« Reveal

Silencing Science (Rebroadcast)

2019-07-13 | 🔗

President Donald Trump says he doubts humans have much of a role in climate change. His administration has downplayed the science of climate change and sought to silence scientists working for the federal government.* * Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey, it is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore we about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it's our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily, we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
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earlier this year it's about the suppression of science, especially climate change. Science at federal agencies reveals use government data to make maps of future flooding at ten popular. U S, parks new coastlines are science, Elizabeth Show. Grin is with me, Elizabeth hello, out of his own, listen to some of these maps. This one is the National Mall in Washington DC. That's what the molluscs like now but take the cursor and swipe left. Okay. So I'm seeing the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Vietnam WAR, Ard submerged the Washington monument is, is just a little I was rounded by water in the coastline. Now goes right up against the Pentagon. This is what the mob would look like and twenty fifty if the EAST Coast gets hit with a category three hurricane, this is from National Park service. Objections and AL you're from Florida. Right yeah check out the map for Everglades National Park, here. It is today because all of the water-
is all around the Tipp of Florida again, and this is what it could look like in twenty fifty after category five hurricane, the Tipp of Florida is gone, is like the coastline. His has come up significantly. These maps show what could happen if greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. The problem is research like this has a tough time under President Trump scientists working for the government have been ignored or attacked. They ve been de funded, even censored. Let me tell you this story of what happened to one particular scientist, Maria Caffre Maria fascinates me, because so many Things about her, our unexpected she's got this career dedicated to? U S national parks, but she grew up in a greedy neighborhood in London. She raced cars for fun. I grew up over by Heathrow Airport, so it was airplanes and roads and congestion and stuff, like that say what he must. Why go into environmental science? It was just so
Aren't me I was like, while I'd love, to have a job or actually get to go out and be in nature. That's a little different she's, an idealist. She picked climate change because she hoped her science would have a positive impact on the world. Under President Obama, addressing climate change was a top priority, so being a climate, scientists was kind of like being an astronaut in the nineteen sixties. That's when pressed Kennedy challenged Americans to beat the Soviet Union to the moon in twenty twelve Maria launched her big mission to come up with estimates of how much flooding could be expected in national parks because of climate change. It was heavy stuff. She was a university of Colorado scientist contracted by the National Park service. She started on this work when New York got hammered by Hurricane Sandy said he has killed more than ninety people in ten states, even the door
liberty. Island has been washed away. The statue of liberty is off limits because the island on which it stands wasn't damaged by rising floodwaters. Lady liberty, her not even part rangers, could get there Maria was still in her pj's when or phone rang at home early that morning, park rangers urgently needed her estimate of how high floodwaters had gotten at the statue of Liberty She can't the numbers in about an hour and got her estimate to park managers, but she felt park should have had that kind of information. Long before storms head it's really important to have that information way in advance before that storm ever happens when a storms coming in park staff scrambling to get ready for the storm right, so they cost. On the phone call with scientists. It took a long time for
years for Maria to calculate the risks for a hundred and eighteen national parks that are exposed to rising sees. Finally, in the autumn of twenty sixteen, she was getting ready to publish. She gave park managers a preview in a webinar. It such a pleasure to be here today, I speaking toilet in the project, but I've been working. For a long time until it's great to be able to get the Maria told National Park staff. She had projections of how much water levels will rise at each park by twenty. Thirty, twenty fifty and twenty one hundred if people reduce greenhouse gas emissions and if they don't and if a major storm hit, but what happens if we appear to be a little bit, she showed the park status. Washington DC, getting slammed by a category two hurricane in twenty one hundred the entire National mall is shaded blue, it's all underwater the natural history museum, the White House, visitors centre,
even the environmental Protection Agency, then the lot of flooding hating play here, ranging outdoor around eighteen feet of flooding in some location. Our manager seemed eager for this information, Maria told them. Her research would be published soon in twenty seventeen, but before that could happen, Donald Trump was elected, He announced the: U S would exit the Paris Climate Change Treaty, he started rolling back policies, the clean power plan, Otto emission standards people are worried about the fate of science under tromp. Enormous crowds marched across the country in defence of science. What about Maria? Was she worried about her research, a bit her super?
