The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has denied a request by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to compile a list of employees who worked on policies, initiatives and research related to climate change.
The request was wrapped into a list of 74 questions the Trump transition team sent DOE, two of which specifically asked for a list of individual names.
Many DOE employees were alarmed by the request, and DOE spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said the agency “respect[s] the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.”
The demand for names of department workers in that context is unprecedented, and many read into a sinister motive behind the exchange. DOE employees were concerned and fearful about being blacklisted or somehow fired by the incoming Trump administration because of their knowledge and experience relating to global warming and environmental sustainability policies.
One DOE employee spoke to Reuters anonymously for fear of retaliation by the Trump team if his name was used.
“This feels like the first draft of an eventual political enemies list,” the anonymous department worker said.
After the DOE publicly addressed the request, the Trump transition team quickly distanced themselves and shifted responsibility for the questionnaire onto one misguided employee.
“The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol,” a Trump transition team statement read. “The person who sent it has been properly counseled.”
According to official DOE website, the mission of the agency is to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges transformative science and technology solutions.” Trump and his newly formed cabinet of nominees have taken a staunch anti-environmental view, and most either deny the science behind climate change, or argue that its effects are overblown.
Most recently, Trump advisor, and member of the transition team, Anthony Scaramucci, compared climate change to believing that the world is flat.
“There was an overwhelming science that the Earth was flat, and there was an overwhelming science that we were the center of the world,” he said. “We get a lot of things wrong in the scientific community.”
The majority of scientists believe climate change is not only happening, but poses an extreme threat to the sustainability of life as we know it on Earth.
Also, just to clear anything up, we have learned a lot since the third century BC , and the Earth is most definitely round.
[Washington Post] [Reuters] [Newsweek]