The climate change page on the Environmental Protection Agency's website — a government site that presents the science explaining the changing climate, as well as ways to address it — is now void of data.
Instead, the page has a message that it's being updated "to reflect EPA's priorities under the leadership of President [Donald] Trump and Administrator [Scott] Pruitt," according to the webpage.
The EPA's climate change homepage, as well as several other EPA pages concerning climate change, went offline on Friday (April 28). Once they return, the pages will have updated language, the EPA wrote in a statement. [Earth in the Balance: 7 Crucial Tipping Points]
"As EPA renews its commitment to human health and clean air, land and water, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency." J.P. Freire, an associate administrator for public affairs, said in the statement. "We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we're protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law."
The scrubbing includes a page that explained how the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide contributes to climate change, according to The Washington Post. Pruitt, the head of the EPA, disputed the fact that carbon dioxide is a main driver of climate change in March. However, scientific consensus shows that it is.
Another page missing in action is one that detailed the Clean Power Plan, a regulation enacted by the Obama administration in 2015. The plan had yet to be put in place because of legal challenges against it, but would have set limits on the amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that power plants can emit, Live Science previously reported.
The data included on the page about the plan, including fact sheets showing how greenhouse gas emissions varied at state and local levels, are also gone, according to the Post. Instead, the EPA has a page that describes the President's executive order that rolls back the plan.
The webpages were cleared a day before The People’s Climate March, held April 29 in Washington, D.C., and satellite cities. According to The Atlantic, About 200,000 people attended the march in the nation's capital, where they raised visibility about climate change and urged the government to be more proactive in preventive measures against it.
Pruitt approved the changes to the climate change pages, which have existed online for almost 20 years, according to an anonymous source who spoke with the Post.
This isn't the first time the EPA's climate change pages have come under scrutiny. The George W. Bush administration froze updates and later required that new information undergo review by the White House, the Post reported. But these activities did not alter the scientific information that was already on the site, according to the Post.
A snapshot of the EPA pages from the Obama White House are archived here.
Original article on Live Science.
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Laura is the archaeology and Life's Little Mysteries editor at Live Science. She also reports on general science, including paleontology. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site on autism research. She has won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for her reporting at a weekly newspaper near Seattle. Laura holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in science writing from NYU.