I reassured her that her science was safe. I had heard that we should not let politics interfere with our work, which is the way of voice conducted myself The park service had already edited her report and sent it out for peer review, and I was told it was locked from editing German. It was going to be released, any day now is imminent. Press releases were drafted to send to the media. This is May twenty seventeen they were about to publish and then something came up and they chose to delay it the delay seem temporary, and then I was no. Fight again in September that they wanted to release it. But then Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, followed by Irma and Maria pummeling, the Caribbean in Florida, and they didn't release it after all, Maria was left guessing why the repeated delays were frustrating for her, but she was distracted by
other big project. She gave birth to her first child at the end of December. Twenty seventeen and went on maternity leave because all work to twenty aging trust in prison for more than a year in this report still hasn't been. Least yeah. That's a long delay. I got curious if her research getting ensnared by the Trumpet administration. I emailed a park service spokesman who said the report was still internal review. So I filed public records requests with the park service Andy firstly of Colorado: Maria's home base. The park service stalled The university responded pretty quickly and gave me eighteen different drafts of the report dating from August twenty sixteen to March twenty eighth eighteen different drafts. What did you find
there had been lots of changes. The early drafts had many references to humans, causing climate change and flooding the national parks, then about a year after Trump became president after the report had been considered final four months. The changes started showing up. Park officials commented that this was really unusual. For instance, the first sentence of the executive summary red anthropogenic climate change, presents challenges to national park managers anthropogenic meaning humans right. It's the scientific term for people causing something aversion from January. Twenty eighteen dropped. The word anthropogenic and other references to people causing climate change- I could
see that those changes were made by a park service, spokesman and the head of the park services, climate change response programme. That's the part of the park service, that's supposed to help parks, get ready for climate change, they'd scrubbed report of all mentions of humans, causing climate change, an email exchange showed their boss had just communicated his quote anthropogenic concerns. I called Maria and told her about the drafts. I'd seen what why can't area your report came out as I sighed added it without. Reference to the human causes of climate change. I'd be very disappointed if there were words that will being attributed to me that I didn't write so have you there, under any pressure from colleagues, to delete words from your report that you think are important to have in your report
I really want to get into that today. Maria sounds very nervous there. Do you know why she's afraid, Maybe this research that's consumed five years of her life might never see the light of day after this Euro restored for reveal about how a real report was altered, and I got a lot of it. So today the nonprofit investigative journalism organization reveal came out with a stunning report that effect This is MSNBC. Does of news organisations picked up, the story, members of Congress called The interior departments inspector general to investigate on human, the park services, part of interior Interior Department, told reveal that no one was available to comment but secretary Thinking must be shocked to learn this because those added for made just one month for he was Capitol Hill, testifying under oath. I don't know of any document we
changed and I challenge you any member two to five The document that we ve actually change on a report rains Inky was defensive and bared his department would never alter science zinc? He was forced to resign. In December, under accusations that he used his office for personal financial gain. But several thoroughly are just after my story came out. He was on Capital Hill, answering questions about it. Nobody, no political, has ever seen the document, and I Haven't seen the dock, so I wanna investigation how a document got around the press before even we had a chance to look at it. I think that's fair focused on the leaks to the media, not his departments, violation of a basic principle of civil society, scientific integrity, democratic congresswoman, Shelly Pingaree from main, was seated across from him. He wasn't convinced, can you assure me that you are not going to deny any references to climate
age, and that you will allow for the inclusion in documents from the Department of Material that have human impact on climate change. If it's a scientific report, I'm not gonna change com, Last may I went to Denver to visit Maria. I wanted her to tell me her version of the story and compare it to what zinc had sat on Capitol Hill, we sat in our small backyard in the warm after in. So how long have you lived here? We just kind of moved in, I was pregnant and it was like we need to find a proper house for a baby, so you ve been through a lot.
