It is not surprising that the “New Scientist” is alarmed by the presidency of Donald Trump as a threat to science and critical thinking. The 21 January 2017 issue of the New Scientist offers 4 articles on the potential threats of a Trump Presidency. It could have offered many more articles, and perhaps it will. Two of the four published articles will be shared in healthy memory blog posts. The preceding post was the first. This post is the second
This article is titled, “Resisting Trump: How scientists can fight a climate witch-hunt.” Donald Trump has argued that global warming is a hoax created by China to damage US manufacturing. As president-elect, he has chosen a climate change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and his pick for the helm of the energy department (DOE) is Rick Perry, who once suggested dismantling it. If carbon dioxide emissions rise faster as a result, the consequences for the global climate will be. dire. “We can’t take a four-year break,” says Marcia DeLonge at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Washington, D.C.
Moreover, a Trump presidency won’t just be a problem for climate change. It could also spell trouble for the scientists trying to stave it off. The Trump transition team asked for a list of DOE employees and contractors who worked on climate change or had attended climate change meetings. Correctly, the agency refused, but the incident sent a chill through the scientific community, particularly in light of the Republicans revival of the Holman rule. The Holman rule allows for specific federal employees have their pay slashed to $1.
These fears of being targeted are legitimate. Already there has been an uptick in Freedom of Information Act requests for the scientists’ private emails, said Peter Fountainee, the lawyer who defended climate scientist Michael Mann in a case against the State of Virginia. If such tactics also come from within their own agencies, federal scientists might leave en masse.
The director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Peter Frumhoff, says this would permanently erode federal agencies’ ability to use science to inform public decisions. He begs scientists not leave because if they leave they’ll lose their ability to know whats’s going on.
Even if they do stay, they may be forced to stop pursuing certain lines of research. The Trump transition team suggested as much when it said NASA should shift its focus away from “politically correct environmental monitoring.” Apparently, we are entering a new era of political management, “Management by Thuggery!”
Fears that data will be insured or altered have prompted crowd-sourcing to back up federal climate and environmental data. Climate Mirror is a distributed volunteer effort supported by the Internet Archive and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Toronto.
© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.