Bowen advised to remove climate change language
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is asking scientists to reword their grant proposals so as to avoid mentions of “climate change” or “global warming,” researchers say. The move came to light when Jennifer Bowen, an ecologist at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center, posted part of an email from a DOE official on Friday (August 25), prompting a backlash from members of the scientific community over perceived interference from President Trump’s administration in climate research.
“I found it to be a stark reminder of the ongoing politicization of science,” Bowen writes in an email to The Washington Post. “I firmly believe that scientists should have the intellectual freedom to tackle the most pressing issues of the day, regardless of the political landscape.”
Bowen’s proposal for a project to investigate the effect of environmental stressors such as climate change on salt marshes had recently won a research grant from DOE-managed research institutes. In an email, Ashley Gilbert, project coordinator at the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, asked Bowen to reword the proposal’s abstract in order “to meet the President’s budget language restrictions.”
Speaking to Nature at the end of last week, DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said that “there is no departmental-wide policy banning the term ‘climate change’ from being used in DOE materials.” But it has emerged that Bowen wasn’t the only scientist being asked to tweak the scientific language of a proposal.