NPS Scientists Avoiding Discussion of “Climate Change”

On August 14, 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published the results of a survey of 63,000 scientists employed by the federal government. The survey, which was conducted by UCS and Iowa State University in early 2018, gathered information about scientific integrity at 16 federal agencies. According to USC, the results “demonstrate significant challenges related to the development and use of science” within federal agencies, including extensive “censorship and self-censorship.”

The survey results suggest that scientists at the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service (NPS) have engaged in self-censorship. 26 percent of NPS scientists surveyed indicated that they had “avoided working on climate change or using the phrase climate change even when not explicitly told to do so.” One NPS scientist explained that, “[a]lthough there have been few published prohibitions [on climate change research or discussion], there is uncertainty about what forms of retaliation might take place if the powers-that-be are unhappy with you.” This appears to have led many scientists to avoid research into, or discussion of, climate change.