Sci­en­tists fear the worst un­der a Trump pres­i­dency

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

WASH­ING­TON: From the fight against cli­mate change to dwin­dling bud­gets for re­search, the US sci­en­tific com­mu­nity fears the worst un­der Don­ald Trump, seen by many as the most hos­tile to sci­ence of any Amer­i­can pres­i­dent in his­tory.

Trump will be “the first anti-sci­ence pres­i­dent we have ever had,” warned Michael Lubell, di­rec­tor of public af­fairs for the Amer­i­can Phys­i­cal So­ci­ety in Wash­ing­ton, in the Bri­tish jour­nal Na­ture. “The con­se­quences are go­ing to be very, very se­vere.”

Mean­while, the vice pres­i­dent-elect, In­di­ana Gover­nor Mike Pence, is an ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive and a cre­ation­ist who has re­jected Charles Dar­win’s the­ory of evo­lu­tion, the foun­da­tion of mod­ern bi­ol­ogy. “There’s a fear that the sci­en­tific in­fra­struc­ture in the US is go­ing to be on its knees,” said Robin Bell, a geo­physi­cist at Columbia Univer­sity and in­com­ing pres­i­dent-elect of the Amer­i­can Geo­phys­i­cal Union. “Ev­ery­thing from funding to be­ing able to at­tract the global lead­ers we need to do ba­sic sci­ence re­search.”

A key worry is how the New York bil­lion­aire de­clared cli­mate change to be “hoax” or­ches­trated by the Chi­nese, and vowed to with­draw from the Paris cli­mate ac­cord. “If Trump makes good on his cam­paign prom­ises and pulls out of the Paris Treaty, it is dif­fi­cult to see a path for­ward to keep­ing warm­ing be­low dan­ger­ous lev­els,” said Michael Mann, di­rec­tor of the Earth Sys­tem Sci­ence Cen­ter (ESSC) at Penn­syl­va­nia State Univer­sity.

Lost decade

The United States is the sec­ond largest emit­ter of green­house gasses after China. For John Abra­ham, pro­fes­sor of en­gi­neer­ing at Univer­sity of St. Thomas in Min­nesota, the elec­tion of Trump “has cost us at least a decade” in the fight against global warm­ing. “I study ocean warm­ing and en­ergy bal­ances of the Earth,” he told AFP.

“The data is star­ing us right in the face. We could not af­ford this elec­tion re­sult. “The only way we can avoid se­ri­ous cli­mate change is to rapidly im­ple­ment Obama’s work,” he added. Early in Oc­to­ber, nearly 400 sci­en­tists in­clud­ing 30 No­bel lau­re­ates wrote an open let­ter, crit­i­ciz­ing Trump’s pro­posed plans to aban­don global cli­mate deals.

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