Jan 20, 2017 by


CREDIT: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

On January 20, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Minutes later, the White House website switched hands — and previous pages detailing President Obama’s climate change plans went dark.

The new website features, instead, a page dedicated to “An American First Energy Plan,” which details the new administration’s stance towards energy and (a lack of) climate policy. The plan tracks almost exactly with promises made by Trump during the campaign — to unleash more fossil fuel extraction, especially on federal lands, cancel Obama-era climate policies like the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule, and invest in “clean coal” technology.

Trump has yet to explain how his plan would succeed in both supporting the natural gas fracking boom and bringing back coal jobs. Energy policy experts largely agree that the increased availability of cheap natural gas has contributed to much of the recent downturn in coal’s prospects — which would make Trump’s promise to “embrace the shale oil and gas revolution” antithetical to its promise to revive America’s coal industry.

Noticeably absent from the energy plan, however, is any mention of the Paris climate agreement, which Trump previously promised to withdraw from if elected president. Trump has since indicated a reluctance to follow through on that promise, however, and his nominee for secretary of state, former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he felt the United States should remain “at the table” regarding the Paris agreement.

Scientists have been concerned for months, given the Trump administration’s antagonism towards climate science and climate policy, that government information could be scrubbed from websites following the transition of power. Thus far, climate information at the EPA, NASA, and other government agencies appears untouched; still, not wanting to take chances, coders have spent the last few weeks feverishly trying to archive as much data as possible.

Climate information from the Obama administration is still available at the administration’s archived White House website. The old White House climate and energy page boasted news about the historic climate agreement between the United States and China — negotiated under the Obama administration — and makes the urgent case for climate action.

“For the sake of our children and future generations, we must act now,” the page read. “And we are.”

The new administration, however, does not appear to share that same sense of urgency.

This is an emerging story. ThinkProgress will continue to monitor government webpages as the Trump administration takes over. If you see any climate information deleted or altered from any government agency websites, please email ngeiling@americanprogress.org.

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