In the last few months, childbirth and then that farmers are about bright bat, but her life is still topsy turvy because of her troubles with the park service. I was so proud of my work with the national parks and helping to be part of America's legacy, and now it's kind of like well. What's the point she grimaces spend a turbulent few months, no spin sleepless nights because of a baby and than has been sleepless nights because of some of the West Times of my career. Maria rejected the added to her report several times. But then she was called to park service offices in Fort Collins, Colorado for a meeting with a big boss Washington Maria's lawyer told her not to tell me any names but emails. I got from the park service, show she's talking about re savagery,
he's the head of natural resources and science for the parks. Seven hundred scientists and other staff are under him he wouldn't do an interview with me, but here he is giving a bigger. Each at you see I lay in twenty seventeen. It is my responsibility to the american public to make sure that we and they have the best information to make the most effective decisions about how we understand and protect our resources, this greater public good. It is our responsibility to do good science and to support scientists, savagery sand, but Maria felt attacked not so, or did during her meeting this spring with Savage YO. First, she started telling him about her report and that's when he interrupted and said I have some reports here.
Maria says: savages held a stack of papers and told her. They were recent reports by another government agency. They concern climate change, but there is no reference to the human causes of climate change. He wanted to know why Maria had to mention humans. If governments scientists who wrote the other reports didn't and that's why I started smacking the table with the papers and sank, but these reports don't have these terms in it. It kind of escalated from there he raised his voice, Alot Maria says he suggested he might lose his job. If she didn't agree to the audits and who do you think that gonna replace me with? Do you think gonna be a nice you as I am and then suggesting that the climate change response Programme in general could disappear. If I just keep these words in the report,
savages, wasn't the only one pressuring Maria another park service official told her in a telephone call that anthropogenic and human activities were band words at the Interior Department under President tromp. That official warned area. The report might never be released unless she agreed to the audits Maria says. A third official took her on a walk to try to persuade her it's different kinds of bullying and pressure. Different people, even people Maria had worked with four years people saying that they could lose their jobs. Then please think that I've got children, Maria I children, the implying I should be thinking of their kids. It was a lot of pressure to make changes if one
listen, says one thing and then another peasants as another thing. After a while, it really starts to build up and it becomes an absolute mountain. What's that look I see on your face, I own, I. I just disappointment these p, I held in very high esteem people who have really respected to catch them. In some instances. Telling Miss troops or misleading statements, and sometimes, frankly, just flat out lying it's wrong as this very disappointing. It's not the park service. The Eiffel I worked for scares me, I'm getting it's not just Maria being emotional.
Will the that the edit the oil is being asked to make violated the scientific integrity policy? In my opinion, the park services. Scientific integrity policy forbids desist, makers from altering scientific work. Through quote coercive manipulation, censorship or other misconduct. Maria kept rejecting the added for supervisors wanted her to make the park service didn't published without her ok maybe because the University of Colorado stepped in to assert her intellectual property rights under her contract or maybe because they knew reveal was watching, and so were the senators and representatives who demanded an investigation. The park service appointed mediator, the guy said to me. If we couldn't agree, then the report would be released in a format that he would
tell me, and without my name on it, it was certainly a technique to encourage me to make edits. I was not comfortable with, I felt very precious intimidated. That's baby Catherine. Her dad just brought her home Maria's focused shifts the future she's working under a new contract with the park service until February, but not on climate and she's earning a lot less money, but I'm making right now doesn't even pay my day care for my baby. So this certainly a lot of. Why am I doing this?
I'm hoping a long time. A little work out at least wanted to see an example of someone fighting back cuz. It's some point he's going to get bullied or she's going to get pressure put on her, and so I wanted to see someone standing up to bullies right a park service spokesman I to explain away the audits and the harassment as a normal dispute among co authors to parks, Miss officials are named as co authors on the report, but we see the park service under the freedom of Information ACT they. Finally, Thus thousands of pages of documents they back up Maria story. They
show her rejecting edits repeatedly over months and fighting for her science is clear from the documents that re savages from the park service into tiered, but there were lots of lines in paragraphs were adapted whole pages blacked out. So it's not clear how far up the department of interiors chain of command the censorship went. Essentially, I feel I've been shut out from my project. It certainly feels like there could be some retribution playing a role in this will be a change jobs. She was told to stop working on a website. You designed for the park service they let you see how much flooding would come from sea level rise. A particular parks because of climate change will have more what happened to that project after our break?
from the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs. This is reveal a mallet today, were bringing back a show. We aired earlier this year. We just heard about national service officials trying to censor clay the change sides the pressure to researcher to get her to ok changes to her report, but she refused Elizabeth Chauvelin is our size of who broke about what was happening to a scientist, nay, Maria, Carefree Elizabeth, whatever necks, well out After all the attention, the censorship got, the park service published Maria's report. Almost exactly the way she wrote it. I'm stubborn and I felt very strongly that these words had to remain, and so I think, by staying Pham on that, then they decided that they were sick of fighting the park service posted the report without any fanfare.
