Logo for 'Guerrilla Archiving: Saving Environmental Data from Trump', an event on 17 December 2016 for copying huge quantities of U.S. government climate data onto independent servers to safeguard it from Trump's antiscience policies. Graphic: Technoscience Salon and Research Unit

[Longtime Desdemona readers will recall the ”libricide” against Canadian fisheries science by the Harper government in 2013. –Des]

By Brady Dennis
13 December 2016

(Washington Post) – Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.

“Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to hedge against,” said Nick Santos, an environmental researcher at the University of California at Davis, who over the weekend began copying government climate data onto a nongovernment server, where it will remain available to the public. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”

In recent weeks, President-elect Donald Trump has nominated a growing list of Cabinet members who have questioned the overwhelming scientific consensus around global warming. His transition team at the Department of Energy has asked agency officials for names of employees and contractors who have participated in international climate talks and worked on the scientific basis for Obama administration-era regulations of carbon emissions. One Trump adviser suggested that NASA no longer should conduct climate research and instead should focus on space exploration. [more]

Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump

14 December 2016 (CBC Radio) – There are thousands of scientific studies that prove climate change is real.

But U.S. scientists are worried about what might happen to the mountains of environmental data when U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has very publicly denied climate change, takes office.

One solution is to ask Canadian scientists to help them archive data from U.S. government servers. And now in Toronto, researchers will begin making backup copies of the data.

Michelle Murphy, Director of the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto, tells As It Happens host Carol Off that this effort is badly needed.

MICHELLE MURPHY: We see that there's an explicit mandate that they are putting forward of diminishing the potential of environmental and climate agencies and getting rid of difficult research and regulations that affect the key industries they are interested in.

CAROL OFF: What's going on in Toronto this weekend in collaboration with your American colleagues?

MM: We're hosting something called the Guerilla Archiving event. We are working with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania library and at the Internet Archive, which is a non-profit that archives all of the Internet that has a project to archive government websites before the transition to the Trump presidency. And we are going to be feeding the web crawler of the Internet Archive to make sure that we are prioritizing websites and materials that are likely to be changed rapidly when the Trump presidency starts. We're also looking at data sets that might be vulnerable to becoming less publicly accessible and we'll be nominating those to be put into the Penn [University of Pennsylvania] repository. [more]

Canadians help U.S. scientists protect climate change data



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