President-elect Trump’s transition team has circulated an unusual 74-point questionnaire that requests the names of all employees and contractors who have attended domestic or international climate change policy conferences, as well as emails associated with the conferences.
The questionnaire appears targeted at climate science research and clean energy programs.
Energy Department employees, who shared the questionnaire with The New York Times and spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, described the questionnaire as unprecedented and worrying.
“These questions don’t just indicate an attack on civil servants here in Washington,” said an Energy Department employee. “They amount to a witch hunt in D.O.E.’s 17 national labs, where scientists have the independence to do their work — yet here are questions that are reminiscent of an inquisition rather than actual curiosity about how the labs work.”
The questionnaire asks for lists of employees involved in key climate change programs, including all those who have attended United Nations climate change conferences. It also asks for lists of employees involved in designing a metric known as the Social Cost of Carbon, a figure used by the Obama administration to measure the economic impact of carbon dioxide pollution, and to justify the economic cost of climate regulations.
It specifically asks which Energy Department programs are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s climate change agenda, which Mr. Trump has vowed to roll back.
It includes several questions for the Energy Information Administration, the department’s statistics office, which also measures the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, asking for justification of its numbers.
“In the Annual Energy Outlook 2016, E.I.A. assumed that the Clean Power Plan should be in the reference case despite the fact that the reference case is based on existing laws and regulations,” the questionnaire reads. “Why did the E.I.A. make that assumption, which seems to be atypical of past forecasts?”
And it includes several questions focused on the national scientific laboratories, including queries on highest salaries, and outside evaluation of research.