor!



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  • EPA [foolishly appointed] Administrator Scott Pruitt

    A blockhead so stupid, ignorant, and mentally perverse, that when put in a department full of climatology, meteorology, and environmental experts who are paid to answer his questions and brief him, he still can’t learn the basics to high-school level!



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  • @ Alan,

    Thank you Alan ;). Helpful as always. 🙂 Sometimes I can not believe that some persons are capable to destroy whole societies and countries for personal profit,… but then I get serious and wake up from a dream that capitalists can understand goodness or as you say some basics of high school level.



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  • @ Vicki

    Can you believe it! 🙂 Children have made lawsuit! Wonderful! Thank you for the link.

    “A groundbreaking climate lawsuit, brought against the federal government by 21 children, has been hailed by environmentalists as a bold new strategy…”. I hope children will win this, and I hope they are not alone in this. So brave. Very often I think that this violence against Nature should not concern only people who live in country where this violence is occurring… I mean if someone is polluting air it is poluting it for whole Earth inhabitans. And it is so with waters, forests or soil. I think that those people should be prosecuted on an international level and get the strictest penalties, because they are essencially making genocide as well as ecocide. I didn’t know about this lawsuits, but it is good to now that there are people fighting back.

    “One of the things that the government argues is that the preservation of documents itself represents a burden on the government,” …well give it to me if it is so hard to keep it! Can you believe this bold responce from government! Keeping of this documents represent a burden for them! I am just affraid that whole thing will go by the board because of people and judges can be bought. 🙁 But I hope they will not.



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  • 14
    Garrick says:

    Vicki #11

    Thanks, Vicki, for that link to the article about the children’s lawsuit against the US federal government in defence of their birthright, a stable and viable environment. I was wondering whether, with all the sound evidence that has now been compiled and continues to be compiled, showing that the increased input of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from human activity into the atmosphere is indeed warming the entire global climate, it might be possible for a lawsuit to be brought against governments and companies guilty of contributing significantly to this warming process and the disastrous effects it will have. So I am delighted to learn of this lawsuit and I hope it is eventually successful in getting a rogue government like that of the USA to take responsible steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy sources.



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  • Garrick #14
    Mar 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I was wondering whether, with all the sound evidence that has now been compiled and continues to be compiled, showing that the increased input of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from human activity into the atmosphere is indeed warming the entire global climate, it might be possible for a lawsuit to be brought against governments and companies guilty of contributing significantly to this warming process and the disastrous effects it will have.

    There have been international diplomatic arguments about this for some time now! – The victims of climate change want compensation. The polluters want to dodge the issues!

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/climate-talks-rich-countries-pay-damage-global-warming

    ** Climate talks: Should rich countries pay for damage caused by global warming?**
    Developing nations have said the issue of loss and damage is a ‘red line’ which must be addressed for talks in Warsaw to progress. With your help, Karl Mathiesen investigates the basis for the demands and how it could impact progress at the climate conference.

    Gwynne Taraska says the moral argument for compensation by rich countries is redundant within the politics of climate change. Developed countries see the issue as a Pandora’s Box of limitless liability that they simply refuse to touch. Couple this with the reality that despite their affluence, rich countries don’t have the money to underwrite a succession of calamities like typhoon Haiyan and you have a “non-starter”, says Taraska.

    There is another school of thought that says, if developed countries were serious about reducing carbon emissions then they would not see loss and damage compensation as a major concern. At the very least this says something about the pessimism which surrounds the global mitigation effort.

    The language of this debate is slightly tortured. Advocates of the loss and damage mechanism have distanced themselves from discussing compensation directly. They say a mechanism would deal primarily with “research to minimise losses, sharing knowledge, insurance, risk retention and solidarity payments”. Taraska adds that there should be a commitment to accommodate climate refugees in developed countries. All of these measures will cost money. The claim that this is not about some kind of financial reimbursement or transaction seems disingenuous.
    So again we return circuitously to the question: who will pay? I feel that to the extent they can afford it, developed countries are obliged to support at least some of these measures.




