Irony alert: University sponsors ‘hackathon’ to protect climate data

Because President-elect Donald Trump picked Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, climate scientists are frantic a Trump administration will come in and ‘erase’ their data and web pages. Despite an administration’s right to set goals for each agency just as President Obama did eight years ago, that hasn’t stopped academics from encouraging government climate scientists from backing up their data to unsecured third-party servers. Case in point is the University of Toronto offering to save federal climate data.

The University is calling it the “Guerrilla Archiving Event” to preserve EPA data. It’s being led by two professors calling on all citizens to choose between caring for Trump, Climate Change data, or the environment. They are asking for volunteers to join in on the one-day ‘hackathon’ event before Trump takes office. One skill they’re looking for: “Hackers to figure out how to extract data and URLs from databases.”

It all began when activists started a fake news story claiming a Trump administration would delete or tamper with climate data, which prompted some to start downloading their data to private servers and Google spreadsheets. Interestingly, when a taxpayer did request NOAA temperature data, the fee came to $260,000 due to the complexity and significant resources involved in gathering the data.

Hackers wanted

The University of Toronto goes on to describe the project as an attempt to archive federal online pages and databases that are in danger of going ‘missing’ after Trump takes office. On its Facebook page, one activity listed is using “hacking scripts to make accessible to the ‘WebCrawler’ hard to reach databases.” They claim the Trump transition team has made it clear the EPA and other environmental programs are “ripe for the chopping block.”

Trump has already stated he will be a champion of clean air and water and would delegate the job of issuing regulations to congress, which is its purview. Currently, Obama has bypassed the legislative branch altogether and used his federal agencies to create new global warming programs despite ongoing efforts to find out exactly how much he has spent. Trump has been clear he would use an all-of-the-above energy approach and use sound science to make decisions. That’s what got him elected in coal-producing states.

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