Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Firefighters battle the Bond Fire, started by a structure fire that extended into nearby vegetation, along Silverado Canyon Road on Thursday, December 3, 2020 in Silverado, California.

Firefighters battle the Bond Fire, started by a structure fire that extended into nearby vegetation, along Silverado Canyon Road on Thursday, December 3, 2020 in Silverado, California. (Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

EPA Data Kept Secret Under Trump Shows Climate Crisis Becoming 'More Evident, Stronger, and Extreme'

"Combating climate change—it's not optional. It's essential," said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

Jake Johnson

During its four years in power, the oil-friendly Trump administration kept the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Change Indicators page completely frozen, suppressing an updated assessment of how the planetary emergency is affecting the United States and other parts of the world.

But on Wednesday, the Biden EPA relaunched the page with new data showing that U.S. cities are experiencing more frequent and intense heat waves, ocean and lake temperatures are climbing, sea levels on U.S. coasts are rising, and wildfire season is peaking earlier.

Those and other alarming trends detailed on the revamped page—which emphasizes that many of the changes "are linked to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, caused by human activities"—constitute further evidence of the "urgency for action on the climate crisis," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

"With this long overdue update," Regan added, "we now have additional data and a new set of indicators that show climate change has become even more evident, stronger, and extreme—as has the imperative that we take meaningful action."

In addition to bringing up to date the page's previously existing categories, the EPA added new sections detailing how rising global temperatures have reduced the surface area of glaciers in Glacier National Park, Montana; shortened the duration of ice cover in the Great Lakes; and lowered permafrost temperatures in Alaska.

"There is no small town, big city, or rural community that is unaffected by the climate crisis," Regan told the New York Times on Wednesday. "Americans are seeing and feeling the impacts up close, with increasing regularity."

As the Washington Post reported Wednesday, the Trump administration "delayed an update to the EPA's peer-reviewed report on climate change indicators, first published in 2010."

"As a result, the report offers a snapshot of the extent to which the science around climate change grew more detailed and robust during [former President Donald] Trump's term, even as his administration at times tried to stifle those findings," the Post noted. "The Trump administration did not take down the climate indicators page, leaving it up with outdated information."

During his White House tenure, Trump repeatedly questioned the findings of government climate scientists, attempted to bury research on the climate emergency's impact, and weakened regulations aimed at reducing planet-warming emissions.

Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that while the Biden administration's decision to revive the EPA assessment is welcome, "it's a bare minimum that this kind of data should be updated regularly and available to the public."

"We have a very long, uphill road ahead of us for actually enacting policies that will make change," Dahl told the Times.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Sanders, Top Dems Optimistic Party Will 'Come Together' for Reconciliation Package

However, House leaders warn they may miss a September 27 deadline to consider Senate-approved infrastructure legislation that progressives will only support alongside a $3.5 trillion bill.

Jessica Corbett ·


Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·


'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo