USGS 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 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), within the Department of the Interior, have engaged in self-censorship. 32 percent of USGS scientists surveyed indicated that they “avoid working on climate change or using the phrase “climate change” even without explicit orders to do so.”

It appears that, in some cases, USGS scientists may have been encouraged to self-censor by senior career staffers. One USGS scientist reported that “[w]e are being told not to use the words “climate change” in any memos that require clearance.”