Climate Science Watch Exposes Scientific Censorship

Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program released a major report on the likely impacts of climate change on Gulf Coast transportation infrastructure. However, the GAP program Climate Science Watch (CSW), in addition to noticing the report’s press release was buried, confirmed that journalists were blocked by DOT from speaking with the report’s lead author. 

The report specifically analyzes how global warming will require immediate changes to be incorporated into Gulf infrastructure planning (highways) in order to avoid future problems. Three hours after the report was posted online, DOT issued an uninformative and misleading press release on a separate Web site, listing only one contact – a DOT press official. Reporters who initially tried to interview the report’s lead author were explicitly told by DOT officials that the author and the press could not communicate with each other.

The authors of scientific reports should always be allowed to brief and respond to press inquiries. After finding that DOT was blocking inquiries, GAP and CSW issued a press release to challenge their censorship. The DOT then felt public pressure, and was compelled to open media communication between journalists and the report’s author.