Scientists Are Terrified of a Trump Presidency

Wednesday, 09 November 2016 - 5:24PM
Science News
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 - 5:24PM
Scientists Are Terrified of a Trump Presidency
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Donald Trump just became the President-elect of the United States. There are many, many reasons to bemoan this decision, not the least of which is that we just elected a bonafide science denier. Scientists have reacted to the election since last night, and let's just say it's not good news.

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"Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had," Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C., told Nature. "The consequences are going to be very, very severe."
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It's well-known that Trump is a climate change truther, calling it a hoax perpetrated by China, but his antipathy towards science doesn't end there. He has called the NIH "terrible," and has dismissed NASA as a "logistics agency for low-Earth activity." Many scientists are afraid that he will defund research, and are already talking about leaving the country to complete their studies.


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"There's a fear that the scientific infrastructure in the U.S. is going to be on its knees," Robin Bell, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and incoming president-elect of the American Geophysical Union, told The Washington Post. "Everything from funding to being able to attract the global leaders we need to do basic science research."
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Of course, the primary issue is still Trump's stance on climate change, as he has promised to "cancel" the Paris climate agreement that was signed earlier this year. Not to mention that his stance on immigration may prevent the best and brightest from coming to this country to contribute to the scientific field.

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"I think at the very least it would put a chilling effect on the interest of scientists from other countries in coming here," said Kevin Wilson, director of public policy and media relations at the American Society for Cell Biology in Bethesda, Maryland.
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Trump's views on climate change may also affect foreign relations in unpredictable ways. David Victor, a political scientist at UC San Diego, said that China could become a leader in climate change in lieu of the United States, and that the election result would hurt our foreign relations to a huge extent.

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"It's going to badly tarnish the image of the United States," he says. "Roughly half of the population has voted for somebody who by almost any measure is unfit to serve as president."
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