Trump’s Climate Change Witch Hunt

December 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


This past week Trump’s transition team unleashed what had all the marks of a witch hunt on individuals and programs in the Department of Energy (DOE) who’ve been connected to efforts to study or limit climate change.

His team sent a questionnaire asking the DOE to turn over names of employees and contractors who’ve participated in climate change related projects and for communications related to this work. They asked for lists of people who attended international climate talks and “Social Cost of Carbon meetings,” and for materials used and emails associated with the meetings. (“Social cost of carbon” refers to standards agencies have used to determine the impact on society of releasing carbon dioxide, the main gas causing global warming.)

One question asked, “Can you provide a list of all boards, councils, commissions, working groups and FACAs currently active at the Department? For each, can you please provide members, meeting schedules, and authority (statutory or otherwise) under which they were created?” Trump’s team demanded listing of projects connected to Obama’s “Climate Action Plan.” The clear intention of many of these “questions” was to force the DOE to turn over information that could be used to target climate change projects and individuals working on them.

It is normal for a new transition team to ask departments policy questions to get a picture of how things are run and approached. What is unprecedented is asking to identify specific people associated with a certain policy that Trump has already declared his hostility to, and to demand an agency justify programs connected to this policy.

The deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy, Michael Halpern called this demand for names of specific employees “alarming.” He told the Washington Post, “If the Trump administration is already singling out scientists for doing their jobs, the scientific community is right to be worried about what his administration will do in office. What’s next? Trump administration officials holding up lists of ‘known climatologists’ and urging the public to go after them?”

Trump’s team also asked for a list of the top 20 salaried employees of the national energy labs connected to the DOE, for copies of their publications and “a list of their professional society memberships, affiliations, and the websites they maintain or contribute to ‘during work hours,’” according to the Washington Post.

These moves were meant to have a chilling affect not only in the energy department, but all governmental agencies. They are part of trying to identify, silence, and weed out or go after if necessary, individuals who may oppose the Trumpites agenda of silencing climate science to open up vast plundering of the environment. They are part of a broader agenda to implement a vicious fascist regime that will target any opposition and deny science and objective reality. All of this must be resisted and not collaborated with.

The questionnaire also indicated interest by Trump’s team in gearing up nuclear power plant projects and if there were any restrictions preventing restarting the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site, a site shut down by the Obama administration.

Importantly, the DOE has officially refused to turn over names of employees and cooperate with these questions. After this happened, Trump’s team backed down and pretended that the questionnaire had been a simple mistake of a misguided team member. But this whole thing smacks much more of an effort to test the waters in forcing governmental employees to bow to the Trump/Pence fascist agenda.


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