BY HANK REICHMAN
Issued in December, the AAUP’s report, “National Security, the Assault on Science, and Academic Freedom,” examines politically motivated threats to scientific research, with emphasis on threats to climate science and on the initial actions of the Trump administration. As one of the authors of this report I learned how daunting, if not near-impossible, it can be to keep up with the administration’s myriad assaults on science. In many respects the AAUP’s report only touched the surface. Another report, Sidelining Science Since Day One, issued last summer by the the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, also cataloged incidents during the administration’s first six months.
Now the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia University School of Law and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund have joined to create a “Silencing Science Tracker,” which “is intended to record reports of government attempts to ‘silence science’ since the November 2016 election.” Currently only actions taken by the federal government are covered, but the site plans to add state-level actions in the future. The tracker defines “silencing science” to include “any action that has the effect of restricting or prohibiting scientific research, education or discussion, or the publication or use of scientific information.” The actions are organized into six categories:
We note that it is often difficult to determine whether self-censorship is occurring and/or its cause. We do not take any position on the accuracy of any individual report on self-censorship.
We do not include, in the “budget cuts” category, government decisions to refuse new grant applications or funding for new agency programs.
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Visitors to the site can sort tracker entries by category, as well as agency and date.
The Sabin Center also maintains a Climate Deregulation Tracker which identifies attempts to scale back federal climate mitigation and adaptation measures.