WikiLeaks offers to save climate data from Trump

The site offers itself as a venue for publishing climate research, as scientists and others fear censorship by the Trump administration.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Ed is a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world who enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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Edward Moyer
3 min read

Got climate data? Worried the new US president might want to vaporize it? WikiLeaks says it's ready to help.

As scientists and others ponder the possibility of President Donald Trump's administration removing climate data stored on US government websites, Julian Assange & Co. took to Twitter on Wednesday to offer WikiLeaks as an alternative spot for publication.

"Do you have data at risk from the new US administration such as unpublished climate change research?" the site tweeted. "Submit it here:

The tweet comes the same day Reuters reported the Trump administration has told the US Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website. The news agency cited two unnamed EPA employees as the sources for its report.

Neither the White House nor the EPA responded to a request for comment on the Reuters report. The agency's site currently maintains a climate change page.

The WikiLeaks move also comes after Trump and his team deleted, immediately following his inauguration, references to climate change on the White House website.

Trump has made no secret of his skepticism around human-caused climate change. The deletions from the White House site had gotten some in the scientific community talking about whether relevant data stored on sites run by the EPA, NASA and other US government agencies might also be scrubbed.

"The government has done a great job of collecting and maintaining climate change data on these websites located all across the federal government," scientist and activist Shaughnessy Naughton told The New York Times in a report Friday. "The concern is that the data may no longer be publicly available, and then that they may no longer gather the data. It's a lot easier to deny climate change when you don't have data."

The White House and the EPA also didn't respond to a request for comment on the Times report.

The Reuters story on the EPA quoted a Trump advisor as saying climate change pages would probably be taken down but that information and links from the pages would still be publicly available in some way.

That WikiLeaks is offering its services could strike some people as ironic, given that critics have said its publication of private data concerning Hillary Clinton was facilitated by the Russians and helped Trump get elected. Assange, though, has said WikiLeaks has no political agenda beyond holding the powerful accountable by making their communications and actions transparent.

The site isn't the only one looking to provide a safe harbor for climate data. As the Times report notes, the Naughton-founded nonprofit 314 Action is helping to bring together scientists who are willing to volunteer time and server space toward preserving such information. The PPEH Lab, the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, Climate Mirror and the Azimuth Backup Project are other efforts devoted to saving climate research.

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