Universities host pre-Trump archiving events to save US climate data

Toronto and Pennsylvania researchers arrange events to preserve environmental data

December 22, 2016
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Researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Pennsylvania have organised events to preserve climate and environmental data before Donald Trump becomes US president.

The “guerrilla archiving event” at the Canadian institution took place on 17 December, to coincide with the Internet Archive and California Digital Library’s End of Term 2016, a project that aims to preserve federal government information found on the internet at the end of each presidential term.

The university’s Technoscience Research Unit, which organised the event, said that the Environmental Protection Agency has programmes and data at “high risk of being removed from online public access or even deleted”.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) will hold a similar event called #DataRescuePenn on 13 and 14 January to build a refuge for federal climate and environmental data that is “vulnerable under a federal administration which denies the fact of ongoing climate change”.

“At the University of Pennsylvania, we teach our students to make fact-based arguments. This effort serves our mission by working to preserve the facts that are needed,” stated the PPEH website.

Mr Trump’s stance on climate change has worried many scientists.

Earlier this month [December], he appointed climate change sceptic and attorney general of Oklahoma Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, an organisation that he previously said he would like to abolish, while in 2012 he said that the “concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”.

ellie.bothwell@tesglobal.com

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