Climate change is ‘not something you believe. It just is,’ says Trump whistleblower Joel Clement

Media outlets including the Lewiston Sun Journal and Maine Public covered climate-change whistleblower Joel Clement’s talk at Bates on Wednesday.

Clement is the former Department of Interior climate policy chief who says the Trump administration retaliated against him and fellow scientists for speaking out about climate change.

In his Sun Journal story, reporter Steve Collins describes how Ryan Zinke, Trump’s Department of Interior secretary, went about transferring various staffers, like Clement, to new jobs “in the hope of driving them to quit.”

Joel Clement, formerly the top climate policy expert in the U.S. Department of Interior, meets with Sarah Sachs ’18 prior to his Bates talk on March 14. Sachs, who interviewed Clement for her environmental studies thesis, “Scientific and Political Implications of Climate Science Censorship under the Trump Administration.” (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Clement “got new marching orders to work in a government office that dispersed royalties from the oil and gas industry – in Oklahoma,” a job for which he had no training. “Climate change was no longer a priority.”

It should be, of course, says Clement, who spoke in the Olin Arts Center. The warming planet “is not something you believe. It just is.”

Clement filed a whistleblower complaint and resigned in October.

Peggy Rotundo, a former state lawmaker who directs strategic and policy initiative for the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, told reporter Steve Collins that Clement’s “principled courage” reminds her of how Sen. Edmund Muskie ’36 famously put his faith in science as he advanced his landmark legislation, the “Clean Air and Clean Water acts that transformed the nation’s environment almost a half-century ago.”