Jun 24, 2019

USDA not publicizing studies on climate change effects: Report

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and President Trump. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

The Trump administration is not publicizing study findings on climate change effects or promoting government-funded research on how higher temperatures are damaging crops and posing health risks, Politico reports.

Details: The peer-reviewed studies, cleared through the nonpartisan Agricultural Research Service, the principal in-house research agency of the Department of Agriculture, examined the effects of carbon dioxide, rising temperatures and volatile weather, rather than specifically focusing on the causes of global warming, according to Politico.

  • Politico cited examples of reports not promoted, including a 2-year study in which University of Washington researchers, collaborating with USDA scientists and colleagues in Japan, China and Australia, found that carbon dioxide can make rice less nutritious.

The big picture: President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue have both doubted the science of climate change, despite the administration's director of National Intelligence and other agencies identifying it as a threat to national security.

What they're saying: A USDA spokesperson denied to Politico that there has been a directive that prevents the publication of climate-related science.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Andrew Freedman: The Agriculture Department’s approach to its climate science research contrasts sharply with other parts of the Trump administration, such as NASA, NOAA and the Energy Department. Ultimately, the work still gets publicized and known to other researchers, just on a delay.

Go deeper: Trump and Republicans are isolated on climate change

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Why it matters: After the White House announced the guideline last week, President Trump said he will likely not wear a mask and emphasized that the guidance was "voluntary."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 1,216,422 — Total deaths: 65,711 — Total recoveries: 252,478Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 312,245 — Total deaths: 8,503 — Total recoveries: 15,021Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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