International Timeline

2016

May

  Leading scientists in Australia and abroad have expressed concern that a new United Nations report about the impact of climate change removed the chapter describing damage to the Great Barrier Reef, after the Australian government requested that the section be cut.

  Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or Csiro announced that it would lay off 275 of its scientists, among them Dr. Church, one of the world’s 10 leading climate scientists. The move has generated harsh international criticism.

2014

November

  Australia’s Federal Liberal Party highlighted its similarities of their charitable status, a move one of the groups targeted referred to as “draconian.” Critics of the initiative have also highlighted its similarities to ongoing audits of a number of charities here in Canada.

June

 Australia’s Federal Liberal Party endorsed a proposal to strip 13 environmental groups of their tax-deductable status, a move one of the groups targeted referred to as “draconian.” Critics of the initiative have also highlighted its similarities to ongoing audits of a number of charities here in Canada.


2017

May

China retracts more scientific papers because of fake peer reviews than all other
countries taken together.


2017

February/March

After President Trump issued his first travel ban to citizens of 7 Muslim-dominated countries, scientists in Europe created the Science Solidarity List, offering assistance to stranded research scientists fro the US. This was updated in March with the issuance of the second travel ban for 6 countries.

2015

December

The European Commission axes its Chief Science Advisor, just three years after the position was established. Researchers across Europe condemn the move.


2017

February

  French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron invites American scientists and researchers who suffer under the Trump administration’s war on science to come to France, once he is elected President. He promises them protection and innovation.


2015

March

 The UK government makes a three-sentence change to its Civil Service Code which “requires that all contact with media be approved in advance by the minister in charge of the relevant agency.” The department that oversees the UK Civil Service later clarifies that the code does not apply to employees of research councils and other organizations that are not directly part of government departments. Nevertheless, critics are quick to condemn the increased restrictions on scientific communication, and many liken the situation in the UK to what’s been happening in Canada.


2015

March

Over 1,000 Irish scientists and engineers sign an open letter, urging their government to provide adequate funding for basic research. The letter precedes Ireland’s release of a new national strategy for science, technology and innovation. Already, signs point to an increased emphasis on “research prioritisation,” suggesting that basic science is bound to take a hit just as it has in Canada.


2016

January

Left-wing professors in India are removed from their positions by right-wing movement, the R.S.S..  The R.S.S. aims “to install its men at the helm of universities where they will wreak vengeance on the traditionally left-wing intellectual establishment that has always held them in contempt.”


2015

March

Scientists in Japan face pressure to downplay the results of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.


2016

September

2346 academics have been dismissed for alleged ties to the July 15 coup attempt. Many others have been detained.

July

The government banned all work-related international travel by scholars and demanded those abroad return immediately.

The government closed 15 private universities among others for supposedly being “connected or in communication with the Fethullah Terrorist Organization”.

2017

December

700 EPA officials have left the agency since Trump took power, disheartened by the agency’s direction.

The Trump administration forbids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use the following 7 words in documents prepared for the next budget: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

November

• The Trump administration’s position and policies on climate change are contradicted by the US Global Climate Report which concludes that there is “strong evidence” that humans are the dominant cause of unprecedented global warming. The Report is barely acknowledged by the White House.

October

The EPA cancelled, without explanation, the talk of 3 scientists who were on the program to talk about a project that had been funded by the agency, Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. The barred Scientists had contributed substantially to the 400-page report.

August

Trump administration restricts communication on climate change, prompting the Centre for Biological Diversity to sue the government.

CDC staff are prohibitedfrom speaking with the press without prior clearance:

“Effective immediately and until further notice, any and all correspondence with any member of the news media, regardless of the nature of the inquiry, must be cleared through CDC’s Atlanta Communications Office.” “This correspondence includes everything from formal interview requests to the most basic of data requests.”

The Department of Energy asked a scientist to remove the phrase “climate change” from her grant proposal.

July

The Union of Concerned Scientists releases its science report, demonstrating that Trump has appointed conflicted individuals to scientific leadership positions, left key science positions vacant, revoked science-based safeguards, misrepresented climate science, altered scientific content on government websites, reduced public access to data, restricted communication of scientists and created a hostile environment for scientists.

