Oct 28, 2019
America has a conflicted relationship to science. Historically, presidents and Congress have questioned and derided scientific research that is at odds with their beliefs, political and economic interests. At the same time, public confidence in science is growing and evidence of the impacts of climate change on rising sea levels, displacement and migration in coastal communities is now widely accepted. As Jacob Carter, biologist and research scientist from the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy explains, the pushback on science has serious implications for decision-making on issues including climate, energy, transportation and food. If scientific evidence is rejected, how can sound policies be enacted? Jacob points out the unprecedented suppression of science by the Trump Administration, including research and reports issued by federal agencies ranging from the US Environmental Protection Agency to the US Fish and Wildlife Services.
Scientists within the federal system are being defunded, censored and prohibited from attending meetings on their areas of study. This aggressive stance has left our federal scientists with a serious morale problem and is dissuading early career scientists from entering the public service pipeline. In fact, the President’s defiling of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps, known as SharpieGate, is just one of 120 documented attacks on science by this Administration. The Center for Science and Democracy’s unyielding support for federal scientists extends to the communities most impacted by deregulation and other anti-science actions. As Jacob says, grassroots communities know based what is happening to them and what they need. Their contributions to the Center’s policy recommendations are invaluable. Jacob is heartened by the outpouring of scientists and supporters who showed up for the March on Science around the globe and the fact that public trust in science is at an all-time high.