2018-04-09 00:01:33 UTC
Rebecca Hersher, Nov 29, 20175:19 AM ET. Heard on Morning Edition
Scientists appear to be self-censoring by omitting the term "climate
change" in public grant summaries.
An NPR analysis of grants awarded by the National Science Foundation
found a steadily decreasing number with the phrase "climate change" in
the title or summary, resulting in a sharp drop in the term's use in
2017. At the same time, the use of alternative terms such as "extreme
weather" appears to be rising slightly.
The change in language appears to be driven in part by the Trump
administration's open hostility to the topic of climate change.
Earlier this year, President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris
climate accord, and the President's 2018 budget proposal singled out
climate change research programs for elimination.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has been systematically
removing references to climate change from its official website. Both
the EPA's leader, Scott Pruitt, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
have said they do not accept the scientific consensus that humans are
causing the planet to get warmer.
As a result, many scientists find themselves in an uncomfortable
position. They are caught between environmental advocates looking to
recruit allies and right-wing activists who demonize researchers and
denigrate their work. . . ."