Scientists fear the worst under a Trump presidency
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.
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.