Multiple climate-related reports have disappeared from the State Department’s website within the past few days. It’s the latest news in a week marked by reports of increasing oversight of federal agencies, including their communication around scientific issues.
Archived versions of the State Department’s website as it appeared under the Obama administration indicate that links to climate reports no longer appear on the Web pages for both the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and the Office of Global Change. Links to pages on other environmental issues, such as marine conservation, remain intact.
Several State Department Web pages housing individual Obama-era climate reports have also disappeared, including the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the United Nations and several reports from the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, among others. These reports can still be accessed through the archives. The State Department has begun archiving other, non-climate parts of its site as well, and officials said this archiving process has taken place under previous administrations.
“Administration-specific content that was posted to state.gov during President Obama’s tenure was archived,” the State Department press office said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post. “Content that remains on state.gov includes, but is not limited to, the functions and operations of the Department information; Congressionally-mandated reports, e.g., TIP, HRR, and IRF; and collections of official documents, e.g., legal treaties and air transport agreements. New items created by the Trump Administration will be posted to state.gov. ”
It’s not the first government site to fail to note climate information under the new administration. References to climate change disappeared from the White House website on the day of the inauguration, replaced with information about the Trump administration’s energy plan.
This week the Trump administration also came under fire for placing restrictions on the communications of certain federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture and Interior departments. These included restrictions on social-media communications, news releases and responses to media requests.
That said, other federal agencies have continued to share information on climate change as usual. Twitter accounts belonging to both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have gone on tweeting climate-related content this week. And a Twitter account belonging to Badlands National Park became briefly famous on Tuesday when it released a handful of defiant tweets about climate change.
Those tweets have disappeared, but the incident has spurred a number of other protest Twitter accounts, which, although not officially affiliated with federal agencies, have gone on to publicize information about human-caused climate change.
“Climate change is real, Trump,” tweeted one such account, AltUSNatParkService, on Thursday morning. “You gotta deal with it now, or have the problems it creates be your legacy, for now & future generations.”