But it didn't post the data that when with it or an idea, Maria came up with to help parks and ordinary people visualize the threat. It's an interactive website. I report doesnt, do justice right, hey! You can use words to describe it, but a pitcher pigs thousand words website. Would let park service employees or anyone really see with their own eyes, which show lines, marinas monuments are archaeological digs could the underwater water and twenty fifty or twenty one hundred. It would be a really powerful tool for helping people see how dangerous climate change really Two places Americans love their national parks, Maria built it with park service, computer experts. They worked on it for years.
And did you see the website when you went to Colorado to talk to Maria? What that was? The plan has not exactly what happened here is how it went Maria takes me to the University of Colorado, bolder. We walk into the swamp key building and stop at a map to find the conference room where we're supposed to meet her. Colleagues, I have three degrees and geography, and I thought about mary- the call someone who gives their step by step instructions to the real, ok, well I'll, be there in a minute she this is me to her colleagues and starts the meeting with a surprise announcement. Well say today. What we're gonna do: The sea level rise. We were so I saw permission from the National Park service to have someone come here and demo. It and I was refused murray- is clearly irked, but then all of a sudden, her
face lights up. She turns to your colleague Leon, less tack lands the one who actually crunch the sea level rise data. Do you have the maximum yourself? you, you mean the data, oh yeah, yeah, that's allow. We could pull it off here. We go upstairs to lands cubicle in cluster around her computer. This takes little while to refresh it's hard to navigate. Finally, a map appears on your screen, its national parkland at North Carolina outer banks. So this is Kitty HAWK on the east coast. That's right to the Tipp of Cape Hatteras, section of the park. This is kind of what the swiped or how the swiped who works in the viewer as land moves. The cursor dry and becomes flooded, see the imagery without delay, and then see him with the layer. The image shifts between two possible futures on Hatteras its
year, twenty one hundred in the first future greenhouse gas pollution has kept growing. And large areas of Hatteras Island are permanently under water. It's come Isn't it a big change and that's not even the storm such now get the right storm at the right time we were talking about twenty one hundred in nice images, the really if you get the right storm at the right time, that section could be gone, land, swipes back schedule back developing and shows us the second future. What the island would look like if we ve curtailed our use of coal oil and other fossil fuels The areas are dry with this piquant and future. A national part can make better informed decisions about how
whether to spend millions of taxpayers dollars to move a lighthouse construct. A sea wall protect a monument rebuild after a storm or let it go, and so when a road washes out typically that road is replace. But if you have something like this way, you can see that you're moving towards a future where that areas can be permanently flooded. Anyway, maybe you won't eight to rebuild that road. Fifty times over. Maybe you just choose to let it go and save the money, and what's the big message that you take away from seeing this, I think the big message. The wider message is that we, as an american public, have some choicest make us too, which future. We want to aim for here. Do we want to carry on his we doing right now and Joe,
I damages judges, or is it better to cartel what we're doing and reduce the extent of damage to lose with from what you're saying it sounds like. If we can get in the way we are working to lose big chunks of our national parks clause. Will there be underwater, that's Zactly right Maria's research pointed me to national parks. Where evidence of climate change is pretty obvious, based in Washington DC and I went down to the National mall. It's one of the most popular national parks. It was September. Justice. Hurricane Florence was approved, we're on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial looking across the title basin towards the Washington Monument and the White House packs their spokesman might litter still showing me around there's a lot here. That's already underwater the trail on the way, side in the monument is flooded several feet deep ducks and great white eager at source
meanwhile tourist normally would be walking a bike. Rack is half submerged and the cherry trees, whose pretty pink awesome draw more than a million people each spring. I see water up. The trunks of lots of territory correct trees are under water at this point that exposes them to things My group wrought long term makes us either unusually high today, but even under normal conditions, the mall is constantly contending with high water from the Potomac River. Striking what we're seeing everyday? Normally, if you're here at high tide area, close so the title basin be underwater. It's become such a recurring problem that several years ago. We actually had to rewrite the trail. Unfortunate can't even see that today, because the water so high, the trail he's talking that is between the Jefferson Memorial in the title basin, but we can't see it.
