US Energy Department balks at Trump request for names on climate change

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WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday it will not comply with a request from President-elect Donald Trump's Energy Department transition team for the names of people who have worked on climate change and the professional society memberships of lab workers.

The response from the Energy Department could signal a rocky transition for the president-elect's energy team and potential friction between the new leadership and the staffers who remain in place.

SEE ALSO: Trump picks Energy Department opponent Rick Perry for Energy Secretary: Sources

The memo sent to the Energy Department on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters last week contains 74 questions including a request for a list of all department employees and contractors who attended the annual global climate talks hosted by the United Nations within the last five years.

More on climate change around the world

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Global warming, climate change impacting Patagonia's massive glaciers
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Global warming, climate change impacting Patagonia's massive glaciers
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 29: Ice calves from the Northern wall of the Perito Moreno glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, on November 29, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Certain areas of glacial ice take on a bluish hue due to light refraction. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the third largest ice field in the world. The majority of the almost 50 large glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park have been retreating during the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in ice caps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 28: Runoff cascades from the edge of Heim glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 28, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The majority of the almost fifty large glaciers in the park have been retreating over the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in icecaps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 27: The Perito Moreno glacier stands in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 27, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Certain areas of glacial ice take on a blueish hue due to light refraction. The majority of the almost fifty large glaciers in the park have been retreating over the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in icecaps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 28: Runoff cascades from the edge of Heim glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 28, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The majority of the almost fifty large glaciers in the park have been retreating over the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in icecaps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 27: The Perito Moreno glacier stands in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 27, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The majority of the almost fifty large glaciers in the park have been retreating over the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in icecaps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 29: The Perito Moreno glacier stands in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, on November 29, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Certain areas of glacial ice take on a bluish hue due to light refraction. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the third largest ice field in the world. The majority of the almost 50 large glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park have been retreating during the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in ice caps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 28: An iceberg broken off from a melting glacier floats in Lake Argentino, which holds runoff water from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 28, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The majority of the almost fifty large glaciers in the surrounding Los Glaciares National Park have been retreating over the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in icecaps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 29: Melting glacial ice floats in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, on November 29, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Certain areas of glacial ice take on a bluish hue due to light refraction. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the third largest ice field in the world. The majority of the almost 50 large glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park have been retreating during the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in ice caps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 28: An iceberg broken off from a melting glacier floats in Lake Argentino, which holds runoff water from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 28, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Certain areas of glacial ice take on a blueish hue due to light refraction. The majority of the almost fifty large glaciers in the surrounding Los Glaciares National Park have been retreating over the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in icecaps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 29: Melted glacial ice floats in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, on November 29, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Certain areas of glacial ice take on a bluish hue due to light refraction. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the third largest ice field in the world. The majority of the almost 50 large glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park have been retreating during the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in ice caps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 29: The Perito Moreno glacier stands in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, on November 29, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Certain areas of glacial ice take on a bluish hue due to light refraction. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the third largest ice field in the world. The majority of the almost 50 large glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park have been retreating during the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in ice caps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
SANTA CRUZ PROVINCE, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 28: Runoff cascades from the edge of Heim glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest ice field in the world, on November 28, 2015 in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The majority of the almost fifty large glaciers in the park have been retreating over the past fifty years due to warming temperatures, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). The United States Geological Survey reports that over 68 percent of the world's freshwater supplies are locked in icecaps and glaciers. The United Nations climate change conference begins November 30 in Paris. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Energy Department spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said Tuesday the department will not comply.

"Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of (the Energy Department) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people," Burnham-Snyder said.

"We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department," he added. "We will be forthcoming with all publicly available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team."

He added that the request "left many in our workforce unsettled."

Reuters reported late Monday that former Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to be named by Trump to run the Energy Department. The agency employs more than 90,000 people working on nuclear weapons maintenance and research labs, nuclear energy, advanced renewable energy, batteries and climate science.

More on the members of Trump's cabinet

22 PHOTOS
Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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The memo sought a list of all department employees or contractors who have attended any meetings on the social cost of carbon, a measurement that federal agencies use to weigh the costs and benefits of new energy and environment regulations. It also asked for all publications written by employees at the department's 17 national laboratories for the past three years.

Trump transition officials declined to comment on the memo.

"This feels like the first draft of an eventual political enemies list," a Department of Energy employee, who asked not to be identified because he feared a reprisal by the Trump transition team, had told Reuters.

RELATED: Impact of changing climates around the U.S.