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  • Garrick #14
    Mar 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    it might be possible for a lawsuit to be brought against governments and companies guilty of contributing significantly to this warming process and the disastrous effects it will have.

    There are already many people in the world who are affected – some more obviously than others!

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/five-pacific-islands-lost-rising-seas-climate-change

    Five tiny Pacific islands have disappeared due to rising seas and erosion, a discovery thought to be the first scientific confirmation of the impact of climate change on coastlines in the Pacific, according to Australian researchers.

    The missing islands, ranging in size from 1 to 5 hectares (2.5-12.4 acres) were not inhabited by humans.

    But six other islands had large swaths of land washed into the sea and on two of those, entire villages were destroyed and people forced to relocate, the researchers found.

    One was Nuatambu island, home to 25 families, which has lost 11 houses and half its inhabitable area since 2011, the research said.

    The study is the first that scientifically “confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people,” the researchers wrote in a separate commentary on an academic website.

    The scientists used aerial and satellite images dating back to 1947 of 33 islands, as well as traditional knowledge and radiocarbon dating of trees for their findings.

    The Solomon Islands, a nation made up of hundreds of islands and with a population of about 640,000, lies about 1,000 miles north-east of Australia.

    The study raises questions about the role of government in relocation planning, said a Solomon Islands official.

    “This ultimately calls for support from development partners and international financial mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund,” Melchior Mataki, head of the Solomon Islands’ National Disaster Council, was quoted as saying in the commentary.

    The Green Climate Fund, part of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was founded to help countries deal with climate change

    In April, the Solomon Islands was among the 177 nations that signed a global agreement reached in Paris to curb climate change.

    Ad hoc relocation has occurred on the islands, the study said. Several Nuatambu islanders moved to a neighbouring, higher volcanic island, the study said. Other people were forced to move from the island of Nararo.

    Sirilo Sutaroti, 94, is among those who had to relocate from Nararo. He told researchers: “The sea has started to come inland, it forced us to move up to the hilltop and rebuild our village there away from the sea.”



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  • 17
    Garrick says:

    Alan4discussion #15 and #16

    All good points there, thank you, concerning the general question of responsibility for damage so far caused by global warming, and it is not at all straightforward. But in the case of the present administration in the US, we see a government overturning even the moderate efforts of the previous administration to protect the environment, explicitly for the benefit of fossil-fuel producers and with complete disregard for the well-understood disastrous effects that will ensue. There is a degree of deliberate dismissal of scientific evidence and public wellbeing in this administration’s efforts to undo safeguards already put in place that is simply criminal and ought somehow to be called to account for such reckless favoritism.



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  • Garrick #17
    Mar 11, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    There is a degree of deliberate dismissal of scientific evidence and public wellbeing in this administration’s efforts to undo safeguards already put in place
    that is simply criminal and ought somehow to be called to account for such reckless favoritism.

    I think Trump has a plan to avoid prosecutions in general, and for corruption in particular! !

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39243529

    Preet Bharara, high profile US prosecutor, says he was fired

    A New York federal prosecutor who refused to resign when he and 45 other prosecutors were asked to by the Trump administration says he has been sacked.

    “I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired,” said Preet Bharara on Twitter.

    Mr Bharara was first asked to remain in his post by President Donald Trump, when they met after the election.

    But on Friday he was included in a list of prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama who were asked by the Justice Department to step down.

    Mr Bharara’s tweet continued: “Being the US Attorney in SDNY (South District New York) will forever be the greatest honour of my professional life.”

    Presidents often order appointees of the previous administration to resign but the decision to replace so many in one swoop raised eyebrows.

    Mr Bharara’s inclusion in the list came as a particular surprise. He told reporters in November that he had been asked by Mr Trump to stay on, and had agreed.

    The prosecutor rose to prominence after pursuing high-profile corruption cases and cases against Wall Street bankers.



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