There are miles of stone and concrete embankments or sea was to keep the water out of the national law, but many are crumbling. The park service Esther it will cost a lot of money to build them up. We identified three hundred and thirty eight million dollars worth of sea. While reconstruction and needs to be done. We walk to some nearby park buildings that swimming over your parking lot right now there are and your building like its in water. It is, and you can see the access doors had been sandbagged. Keep the water out. That's historic structure does not keep it dry does for the most part take you to areas where sidewalks and buckled You can literally look through the sidewalk down in the Potomac River
I'm remembering Maria's map of what the mall would look like in twenty one hundred if greenhouse gas pollution keeps growing and a hurricane heads the reflecting pull the Smithsonian museums. The monuments are underwater, which doesn't seem that to believe on a day like today, but MIKE says the parks? This isn't using Maria's data to plan for ways to protect them all. Each time I mention climate change MIKE seems to dodge the subject. What will happen to this part when has the park service studied what would happen to them all. If a big hurricane sent a storm surged up the Potomac, bringing a storm surged up the Potomac, I don't know about the science and the things I can refer you to the folks, the good the good answer. Those questions were one of the things that I try again and ask if the park service has changed, what rangers can say about climate change will again
I am not familiar with the causes. As I said. If you want to talk about the science and research I refer, you to the people can talk about them. It starts to sound, like a court I can show you where its flooding. I can't tell you what I think we ve got everything at this point. One of the topics of us after I leave my walk past some cherry trees and around the Jefferson Memorial with its stately, marble columns and meat young boy with his family, challenging nine. Nicholas anything about climate change. I know it was greenhouse gases. What about greenhouse gas. They made, carbon dioxide- and where did they come from That's pipes and motorcycle.
Anything then was feel pretty much do you know about me oceans getting higher the seas getting rising up because of climate change. Did you hear about that? I just now this impressive boy is visiting Florida, his father Eduardo LEO is a computer software. Entrepreneur is mother and ask us to Moscow. A former ballerina, I tell them about Maria Caffre Report and the government's interference. They say it finds some of the authoritarian regimes of their childhood for Poland. Raise the Cuban. So we come from to communist country- and I know from my airlines how information was distorted and am people just knew what was fed to them? Not not the The truth they say Maria story sounds like that shows a little semblance to what I think is putting in Russia now and in other parts of the world by restricting
Information by the information were concerned, Children need to grow up in a country that becomes better or worse than I tell them. I'm planning to go Florida the next day, because Marine Research is also bad news for the animals. The national parks are required by law to protect, in this case, seat goals, they tell me their home in very beach, backs up to a stretch of shore line where sea turtles nest and there's a matter last year, when the hurricane Irma, when it can, Emma in our area. It washed away a lot of the sand and a lot of the nests were destroyed. We'll walk the beach after urging the woozy. Many many many eggshells throughout the beach baby, we're very sad, very sad.
