Make science great again: American researchers dream of life after Trump

From his lab in Toulouse, France, Benjamin Sanderson sampled the extent of the extreme dangers posed to humans by climate change, hoping to inform policymakers who plan to exacerbate militant fires and floods. Can do It's the kind of work he once did in the United States - and hopefully will work again soon.


Make science great again: American researchers dream of life after Trump

Sanderson is one of the dozens of American climate scientists who moved their research to France after the election of Republican Donald Trump in 2016 or sought refuge in academia or in left-wing states such as California. He feared that his administration's distrust of science would affect his ability. Financing and advancing their work


Now, with the presidential election looming - and Democrats who are promising Biden to go ahead with the election and prioritize the role of science in policy-making - some of these researchers are hoping for a return to the days when the United States landed. Was seen’ as the best place. Do your jobs


Sanderson said climate science is not considered’ a "political subject" in Europe, adding that he would consider returning to the United States under an administration that values ​​scientific input.


In the United States, the role of scientific research in public policy on the ballot in the November 3 presidential election is clear.


Since Trump was elected’ in 2016, many Republicans have sought to undermine research into human-caused climate change, but only after ignoring scientific recommendations in policy decisions. I'm fast.


Contrary to the researchers' advice, Trump announced plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement in 2017, an international treaty to combat global warming. He said the agreement would destroy the economy without providing environmental benefits.


Since then, his administration has surpassed more than 100 environmental protections that it considers a burden on the industry, among those seeking to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Trump has also appointed industry insiders or skeptics of climate change to key roles in overseeing environmental regulation, and has cut off scientific advisory committees in federal agencies.


The politics of science have come to the fore this year amid corona virus epidemics, as the Trump administration's top infectious disease specialist Anthony Foucault, and many of the findings and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's research are ridiculous. And have ignored.


According to an August statement from the relevant scientists' union, the administration has made it a habit for scientific researchers to "ignore, marginalize and censor".


Jordan Hunter, a spokesperson for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, did not comment on the departure of Trump's subordinate scientists or the administration's handling of climate change and epidemic research. He said the administration is "committed to ensuring the next great scientific breakthrough in the United States," such as artificial intelligence and space exploration.


Biden, on the other hand, has promised to use scientific research and advice to combat climate change and combat epidemics. According to the Biden campaign, his transfer team is already seeking input from informal advisers on how to rebuild and expand US research.


"Science will be at the heart of Biden Harris' possible administration," said Cameron French, a spokesperson for the transfer.


Candidates with the importance of science can be summed’ up by Trump himself, who said at a rally in Carson City, Nevada, on October 18: "If you vote for Biden, he will listen to scientists. If I obeyed the scientists, our country would be rather depressed. We are like a rocket ship.


Biden responded on Twitter the next day: "For once, Donald Trump is right: I will listen to the scientists."


Still make the plant great?


In December 2017 In, French President Emmanuel Macron undertook his "Make up Our Planet to Make the Planet Great Again" program to carry out climate research in France and to educate dangerous American climate scientists for many years. Grant offered.


The program comes in response to Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. According to the French government, at least 32 scientists from around the world accepted Macron's offer. US-based companies employed about 18 of them before transferring some or all of their research to France.


Sanderson previously worked on extreme weather forecasts for climate change at the National Center for Environmental Research in Boulder, Colorado. He said he moved to the French city of Toulouse to avoid politics, which has embraced American meteorology. He said they work primarily in the hope of becoming aware of the policy, an effort that "there was no more work under the Trump administration," he said.


Another French scientist is Philip Schulz, a former doctoral researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. He is now studying organic electronics and solar energy in Paris under a French program.


He blamed the Trump administration's climate skepticism for changing his job and the country. "I work in a sector that is working to combat climate change and enable energy transfer," Schulz said.


Scientists in exile


While some American scientists have called for Macron to work in France, others have quit their jobs with the federal government for positions in academia or for left-wing state governments such as California, which has sought to recruit angry researchers. ۔


"I think they're like the Russian differences during the USSR," said Jared Blumenfeld, California's secretary of environmental protection, who ran the federal EPA in the Pacific Southwest region from 2010 to 2016. had been. "They are demonstrating in exile in California."


Blumenfeld said the re-invasion of the science of politics and superstition would take decades to rebuild the science he thought began under the administration of Republican George W. Bush. He said California would not appeal to researchers who lost Trump's election to return to federal government jobs.


"If they want to go back and work and build these destructive institutions, God Speed," he said. "We're here to pick them up from the storm."


Other US government scientists and experts have found refuge in the field of education.


Joel Clement, a former director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Interior left the government in 2017 after moving from a position focusing on climate change in the Arctic to the Department of Revenue. He now researches and teaches at the John F. Kennedy School of Public Policy at Harvard University.


Clement, who has been informally advising the Biden team and has been in discussions with other experts about restoring American science, said: "Any administration has a long way to go to restore its track. To prepare. "


The former EPA's head of children's health, Dr. Ruth Ethel is still working for the agency, although she says she has been removed’ from her post under Trump.


Focusing on pediatric pediatrics and science-avoidance medicine, Etzel was placed’ on administrative leave in 2018 to advocate for more aggressive measures to prevent lead poisoning. She now works as a senior consultant in the water office.


"I don't have a significant responsibility in the water office," Etzel said.


The EPA declined to comment.


The Biden campaign hopes that scientists who have returned to work for the federal government will return.


A group working to restore scientific integrity to the zoom calls is under consideration, possibly focusing on the White House Office on Climate Change, establishing irrational oversight of federal scientific agencies, and scientific advisory panels. This includes re-appointment and recruitment of young scientists in the federation. Jobs, according to advisers who did not have the authority to speak publicly.


Such changes would be very welcome, said environmental scientist Venkatramani Balaji, who is working as a prize winner in the French "Make the Mighty Planet Great Again" program, but he did not miss the United States. Maintained his affiliation with Princeton University.


"At some point, science will be called back to the table. As a community, we need to be prepared to do that," Balaji said.


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