In the early days of what appears to be a clampdown on federal agencies who do climate work, it’s been a bumpy ride for the Trump transition team.
If the Trump administration intends to strangle the flow of climate change information produced by the federal bureaucracy, it will be no small task.
The government apparatus of climate policy involves dozens of agencies and offices, as this chart shows, and they spend billions of dollars a year. Their public activities number in the hundreds, from rules and scientific reports to research programs, webinars and internships. Thousands of employees, grant recipients and contractors are engaged in federal climate science, policy and communications.
To bring all this under control, to satisfy Trump‘s apparent desire to stymie programs that run counter to his policies, could also require reining in forces outside the bureaucracy. That could include trade associations, universities, citizens’ groups and state and local governments who work closely with federal counterparts as advisers, partners in regulation, or even as lobbyists for special interests.
Throughout this realm, nerves are on edge in the early days of the administration. The incoming Trump team shows signs of launching a broad campaign of information control, which some say may violate federal standards on scientific integrity or other rules.
Like an exterminator spraying a broad-spectrum pesticide, the administration seems intent on eradicating activities that offend the fossil fuel industry and its allies. Its loyalists are seeded throughout the Trump transition teams and are among the new president’s cabinet nominees, although most remain unconfirmed. Some of the position papers and directives they are wielding speak of abolishing whole programs or radically reorienting their purposes to suit Trump’s pro-fossil-fuel, anti-regulatory agenda.