because they gone, and so did. I. I decided come here to Canaveral National Seashore, because I wanted to see for myself how sea turtles are fair. Can, after all, is a very special place. Twenty four miles undeveloped coast. Most of the land Longs to NASA, if the space Agency, hadn't, preserved it. This whole area probably would be covered with high rise condos like the rest of the coast. Hurricane Florence is one day from landfall stirring up the ocean. The tides are higher than normal, so the beaches narrow in some places waves laugh at the dunes figure
there be lots of servers out today. The park services Kristen can is responsible for looking after sea turtles. Here, the chief of resource management. Can our national seashore Kristen Niels next to a lump in the sand. I'm gonna dig into it right now. It's a turtle nest. That's Hatched will show you so the eggs are piety about a foot, the half or slow down before we get to the first one. Adult turtles are huge wing, a few hundred pounds each. With big flippers and shells. Three to four feet across the park has special tourists to watch them nest and they fill up immediately it all the female turtle comes up at night. She finds that location that show. To find a layer, eggs she uses are back flippers to dig out a chamber and then showed a pause. About a hundred eggs are so covers that very well and then goes back to the waters. Kristen looks like it
tunneling into the sand. Show after digging deep in our arm girl. She starts bringing one sandy eggshell after another. This is hatched egg, see that it's nice and white, she seventy one cracked shells, seven one baby turtles hatched from this one nest and scampered across the narrow beach toward the ocean up and down the beach as far I can see every ten feet or so there's a yellow state Those are all sea turtle. This there's a lot of them right now. I've got about forty five hundred. How important is this stretch of beach, too protecting these endangered animal Ets important aim. We between the National Wildlife refuge the south and ask him in that accounts for almost forty percent of the nesting loggerhead in Green sea turtles nest in this park there, both on the endangered species list.
But last year nearly fourteen thousand bury their eggs. Here, scientists were thrilled by them. Large number and then crestfallen when Irma, washed, so many of them away, so there was still six thousand, like still on the beach waiting to hatch that never made it. So all of the nets that were left on the beach when I storm came or gone right it was an especially intense hurricane scientists, say: storm surges and flooding we'll get even worse with climate change, increasing the likelihood for why keeping out nests. I ask if the parks It is concerned about climate change and its impact on turtles, Laura heading. The park spokeswoman has come along with us. She takes this one. I don't know Are the National Park Service were concerned about everything that impacts endangered species? So that's part of our job, but what about climate change? In particular,
and I a big, were concerned about it. I mean we do. We can Kristen I heard a scientist to study how climate change is hurting the turtles, but she gets squirrels. Every time I raise the subject, I remind you that when we talk on the phone a few weeks earlier, she said the park services message to the public on climate change and sea level rise is changing. I asked how it's different, really different away. Kristen looks to Laura, so I ask her: what's that message, from Washington, about what story you can tell about climate change and how is that different from what it was before? got many different direction. The port services still kind M stay the course. As far as what science is telling us later when I'm with Kristen in her office. I press her again before
and we were talking on the phone? You had said that there was a new direction on how to explain climate change, and your colleagues said there wasn't any new direction and I'm just trying to understand is there new direction, not really a new direction. Each administration is different, others different focuses indifferent, pushes our big focus now is on providing more opportunity for people to enjoy the park and what was the focus in the last administration, it was focused on climate change research, so I want to show you these labs. I open my laptop reveal used public records, laws to get Maria's calculations of future flooding from sea level rise and storm surge, and with the help of reveals, dad a team, we made our own maps. The whole heart surgeon, twenty busy with with her the map, shows what it would be like in twenty. Fifty
if people keep using oil and coal the way we do now and then a hurricane hits, the entire map is shaded, bluish green, the beach where the sea turtles hatch lagoon where they go to swim. It's all under water does looking at those maps, make you think about what's at stake here. Oh yeah deftly makes us think about. What's at stake, I mean where we deftly no more vulnerable. Here I ask what park managers can do. There is a lot that we can't do. Nature will always sort of do it going to do- and it has a way of fixing itself sometimes, but this is a man made situation with greenhouse gas emissions, increasing sea level rise and storm surge. Yom- and I don't know I mean there's debate on whether its man made or not man made or whatever, but you know as
yet more frequent storms and things like that. I mean that is gonna continue to affect our park. Would you mean there's debate on whether its man made climate change. I mean a lot of it. I mean is natural to me. We ve spent storm events here at the park. Long before we were here so yeah It seems to me that Christian was downplaying the potential damage to turtles from climate change and people's role in creating it I was counting on one more energy for the story. A few years ago, the park service had hired scientists to study the effects of sea level rise on turtles. Her name is Betsy VON Holly and when we spoke on the phone she told me, Maria Kaffirs Data has been crucial to her research. We scheduled an interview, but the day before we were going to meet she abruptly cancelled, I tried to figure out what happened. I made a public records request for emails B,
in her and the park service? Remember MIKE litters the Park service spokesman, who showed me the flooding National mall, do know about this, and the things I can refer you to the folks, the good, the good answer. Those questions were one of the emails I gotcha literacy and another park service official, pressuring the scientist they tell her. It would not be prudent to do an interview. No one from the park service would give me a straight answer. It started to seem like a deliberate strategy. Certainly it's in line with president trumps intention to downplay the science of climate change. In fact, Maria Caffre told me she was instructed at the park service works for Trump and not the american people. When we come back, we talk to someone who did work for trunk in the White House. He sees this as if we acknowledge it's a problem.
