Canceled four years ago by a president who considered global warming a hoax, climate crisis information has returned to the website of the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of Joe Biden’s promise to “bring science back”.
The revival of a page dedicated to the climate emergency reverses Donald Trump’s order in 2017 to drop all references to it from government websites, and prioritises the Biden administration’s pledge to “organize and deploy the full capacity of its agencies to combat the climate crisis”.
In a statement, Michael Regan, confirmed by the US Senate last week as the federal agency’s new head, said: “Climate facts are back on the EPA’s website where they should be. Considering the urgency of this crisis, it’s critical that Americans have access to information and resources so that we can all play a role in protecting our environment, our health and vulnerable communities.”
Trump’s decision to drop the EPA’s climate informational page was just one of many controversial moves that angered environmentalists during his single term of office. He pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement, rolled back countless environmental regulations and protections and appointed a scandal-ridden climate change denier, Scott Pruitt, to lead the EPA.
Analysts, however, considered the Orwellian removal from the world wide web of scientifically accepted climate data and information to be especially heinous.
In a Guardian article last October, Michael Mann, one of the world’s most eminent climate experts, likened the following month’s presidential election to “a Tolkienesque battle between good and evil” and said Trump’s re-election would have made it “essentially impossible” to avert a global climate catastrophe.
The EPA’s climate change page relaunched on Thursday, featuring a prominent graphic stating that the agency “is restoring the role of science” in addressing the emergency. “Trustworthy, science-based information is at the foundation of strong, achievable solutions,” Regan said.
So far, the site appears sparsely populated, containing details of a couple of executive actions concerning the climate that Biden signed in his first week in office in January, and restoring links to previous EPA reports and other related federal agencies, such as Nasa and the national oceanic and atmospheric administration.
A short video features Regan laying out the agency’s priorities: “Americans in every corner of our country are seeing and feeling the effects of climate change, wildfires out west, back to back hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, extreme heat and rain in the heartlands and historic flooding in the east,” he said. “Combating climate change is not optional, it’s essential at EPA.”
The site promises more content to come, urging viewers to “return in the coming weeks as we add new information and features”.
Biden made tackling the climate emergency a cornerstone of his election campaign and acted quickly to deliver on the promise, restoring the US to the Paris agreement and enacting early executive orders covering a range of environmental initiatives. They include creating a position for a special presidential envoy for climate, and hosting an Earth Day climate summit in April.
“Science is back,” the president said during a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta on Friday.
“We’re not going back to the old days. When you have a crisis you’re prepared to meet it because you speak the truth and science to power.”
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