Scientists are scrambling to save decades of climate change data before President-elect Donald Trump takes office for fear that it might disappear under the Trump administration.
"Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to hedge against," Nick Santos, an environmental scientist at the University of California at Davis, told The Washington Post.
"Doing this can only be a good thing," Santos added. "Hopefully they leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that."
Science researchers and database experts are reportedly placing copies of the government data on independent servers, and planning mass archiving events in Toronto and at the University of Pennsylvania before Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
Trump's transition team has asked the U.S. Department of Energy for names of employees and contractors who have worked on climate change data under the Obama administration, and who have been part of international climate discussions.
This naming of names has worried scientists who fear Trump may alter or delete the government's studies on man-made climate change, which Trump has called "a hoax."
Trump has also signaled that he will repeal Obama's environmental policies that cut down on pollution and carbon emissions.
Michael Halpern of the Center for Science and Democracy told The Washington Post that Trump has appointed a "band of climate conspiracy theorists" to his transition team and cabinet:
They have been salivating at the possibility of dismantling federal climate research programs for years. It’s not unreasonable to think they would want to take down the very data that they dispute. There is a fine line between being paranoid and being prepared, and scientists are doing their best to be prepared ... Scientists are right to preserve data and archive websites before those who want to dismantle federal climate change research programs storm the castle.
Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a longtime climate change denier, to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week, noted The New York Times.
Trump confirmed on Dec. 14 that he would name former Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas to head the Energy Department, which Perry promised to abolish when he ran for president in 2011, reports USA Today.
Perry called Trump "a cancer on conservatism" during the GOP presidential primary in 2016, and Trump accused Perry of wearing glasses in order to appear more intelligent.