Fighting Back Against Trump's War on Science

The Trump administration is waging a war on science that's putting people and the planet at risk. Using tactics from spreading “alternative facts” to placing gag orders on government scientists to simply denying anthropogenic climate change, the White House and some members of Congress are launching dangerous attacks on scientific integrity and science itself.

We at the Center know that science provides an indispensable foundation for sound decision-making — and sound science is more important than ever for protecting biodiversity and the lands, waters and climate we all need to survive.

With all this at stake in Trump's war on science, the Center has no choice but to fight.

How the Trump Administration Is Attacking Science


While the scientific community and other nations throughout the world recognize climate change as an urgent threat requiring decisive action, the Trump administration and some members of Congress are pursuing a dangerous strategy of climate change denial.

On the campaign trail, Trump called climate change a “Chinese hoax,” and he has since filled his cabinet with climate change deniers. He put in power Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who holds one of the most important roles in protecting the environment — and who has denied fundamental scientific facts about climate change. Not only has the Trump administration purged nearly all mention of climate change programs from the White House and State Department websites — it's also busy dismantling science-based climate policies.

Trump's executive orders to start the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, lift the federal moratorium on coal leasing on public lands, and green-light the disastrous Keystone XL  and Dakota Access pipelines put our climate, public health and environment in grave danger.


The Trump administration already has a chilling record of placing gag orders on our science-based agencies. Even before Trump took office, his transition team for the Department of Energy issued an intimidating questionnaire to identify employees and contractors who had worked on Obama-era climate policies.

Once in office the administration sent memos to at least four scientific and environmental protection agencies barring employees from publicly communicating about their work. Days later an EPA transition team official stated that scientists who want to publish or present their scientific findings likely first must have their work reviewed on a “case by case basis.”

Employees at the Department of Energy's climate office have reported being instructed to stop using basic climate-related phrases like “climate change,” “emissions reductions,” and “Paris agreement.”


Trump's first budget proposal calls for massive cuts to funding for our nation's core science and health agencies, which threatens critical research programs on disease prevention, hazardous-waste cleanup, climate change, energy efficiency, and coastal and oceans research.

Trump's budget would cut half of the EPA's research budget and eliminate more than 50 programs, including its environmental justice office. It would also cut half of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's budget for ocean and coastal research, and slash 20 percent from funding for disease research by the National Institutes of Health.

How the Center Is Defending Science

Scientific research shows that most global and U.S. fossil fuels must stay in the ground to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. So the Center and allies are suing the Trump administration over its order lifting the moratorium on the federal coal-leasing program and opening tens of thousands of acres of public lands to the coal industry. We also filed suit challenging the Trump administration's approval of the Keystone XL pipeline despite its threats to the climate, water, wildlife and public health.

The Center has filed four Freedom of Information Act requests with the Trump Administration asking for records of communications censoring agency staff from using words or phrases related to climate change.


The Center, along with noted conservation biologist Stuart Pimm and the Center for Media and Democracy, are working to prevent hundreds of environmental data sets on government websites from being removed by the Trump administration.

On April 22, Earth Day 2017, Center for Biological Diversity scientists and other staff — plus our friends and families (and of course media favorite Frostpaw the Polar Bear) — joined the March for Science in Washington, D.C., and other cities around the country, marching to stand up for climate science, defend the Endangered Species Act, and support all those oppressed by the policies of the Republican-led Congress and Trump administration. The Center was an official partner and supporter of the D.C., Los Angeles and Sacramento marches.

Polar bear photo by vtluvbug79/Flickr