Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited Glacier National Park during the weekend to address how climate change is shrinking Montana’s glaciers.
However, Daniel B. Fagre, the state’s biggest research ecologist, was forbidden to come and share his knowledge on the retreating ice caps.
The decision has sparked suspicion inside United States Geological Survey that Fagre’s appearance was canceled to minimize attention toward the ongoing issue of climate change, according to Mic.
The climate scientist, who passionately condemned President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord, said he was scheduled for a tour of Logan Pass with Zuckerberg. However, just three days before the awaited July 15 visit, he received word that Department of Interior has denied him permission to tour the site.
“I literally was told I would no longer be participating,” Fagre told The Washington Post. “I’ve gotten nothing back. We’ve definitely been left in the dark.”
Despite the cancelation, Zuckerberg met with park rangers, including a wildlife service dog, although it is not clear whether they discussed climate change.
The Facebook founder also shared an alarming post on his platform.
“In the last hundred years, the average global temperature has risen 1.5 degrees. But in the high elevations of Montana where Glacier is, the temperature is warming at 3x the global average — enough to melt glaciers,” Zuckerberg noted. “Since the 1850s, the number of glaciers here has gone from 150 to 25. In a couple of decades, there may not be any glaciers left in the park at all.”
However, the Trump administration’s decision to keep a celebrity from a resident scientist who wanted to discuss the increasing temperature of the earth, has struck people as very bizarre.
“Sure, the administration has a particular view,” Andrew Rosenberg, a fisheries scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists told Mic. “But that doesn’t mean you suppress scientific information and evidence and expertise the Park Service has developed over literally decades. The park rangers are great, but this is a high-level scientist who really studies this stuff.”
“At every possible turn, [the Trump administration] has tried to obscure and hide the single biggest fact about the planet today, which is that it’s heating up fast,” said Bill McKibben, an environmentalist and founder of green organization, 350.org.
A representative from Facebook said Zuckerberg’s team implied the founder was interested in toll of climate change at the Glacier Park, but they did not have any knowledge about the decision to pull Fagre and said it was National Park Service who set up Zuckerberg’s agenda.
A move like this by the Trump administration is hardly unprecedented.
In May, the Department of Interior deleted a line from a research study detailing the role of global warming in rising sea levels, co-authored by three scientists from the USGS.
The Trump administration has also axed an entire section related to climate change on the White House website.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Stephen Lam