As president of the United States, Donald Trump might be the official head of the federal executive branch, but climate alarmists embedded in numerous executive departments apparently don’t care about such things as democratic elections. Two years into the Trump administration, career bureaucrats continue to promote blatantly political climate propaganda on executive branch websites, including numerous statements that directly contradict Trump’s policies and past statements.
There is no justification for any administration to subvert the presentation of objective science on official federal websites or championing one side in a contentious scientific debate. There is even less justification for over-the-top, anti-science alarmist climate propaganda to dominate executive branch webpages in defiance of the current chief executive’s policy positions.
Earlier last month, the Heartland Institute published and submitted to the White House an audit of executive branch websites addressing climate change. The publication, titled Summary Audit: Executive Branch Websites Promoting Global Warming Alarmism and Propaganda, reveals that drastic changes are required to restore objective science and political balance to websites hosted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and Health and Human Services.
While sound science and Trump’s global warming views justify the skeptical point of view dominating federal executive websites addressing climate change, The Heartland Institute and other skeptics would be happy if federal websites were merely restored to espousing only objective scientific information or updated to present alarmist and skeptic views alike. As the duly elected chief executive — who, remember, campaigned on an aggressively skeptical climate change platform, Trump has a duty to eliminate alarmist propaganda from executive branch websites. And make no mistake about it, there is a huge amount of propaganda present on countless government webpages.
The NASA website, for example, has a “Climate Kids” portal asserting we are running out of fossil fuels, an absolutely ridiculous claim. The “Climate Kids” portal also criticizes hydraulic fracturing, claiming, “Fracking is expensive,” even though the fracking revolution has brought dramatic reductions in oil and natural gas prices. Additionally, the portal erroneously tells kids that there are environmental problems with fracking and that coal has polluted Europe since the Middle Ages. Even more bizarre, it emphatically states, “Things got worse after the steam engine was invented” and when the Industrial Revolution occurred — two of the most historically inaccurate statements ever made. According to the website, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, “There was now lots of pollution. It caused acid rain, sickness, and even death.”
While ignoring most of the incredible benefits in human health, welfare, and longevity made possible by the Industrial Revolution, the “Climate Kids” portal downplays the very few benefits that it does mention. “The cost is pollution, the destruction of landscapes and natural habitats, oil spills in the ocean, and nasty fracking chemicals in the ground. Global warming will be the biggest problem of all. Global warming will affect everyone on Earth. There is still time for another chapter in this story. This chapter will be a turn away from fossil fuels. We will move toward sustainable, green energy. We need a new way to power the many improvements that fossil fuels have given us.”
Webpages hosted by NOAA and the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services are just as biased and political. For instance, the Department of Agriculture claims global warming is likely to reduce global food production and cause spikes in food prices. These claims are patently false. U.S. and global crop production set new records nearly every year. Warmer temperatures lengthen growing seasons and reduce frost events. The American Midwest and other crop-growing regions are experiencing enhanced rainfall to water crops. And carbon dioxide functions as aerial fertilizer, which scientists have documented has caused a substantial greening of the Earth in recent decades.
Even to the extent the executive branch websites address scientific data, they continue to present the data in a discredited and alarmist agenda-driven manner. For example, the NASA and NOAA websites continue to present “adjusted” temperature data that defy the data collected from precise satellite instruments and on-the-ground meteorological stations. The adjustments consistently claim temperatures centuries ago were colder than what was measured and recent temperatures were warmer. The result is a false warming trend that does not appear in any objectively measured and collective temperature dataset.
None of this propaganda belongs on federal government science sites. And if executive branch websites must present political propaganda, the propaganda should at least align with the views of our democratically elected president — not the Obama-era alarmists embedded throughout the federal government who hate Trump.
Delivered at the request of White House personnel, the Heartland Institute climate audit will hopefully inspire the Trump administration to depoliticize federal websites that discuss climate science.
James Taylor (JTaylor@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for environment and climate policy at the Heartland Institute.