The state Department of Natural Resources has removed language from its website that blamed climate change on “human activities.”
The change was made on a DNR web page about the Great Lakes, which previously talked about the potential impacts of climate change on the ecosystem of the lakes and said “human activities that increase heat–trapping (“green house”) gases are the main cause” of the problem.
The update, done earlier this month, now says “the reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth’s long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.”
Blogger James Rowen first reported on the change in language.
In a statement, DNR spokesman James Dick said the changes were made to a page that had not been updated in several years. “The updated page reflects our position on this topic that we have communicated for years, that our agency regularly must respond to a variety of environmental and human stressors from drought, flooding, wind events to changing demographics,” he said. “Our agency must be ready to respond to each of these challenges. Adaptation has been our position on this topic.”
Dick added that the causes of climate change are still being debated by the general public, while research is being done by academics working outside of the DNR.
Environmentalist group critical of change
The update drew criticism from environmental advocates in the state. Clean Wisconsin Senior Policy Director Keith Reopelle called the move “shocking and disturbing” in its attempt to change history. “The notion that there’s any scientific debate about what causes climate change is ridiculous,” he said.
Reopelle said he also worries that the move could drive away top researchers who work for the DNR. “People who are talented and smart don’t want to work for an agency that is going to try to hide the truth,” he argued. “People have more integrity than that.”