A University of Colorado research scientist said she was “extremely happy” the National Park Service released a study on sea level rise even though it “probably destroyed” her career doing agency research.
Researcher Maria Caffrey refused to accept corrections from the NPS that supposedly got rid of words linking global warming to human activity.
The news site Reveal reported on the study’s drafting in April.
“The fight probably destroyed my career with the [NPS] but it will be worth it if we can uphold the truth and ensure that scientific integrity of other scientists won’t be challenged so easily in the future,” Caffrey told Reveal.
Reveal went through 2,000 pages of draft reports to find “a park service official crossed out the word ‘anthropogenic,’ the term for people’s impact on nature, in five places” and “[t]hree references to ‘human activities’ causing climate change also were removed.”
Critics held up Caffrey’s report as an example of the Trump administration censoring science, but Reveal’s reporting shows the edits were largely made by a career public affairs official, not a political appointee.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke denied changing “a comma” in the study, which presented catastrophic scenarios of sea level rise at national parks at monuments around the country.
Caffrey said her study would help officials plan for future climate change.
The study includes graphics of the National Mall in D.C. underwater due to sea level rise from man-made warming, based on catastrophic scenarios.
NPS released the study on Friday.
Caffrey told Reveal she was “extremely happy” all references to man-made global warming were put back into the report.
She had worked on the study for five years and fought NPS on the edits, and the study was supposed to be released in 2016. NPS officials threatened not to release it if she did not agree, Caffrey said.
However, NPS spokesman Jeffrey Olson told Reveal, “Discussions between authors over report language resulted in agreement over the use of several terms, including climate change and anthropogenic climate change.”
The study was delayed because of disagreement among authors, Olson said.
Indeed, the study was set for release during the Obama administration.
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