On a rainy Inauguration Day morning, dozens of students, archivists, librarians, professors and other concerned citizens gathered in a UCLA classroom, poring over the Department of Energy website. They sifted through pages covering a broad spectrum of topics, from energy-efficient buildings and solar power to transportation and bioenergy. The goal of Friday’s workshop, which ran more than six hours: To protect publicly available climate data on government websites – data that some feared could be deleted or otherwise degraded by a new administration that has indicated its aversion to climate science.
“Climate change data is specifically under attack,” said Joan Donovan, a researcher with UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics who spoke on a panel at the event. “There are real stakes to doing the work we’re doing today.” Without good data, researchers said, you can’t make good policy. Scientific data, carefully taken over many decades, are essential for crafting a long-term strategy to deal with climate change. “I am not ‘post-truth’ and neither should you be,” Donovan told the attendees. “Today we are fighting a war of information.”