References to Humans’ Role in Climate Change Removed from NPS Report

Silencing Science Tracker

References to Humans’ Role in Climate Change Removed from NPS Report

On April 2, 2018, it was reported that officials at the National Park Service (NPS) had removed all references to humans’ role in causing climate change from a report on the impact of sea level rise and flooding on coastal national parks.

The report, titled “Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Projections for the National Park Service,” is intended to inform NPS staff and the public about how to protect park resources and visitors from climate change. It was drafted by Maria Caffrey — a scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder — in the summer of 2016. Since then, the report has been under review by NPS officials, who have reportedly made significant edits. For example, in early February 2018, NPS officials removed five references to “anthropogenic” climate change and three references to “human activities” causing climate change.  The opening sentence of the report’s exchange summary was changed as follows:

The introduction was also changed, with the following two sentences deleted: “While sea levels have been gradually rising since the last glacial maximum approximately 21,000 years ago, anthropogenic climate change has significantly increased the rate of global sea level rise. Human activities continue to release carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm.”

The changes were reportedly made by Larry Perez, a career public information officer who coordinates the climate change response program at NPS. It is not known whether he was directed to make the changes or was engaging in “self-censoring.”

Update: On May 18, 2018, the full (unedited) report was published on the NPS website.


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