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'No More Climate Tweets': Zinke Scolds Head of National Park for Tweeting About Scientific Reality

Interior Secretary sends message that under the Trump administration sending out content that conveys scientific consensus of climate change is a no-no

The night sky and entrance sign at Joshua Tree National Park. (Photo: NPS/Lian Law/flickr/cc)

Back in November, the official Twitter account of Joshua Tree National Park sent out a series of tweets that included facts about climate change in general and how it's affecting the immense park in southern California.

But that apparently did not sit well with Trump-appointed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

According to The Hill, citing "two sources close to the situation," Zinke summoned the superintendent of the park, David Smith, to Washington and chided him for the content of those tweets.

The scolding didn't include disciplinary action, the reporting notes, but served to send a message that under the Trump administration sending out content that conveys scientific consensus of the climate crisis is a no-no.

From The Hill:

One source said Smith "got a trip to the woodshed," and described his one-on-one meeting with Zinke as "highly unusual."

Another source said Zinke expressed concern with the tweets during the meeting, and told Smith "no more climate tweets."


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Other sources with knowledge of the meeting confirmed that Zinke wanted to stop tweets about climate change.

Among the Nov. 8 tweets that were reportedly objectionable include one that said "An overwhelming consensus—over 97%—of climate scientists agree that human activity is the driving force behind today's rate of global temperature increase. Natural factors that impact the climate are still at work, but cannot account for today's rapid warming." Another stated: "Park scientists know that climate change will effect the desert ecosystem, but they don't yet know what exactly will change. The data they are gathering about what's currently happening will ID areas of special interest and assist management decisions for planning & protection."

A spokesperson for Zinke denied the characterization of the meeting.

However, Zinke has made clear the department under his direction will not prioritize climate change but will push to shrink the size of national monuments and boost the interests of the fossil fuel industry.

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