In an open letter addressed to President-elect Trump and the incoming 155th Congress, 87 scientists urge the new government to respect the critical importance of science in setting national policy. The group of prominent scientists, which includes 22 Nobel Prize winners, seeks to convince the soon-to-be Republican-controlled federal government that climate change is a real, existential threat to the nation and the world.
“From disease outbreaks to climate change to national security to technology innovation, people benefit when our nation’s policies are informed by science unfettered by inappropriate political or corporate influence,” read the letter. “To build on this legacy and extend the benefits of science to all people, including Americans who have been left behind, the federal government must support and rely on science as a key input for crafting public policy.”
So far Trump has largely disregarded the consensus of the scientific community during his campaign and transition. The President-elect once referred to climate change as a hoax and has appointed climate skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team. “Creating a strong and open culture of science begins at the top,” read the letter. “Federal agencies should be led by officials with demonstrated track records of respecting science as a critical component of decision making.”
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The letter also addresses the President-elect’s consistently disrespectful comments and policies directed towards historically marginalized groups. “Recognizing that diversity makes science stronger, administration officials should welcome and encourage all scientists regardless of religious background, race, gender, or sexual orientation.” Finally, the letter addresses the concern that the Trump Administration will suppress ideas and views that are contrary to its own. “Federally funded scientists must be able to develop and share their findings free from censorship or manipulation based on politics or ideology,” reads the letter. Time will tell whether this letter wins hearts and minds in Washington.
Photo by Gage Skidmore