Slightly less than a year ago, I used this blog to provide an open letter to Donald Trump regarding the environment (http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/citizenscientist/some-thoughts-for-the-new-president/). My points were simple:
- Use science to base environmental decisions;
- Support family planning worldwide;
- Transition our economy to lessen our impact on environment;
- Preserve natural lands; and
- Regulate emissions of toxins to the environment.
Sadly, as we begin 2018, it seems that my blog simply clarified the targets for the new administration.
- Just a few days ago, the White House issued orders to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) prohibiting the use of the phrase “science-based” in written statements. (Washington Post, 15 December)
- With the help of Congress, the President is supporting efforts to curtail the inclusion of birth control in employee health plans. (New York Times, 6 October). Viagra for men would still be covered. Paul Ryan even recommends that women have more babies to stimulate the economy (Washington Post, 15 December)
- In a public statement on 1 June, the President announced that our nation would step out of the Paris Climate Accord, focusing its attention on the unfettered provision of fossil fuels for the economy. This, despite an estimate by economists that climate change is likely to result in a loss of 1.2% of gross domestic product per 1oC increase in global temperature, roughly $200 billion in losses annually. (Hsiang et al. 2017)
- The President proposes downsizing the area of two large national monuments in Utah (The Economist, 9 December), when all ecological science indicates that large, unfragmented areas are best for species preservation (http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/citizenscientist/wildlife-refuges-and-corridors/). The areas are also sacred to certain Native American groups.
- The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the enforcement of regulations to protect human health and the environment. (New York Times, 10 December). The EPA has hired an independent contractor to identify and root out employees who are not Trump supporters. (New York Times, 16 December). Nacht der langen Messer.
At one time, factual, cautious, and frugal were adjectives associated with conservatives. No more.
We are in deep trouble.
Bevan, A., S. Colledge, D. Fuller, R. Fyfe, S. Shennan and C. Stevens. 2017. Holocene fluctuations in human population demonstrate repeated links to food production and climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114: doi: 10.1073/pnas.1709190114
Bliese, J.R.E. 1996. The conservative case for the environment. Intercollegiate Review 32: 28–36
Hsiang, S. and 11 others. 2017. Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States. Science 356: 1362-1368.
Kalof, L., T. Dietz, G. Guagnano, and P.C. Stern. 2002. Race, gender and environmentalism:The atypical values and beliefs of white men. Race, Gender and Class 8: 1–19
Mildenberger, M., J.R. Marlon, P.D. Howe, and A. Leiserowitz. 2017. The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales. Climatic Change 145: 539-548.