In an amusing social media repartee, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has teamed up with NASA to show newly-minted President Donald Trump that American science won't go down without a fight.
In a series of tweets, the two organizations rebelled against a new order from the White House forbidding employees at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and departments of agriculture, interior and transportation from communicating with the press or public. News of the gag order and media blackout broke on Tuesday, the same day Trump signed presidential memorandums supporting the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines — both of which were disputed by former president Barack Obama.
It was all too familiar for Canadians watching the storm brew on their news feeds. After all, it was only in November 2015 that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted the muzzle on Canada's scientists — an order that has yet to be fully put into practice as offices shift back into a free and open culture of communication.
But government scientists in the U.S. are far from embracing the new silent reality: The NOAA and NASA immediately started tweeting climate messages in defiance of the new Trump administration's policy. One of the tweets invited the public to "brush up on some facts" about climate, an obvious dig at Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway's recent "alternative facts" statement.
Here's a selection of what they had to say:
Dec 2016's avg global temp was 3rd highest on record. Global avg atmospheric CO2 concentration was ~405 ppm. https://t.co/Q7xdVFTBf5— NASA Climate (@NASAClimate) January 24, 2017
The Badlands National Park also sprung into action, sending out a stream of climate change-related tweets that were eventually deleted, but not before making international headlines for "going rogue."
South of the border, Trump's new team also gave the EPA orders to scrap the term "climate change" from its website, although that plan appears to be put on hold according to an Inside EPA report. As some critics pointed out, Trump's media blackout is a dangerous policy that can put critical information on oil spills, climate change, disease and more out of the public reach.
Following media reports about the removal of climate change from the EPA website, Trump's administration appears to have backtracked on those orders...for now.
After the flurry of news reports, the Trump team has “agreed to stand down” about removing EPA climate page https://t.co/tlgkodSVEl— Zoë Schlanger (@zoeschlanger) January 25, 2017