Then we're going to have to deal with it. What we have to deal with it there's an incredible economic costs to it. This makes up reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r yeah when the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal a malaise in the vast majority of climate change site Ninety seven percent agree humans are causing climate change. Donald Trump, on the other hand, says he doesn't see it and we ve known there have been cases where the very mention of human cause, climate change has been taken out of government reports. Elizabeth Chauvelin is reveal size report she's been tracking. These instances, Hale is with how so you ve told us about this. Once
it is Maria Caffre who is working on a contract for the National Park Service in ours. Supervisor tried to pressure her into remove. All mention of human beings causing climate change from report, she wrote she resisted ever sure and was taken off her project, but what's happening to all the work she did. Maria's report was released to the public, uncensored and just me for the deadline for this story. The park service finally released her website, but I found out about it from a source. There was no news release and one I googled it. I couldn't find it, but the Good NEWS, a guess, is that marine science finally was published I gotta wonder if it would have ever come out, though, if you hadn't reported the park service was trying to sensory, I wonder tale. I knew about there search. Maria Caffre was doing so when it didn't come out. I knew something was up, but I keep thinking there must be a lot of other research being censored that we just don't know about
we do know about some other examples, though, a national park in Massachusetts was told to delete every mention of climate change in its planning document. Sixteen different mentions they were told it was just too sensitive and its hat, across the federal government. Columbia university has been compiling a list. They have. This website called the site sensing science tracker so far, there are more two hundred examples of censorship or interference and many scientific projects have lost government funding. Quite a few have to do with obscuring the human role in climate change. That reveal says reporter Elizabeth Sugar baseless with thanks out it's not just government agencies downplaying the role of humans in climate change. Trump has been pretty vocal on this topic himself. He said this on sixty minutes. I don't think it's a hoax. I think there's probably a dick but I dont know that it's man made. I will say this, I dont want to give,
engine trillions of dollars. I don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don't wanna, be put at a disadvantage. Bottom line, it sounds like money is a concern. So what does that mean for people working on climate change for this administration? George David banks served as a special assistant president Trump on energy and environment. Thanks for joy me, that's a pleasure so in Elizabeth reporting, it's not just trumpets questioning humans role in climate change. The human causes been edited out of government reports, potentially damaging our national parks are environment, our health and I can't speak for my colleagues avenue agencies, but is quite possible that they may have thought that was the you know. That was the policy when it wasn't. If you're saying that, like people are editing things based on their own beliefs, that means that the Trump Administration somebody in a row to make decisions zone scientific questions who are basically acting as political agents. So that's one and then too, if that's not the case, then you
these people were scared that they were gonna, hear it if they allow the support to go out. Which you know overall, in administration can set a tone that lets people below them understand like we're not really interested. Looking into the saddle come to us with it. You know I can tell you this four for certain that at least from a White House perspective, You know we were very clear. My colleagues and I were very clear that there would be no sort of editing of science and I think you saw that the national climate assessment there was ample no attempt whatsoever to edit that document. So the national climate assessment is the federal report that comes out every four years trump, attack the conclusions of the last one released at the end of November, but he didn't try to have their report altered in anyway, and that was a White House decision. So I think it's important a sort of note that so what is trumps view on climate change
so actually think that he's moderated his position because it wasn't that long ago, when he was calling it a hoax. The president looks at climate policy through the lens of what, and the impact this is gonna have on: U S manufacturing on competitiveness. So the idea, I guess, is it and please correct me if I'm wrong, the idea is that he looks said the right now, instead of looking at the long term pitcher, because if he's just worried about what is gonna look like for employment stats, air, what is gonna look like about regulation, like that's the right now, the future, those parts of the United States, be underwater. They could be severe drought. All sorts of things I'm not going to through the only impacts of climate change, particularly as they retain too in certain parts of the country, the? U S southeast right, but I will say that the president does look at things: there is a long term plans as well as their gestures, a different set of issues. He looks it. He looks at night.