28 PHOTOS
Coastal Alaska reacts to climate change
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Coastal Alaska reacts to climate change
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 05: People walk down the elevated, raised wooden sidewalks - created so people don't sink into the melting permafrost - on July 5, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which is having to relocate due to melting permafrost and rapid erosion of the river it is established next to, has to have all its fuel and fresh water brought in aboard tankers. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 05: Joseph John Jr. collects fresh water for his family at the fresh water storage tank - one of the only places to get fresh water in town - on July 5, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which is having to relocate due to melting permafrost and rapid erosion of the river it is established next to, has to have all its fuel and fresh water brought in aboard tankers. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 05: Joseph John Jr. collects fresh water for his family at the fresh water storage tank - one of the only places to get fresh water in town - on July 5, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which is having to relocate due to melting permafrost and rapid erosion of the river it is established next to, has to have all its fuel and fresh water brought in aboard tankers. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 05: Boys play on storage tanks for fuel on July 5, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which is having to relocate due to melting permafrost and rapid erosion of the river it is established next to, has to have all its fuel and fresh water brought in aboard tankers. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 05: Samuel John, age 8, looks out his window across the tundra on July 5, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people, was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. However, as global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost; greater ice and snow melt - which is causing the Ninglick river to widen and erode the river bank; and larger storms that come in from the Bering Sea, which further erodes the land. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the high point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. A new village, approximately nine miles away titled Mertarvik, has been established, though so far families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 04: Villagers watch children compete in foot races as a part of Fourth of July celebrations on July 4, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming temperatures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and coastline and erosion to the land. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: A Yupik girl rides her bike late in the evening on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: A puppy sits next to a walrus skull and a chain saw on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JUNE 29: The marshy landscape surrounding Newtok is seen from a plane on June 29, 2015 outside Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people, was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. However, as global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost; greater ice and snow melt - which is causing the Ninglick river to widen and erode the river bank; and larger storms that come in from the Bering Sea, which further erodes the land. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the high point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. A new village, approximately nine miles away titled Mertarvik, has been established, though so far families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: A Yupik family eats a meal of salmon that is half dried, then smoked and boiled on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: A boy hangs out on the front steps of his great-grandmother's house on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: Yupik children play on their tablets in a one room house on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: Newtok homes are seen situation amongst ponds and tall grass on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: Nathan Tom plays drums in his shed on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: Erosion on the shores of the Ninglick River is seen on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 02: Polo the dog waits as Rodrick Stewart (L) and Eddie Lopez set a fish net on Nelson Island on July 2, 2015 near Newtok, Alaska. Newtok has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people and was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost, greater ice and snow melt and larger storms from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the highest elevated point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. Approximately nine miles away, Mertarvik has been established, though families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 01: Yupik men head back to their village after a day of salmon fishing on July 1, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people and was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost, greater ice and snow melt and larger storms from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the highest elevated point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. Approximately nine miles away, Mertarvik has been established, though families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 02: Polo the dog helps look for ducks hunting expedition on Nelson Island on July 2, 2015 near Newtok, Alaska. Newtok has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people and was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost, greater ice and snow melt and larger storms from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the highest elevated point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. Approximately nine miles away, Mertarvik has been established, though families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 03: Erosion on the shores of the Ninglick River is seen on July 3, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok is one of several remote Alaskan villages that is being forced to relocate due to warming tempertures which is causing the melting of permafrost, widening of rivers and the erosion of land and coastline. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 02: Eddie Lopez holds a freshly killed duck during a hunting expedition on Nelson Island on July 2, 2015 near Newtok, Alaska. Newtok has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people and was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost, greater ice and snow melt and larger storms from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the highest elevated point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. Approximately nine miles away, Mertarvik has been established, though families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 02: Rodrick Stewart (L) and Robert Page hunt for beaver on Nelson Island on July 2, 2015 near Newtok, Alaska. Newtok has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people and was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost, greater ice and snow melt and larger storms from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the highest elevated point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. Approximately nine miles away, Mertarvik has been established, though families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 01: Joseph John Jr. washes freshly caught salmon with his son, Jeremiah John, while waiting for the tide to come in on July 1, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people and was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost, greater ice and snow melt and larger storms from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the highest elevated point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. Approximately nine miles away, Mertarvik has been established, though families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JULY 01: A Yupik man fishes with nets while waiting for the tide to come in after a day of salmon fishing on July 1, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people and was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. As global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost, greater ice and snow melt and larger storms from the Bering Sea. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the highest elevated point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. Approximately nine miles away, Mertarvik has been established, though families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JUNE 30: A Yupik child stands on raised, wooden sidewalks, used to help cross unstable ground, on June 30, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people, was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. However, as global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost; greater ice and snow melt - which is causing the Ninglick river to widen and erode the river bank; and larger storms that come in from the Bering Sea, which further erodes the land. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the high point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. A new village, approximately nine miles away titled Mertarvik, has been established, though so far families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JUNE 30: John Usugan uses a rope to recover his snow mobile, which sank when he tried to cross a pond on it, on June 30, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people, was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. However, as global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost; greater ice and snow melt - which is causing the Ninglick river to widen and erode the river bank; and larger storms that come in from the Bering Sea, which further erodes the land. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the high point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. A new village, approximately nine miles away titled Mertarvik, has been established, though so far families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JUNE 30: Yupik children play during summer vacation on June 30, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people, was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. However, as global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost; greater ice and snow melt - which is causing the Ninglick river to widen and erode the river bank; and larger storms that come in from the Bering Sea, which further erodes the land. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the high point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. A new village, approximately nine miles away titled Mertarvik, has been established, though so far families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEWTOK, AK - JUNE 29: The village of Newtok is seen from a plane on June 29, 2015 in Newtok, Alaska. Newtok, which has a population of approximately of 375 ethnically Yupik people, was established along the shores of the Ninglick River, near where the river empties into the Bering Sea, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1959. The Yupik people have lived on the coastal lands along the Bering Sea for thousands of years. However, as global temperatures rise the village is being threatened by the melting of permafrost; greater ice and snow melt - which is causing the Ninglick river to widen and erode the river bank; and larger storms that come in from the Bering Sea, which further erodes the land. According to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the high point in Newtok - the school - could be underwater by 2017. A new village, approximately nine miles away titled Mertarvik, has been established, though so far families have been slow to relocate to the new village. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Republican Trump said during his election campaign that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by China to damage U.S. manufacturing. He said he would rip up last year's landmark global climate deal struck in Paris that was signed by President Barack Obama.

Since winning the Nov. 8 election, however, Trump has said he will keep an "open mind" about the Paris deal. He also met with former Vice President Al Gore, a strong advocate for action on climate change. (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)


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