Scientists have once again spoken out against the current administration’s “dismissal of scientific evidence” calling it “particularly egregious.” A group of 570 scientists from different scientific fields, yet all belong to the National Academy of Sciences, recently published a statement condemning the “denigration of scientific expertise and harassment of scientists.”
Authored by Benjamin Santer, an atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Ray Weymann, a retired astrophysicist and Charles Manski, an economist at Northwestern University, the scientists are acting independently of National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a non-federal agency set up by President Lincoln during the Civil War to provide the government with scientific advice at the request of Congress or other agencies within the Executive Branch. Yet, all signers are members of the National NAS and are known as “the top minds in their fields,” Union of Concerned Scientists reported.
In the statement, the scientists explains that “human-caused climate disruption” is “more obvious” now than ever before. They also denounce the recent “Red Team/BlueTeam” debate by the administration regarding the “validity of global-warming research” saying it fosters an “erroneous impression of deep uncertainty concerning the reality and seriousness,” The New Yorker reported.
“At its most basic level, the responsibility of government is to keep us safe from harm, to protect us,” Santer said in an interview with The New Yorker. “The government is failing in that responsibility.”
Most of the same scientists who signed this statement were also behind the open letter to Trump in September 2016, which denounced the “climate-denial campaign” and encouraged the U.S. to remain a part of the Paris climate agreement, The New Yorker reported.
“I would say there isn’t even any pretense at appointing qualified individuals to key scientific positions, which is deeply disturbing,” Santer said in an interview with The New Yorker. “What if our nation faces another Deepwater Horizon? Where is the scientific expertise going to come from to provide guidance in difficult times? Those sorts of challenges will inevitably come.”
Manski said not too much will actually impact the current administration, but the public stand that scientists presented in this statement is “very important” and he hope it might “stir Congress to action,” The New Yorker reported.
“There is no point in being a scientist if you are unwilling to defend the technical work you do, especially when that work is mischaracterized by powerful members of the Administration,” Santer said in an interview with The New Yorker.