Power and the economy through that lends give theirs lack of water throughout the world you can have more wars and more conflict. So if you don't look at climate change in reference to marry, empower than your kind of economists, half the pitcher. Well, A guy I mean I agree that certainly, over the long term climate impacts. I'm going to have a major our national security issues, whether her in the United States, her or elsewhere right, but I do think when it comes to what's tangible and white people can look and measure right now. It's far, zero to see what the imp I saw on U S power if we lose our manufacturing base, then it is to try to determine what the long term climate impacts with sea level rise, etc. Do you believe that climate change is man made? Well? I accept this Hence I mean look, there's a consensus that human
contribute significantly to climate change and for me, as a policy person rifle Elsie person you know opposition. Is you defer to the science you referred to the experts on water? what's going on and then you you look the evidence in the new try to figure out what the best policy is to address. Whatever problem has been identified. Let me ask you, commissioner: are you a scientist? No I'm an economists, and lawyer- I think- might be question here, though, let that all of this kind of goes back to his. Why discharge to me it's? The human rolling climate change is not just here it's a number of Republican who will argue that if we acknowledge it's a problem, then we're going to have to deal with it right and by an but unfortunately, in a winner about what we have to do to deal with it is incredible. Economic cost to it would have tromp is wrong. What, if human
we do have a role in climate change and we are passing up the last opportunity to save our planet from this very dangerous fate. I would say that if we don't figure out Oh, you know a smart way, a really The way to to drive global emissions, productions, we're gonna, get a bad scenario, do yeah. I have kids too, and I just keep thinking that, like we keep arguing over these points nothing changes and ultimately the world the my children will inherit the world that your children will inherit, we'll be worse off because of our inability to do anything. Right now You know that if you were to ask the president- you gonna tell your grandchildren. You know if you're wrong about climate, I mean how going to explain to them. You know going to justify what you did if he is appalling the Paris agreement, for example? How are you justify that? I
The president says: look you know I was folk, this making sure the United States was opposition position to meet the challenge, Is it about China that shit I clearly has GEO political ambitions. So therefore, as the president think about the more immediate threat to the United States and that's what our focus on George David thanks as a former White House climate change it wiser they should all those things. So any time now, with more Democrats in Congress for President trumps approach to climate change, science could come under scrutiny, but Maria Carefree, the climate change scientists who was silenced is still worried for the planned climate changes happening so rapidly. You don't have eight years is hot waded out until it becomes more politically
rebel future. Do your work, Maria paid a heavy personal price when your contract with the National Park Service expired, she lost her job and a career with the government had been allowed to her. It appears that I could be punished for this going forward for a long time If you want to see the maps of national parks that reveal made with Maria's data text, see that's as IE eight nine zero, two zero one, twenty one, twenty three again: FIFA, nine hundred and three two hundred and one two thousand one hundred and twenty three standard texting rates, apply the National Park Service has maps A future sea level rise at MP is dug up a leopard. So for this week show was aiming Walter's. Deborah George was our editor thanks to Michael Corey. It will sycamore for their data work into Marla com.
And achieve a meaning who also help with the Shell commander window in the house are sound design team. Is the dynamic do J Breezy, Mr Jim Briggs? If a man, though my man YO a router their help this week from Joe Applaud and Caitlin Bands, I see always british Ehrenberg met Thompson is our editor in chief executive producers, Kevin solving things is by Colorado, lightning, so or for reveals provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the Johnny and Haven't you Macarthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation the hiding Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal. The coal production of the centre for investigative reporting in p, r eggs, I'm Alison and remember. There is always more to the story, oh.
These are last few shows of the year and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal, is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final weeks, for end of the year membership campaign, we depend on listeners like you to help make this work possible to support us just takes. The word reveal to four seven four, seven, four, seven forty data rates apply and you can take stop or cancel at any time. Again. Just takes a word ravine. I'll. Do for seven four, seven, four, seven, let's go! Do some good work together.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.