March

Under the leadership of Scott Pruitt, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed climate change as well as a description of international climate change from its website, and deleted science from its mandate.

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s appointee to lead the EPA on February 17, 2017, rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. Pruitt has stated that he believes that “the climate is changing, and human activity contributes to that in some manner” but questions whether carbon dioxide “is a primary contributor to the global warming”.

Hundreds rallied for science at a demonstration in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston.

Trump’s budget request would cut funding to the National Institutes of Health by 20%. It would eliminate funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, folding it into the budget of the National Institutes of Health. It would cancel all funding for the Fogarty International Center at NIH that funds training of researchers for low-income countries.

February

Multiple groups of American scientists copy and store government sites with crucial climate change information to save the data, anticipating that the Trump Administration will shut these sites down.

The New York Times opinion piece encourages US scientists to learn from the experience of Canadian scientists in the Harper years.

American scientists are becoming politically active by preparing for the next election, running for office, participating in marches, writing op ed pieces and storing data.

January

A US national park employee fights muzzling with humour.

The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on EPA grants and contracts.

2016

December

The Trump transition team tried to collect names of employees of the Department of Energy who worked on climate change. The department refused to comply.

Scientific American warns American scientists to learn from the Canadian experience.

November

Shortly after the US election, in response to the Trump administration’s objective of removing scientific and environmental data from the web, a group of scientists and academics started the Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI), which is working on ways to rescue these data and make them available to the public.

May

Food & Water Watch release a report that documents that the National Research Council (NRC) (and its parent organization, the National Academy of Sciences) are compromised by industry ties.

February

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) argues that in the U.S. Department of Agriculture “politics determines what scientific work will see the light of day”. This follows a complaint by one of its top entomologists that USDA purged controversial findings, blocked publication of research papers with policy implications, and forbade scientists from being interviewed by reporters. A USDA panel rejected the charges.

2015

August

In a win for citizen science, a Federal judge struck down Idaho’s law against secretly videotaping animal abuse on farms.

Federal judge strikes down Idaho’s law against secretly videotaping animal abuse on farms. Agricultural gagging, ag-gag, legislation criminalizes undercover investigations that reveal abuse or violent actions against animals. Idaho passed ag-gag legislation in 2014, but Judge Winmill considered the law unconstitutional.

June

Food & Water Watch release a report that documents that the NRC (and its parent organization, the National Academy of Sciences) is compromised by industry ties.

March

The state of Florida – one of the United States most susceptible to climate change – warns officials of its Department of Environmental Protection not to use the terms “climate change” or “global warming.” The move is referred to as just “the latest in a string of recent events highlighting the challenge the United States faces from the politicization of science.” An employee of Florida’s environmental protection department later claims that he was accused of violating policy and instructed to get a mental health evaluation after violating the unwritten ban.

A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists in the United States reveals significant improvements to the communications policies of government agencies conducting scientific research. This follows years of work on by the UCS to catalogue instances of political interference in government science in the United States.

A top U.S. climate scientist says officials at NASA headquarters ordered staff to review his forthcoming lectures, papers and media interviews after he called for urgent cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

2014

December

The Union of Concerned Scientists in the U.S. proteststhe use of a spending bill to delay protections for sage grouse (which are considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act). UCS says the move signifies “blatant, unobscured interference in science-based policy” on the part of Congress.

Republicans in the U.S. pass the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which effectively forbids scientists from advising the Environmental Protection Agency on their own research. The White House says it will veto the bill.

June

Former Pennsylvania Department of Health employees say they were instructed not to return phone calls from local residents concerned about the health effects of natural gas development in the region. Former employees also allege that the Department recently began requiring field staff to get permission to attend any outside meetings. As well, funding for research into the health effects of gas drilling was cuttin 2012.



2017

September

Scholars at Risk release their report Free to Think documenting violent attacks on higher education communities across the world.

2016

October

Scholars at Risk released a report documenting 158 attacks on higher education communities arising from 101 verified incidents in 35 countries, from May 1, 2015 to September 1, 2016. In Appendix – Table of Incidents, a breakdown by country is given.

2015

November

More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries send a warning to the world re
climate change.


What’s missing from our timeline of international events?
Please contact us at info@ourrighttoknow.ca if you are aware of any instances of muzzling that we should add to this list![/vc_column_text]