Chicago Published The EPA's Deleted Climate-Change Page, & The NRDC Loves It

By Stephen Gossett in News on May 8, 2017 7:39PM

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a naturalization ceremony on May 5, a day before the city's climate change announcement. Getty Images / Photo: Scott Olson

With as much fanfare as the Trump administration seemed to avoid when it removed the Environmental Protection Agency's online climate change guide, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his latest thumb-tweak at the president and his controversial environmental policies on Sunday: the City of Chicago unveiled a new addition to its official website, which now sports the information about climate change that was recently yanked from the EPA's website—a cheeky little move that was just praised by the National Resources Defense Council.

“The Trump administration can attempt to erase decades of work from scientists and federal employees on the reality of climate change, but burying your head in the sand doesn’t erase the problem,” Emanuel said in a statement on Sunday. “We are going to ensure Chicago’s residents remain well informed about the effects of climate change, and I encourage cities, academic institutions, and others to voice concerns to follow suit to ensure this important information does not disappear."

The new website, dubbed "Climate Change is Real," gathers basic information about greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, impacts in the Midwest, changes in extreme weather—and other things that Bret Stephens might have you doubt because all things are at the core unknowable.

The EPA removed the information from its site on April 29, saying it hoped to "eliminate confusion" by getting rid of "outdated language." But you can again be mystified by confounding bulletin point like "Climate Science" and "Climate Impacts" at the City of Chicago's page here.

Does Rahm's move have a faint air of grandstanding from a pol ready to believe his (perhaps overstated) comeback press now that he has such a prominent and—in Chicago—disliked foil? Perhaps. But his move is being celebrated in environmental corners whether it is political or not.

The decision to upload the page was championed on Monday by Henry Henderson, the Midwest director of the National Resources Defense Council:

"That site ensures that the climate data that the Trump Administration scrubbed from the EPA’s website remains available to the public and scientists around the world. As a seeming war on science moves forward in DC, Chicago ensures that decades of essential data can continue to inform the researchers seeking to understand and find solutions to climate change."

Emanuel not long ago shot back at the Trump administration on environmental grounds amid reports that the EPA was considering closing its Chicago office. But of course it could framed as the latest salvo in the larger, eternal fight between the president and Emanuel (usually about immigration and violent crime), and Chicago and the president—which has basically been going on ever since the city ran Trump out of town in March of last year.

Chicago's Department of Innovation and Technology also this weekend unveiled a new interactive archive that allows information from public data portals to be preserved.

EPA head Scott Pruitt has yet to deny the existence of the page.