Climate Insanity

In Trump’s America, and especially in the wake of the increasing white nationalist mayhem he is encouraging, it’s easy to lose sight of the other damage being done by this utterly corrupt administration.

Take the administration’s wholesale rejection of science.

As Europe tightens restrictions on herbicides and pesticides found to be harmful to humans, the EPA rolls back similar restrictions. The panel of scientists that used to advise policymakers about such threats has been replaced by former lobbyists and industry hacks. Worse still, the administration refuses to admit that climate change is real. It has buried reports from reputable scientists, including those working for the Pentagon.

Last month, The Guardian carried a column by a scientist fired by the administration for insisting on reporting the facts.

The Trump administration’s hostility towards climate science is not new. Interior climate staffer Joel Clement’s reassignmentand the blocking of intelligence aide Rod Schoonover’s climate testimony, which forced both federal employees to resign in protest, are just two of the innumerable examples. These attempts to suppress climate science can manifest themselves in many ways. It starts with burying important climate reports and becomes something more insidious like stopping climate scientists from doing their jobs. In February 2019, I lost my job because I was a climate scientist in a climate-denying administration. And yet my story is no longer unique.

This is why on 22 July I filed a whistleblower complaint against the Trump administration. But this is not the only part to my story; I will also speak to Congress on 25 July about my treatment and the need for stronger scientific integrity protections.

I have worked at the National Park Service (NPS) for a total of eight years. I started out as an intern during the Bush administration, where I experienced nothing like this. I returned in 2012 after earning my PhD, when the NPS funded a project I designed to provide future sea level and storm surge estimates for 118 coastal parks under different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. This kind of information is crucial in order for the NPS to adequately protect coastal parks against the future effects of the climate crisis.

I handed in the first draft of my scientific report in the summer of 2016 and, after the standard rigorous scientific peer review process, it was ready for release in early 2017. But once the new administration came into power, publication was repeatedly delayed, with increasingly vague explanations from my supervisors. So for months, I waited. And waited. I was still waiting when I went on maternity leave almost a year later in December 2017.

While she was on her maternity leave, she received an email from an NPS colleague, warning her that “senior leadership” was changing her report without her knowledge, eliminating all references to the human causes of the climate crisis. As she points out in her column, this went far beyond normal editorial adjustment. It was climate science denial, and she initiated a months-long battle over her findings.

Senior NPS officials tried repeatedly, often aggressively, to coerce me into deleting references to the human causes of the climate crisis from the report. They threatened to make the deletions without my approval if I would not agree, to release the report without naming me as the primary author, or not release it all. Each option would have been devastating to my career and for scientific integrity.

She stood firm. The NPS was forced to publish the report as written–and then the retaliation began. There were pay cuts. Her research funding was terminated. She eventually joined the growing exodus of scientists from federal agencies.

I think it was Neil DeGrasse Tyson who said “Reality doesn’t care if you believe in it.” While this administration protects the bottom lines of its donors, sea levels continue to rise, the planet continues to warm, and life on earth gets more precarious.

Trump and his “best people” aren’t just corrupt and inept; they are insane–and our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences.

12 thoughts on “Climate Insanity

  1. While our glacier formed lake here in Southeastern Ontario is somewhat shielded from the high water changes of the St. Lawrence Seaway, we have never seen unprecedented below water marine facilities and shoreline residences and storefronts we have witnessed even until now. Our lake level water release at the outlet is regulated in part to protect downstream lowlands eventually feeding into the St. Lawrence River Valley watershed. I have come here frequently since 1956. Folks, I am no scientist but I see with my own eyes, without the help of scientific literature, water levels are sustainably higher. Mother Nature has her designs despite political whims of convenient denial.

    Thank you, Shiela.

  2. “The Trump administration’s hostility towards climate science is not new. Interior climate staffer Joel Clement’s reassignment and the blocking of intelligence aide Rod Schoonover’s climate testimony, which forced both federal employees to resign in protest, are just two of the innumerable examples. These attempts to suppress climate science can manifest themselves in many ways. It starts with burying important climate reports and becomes something more insidious like stopping climate scientists from doing their jobs.”

    Three quotes from Galileo, the Father of Science, fit here; “Nothing occurs contrary to nature except the impossible, and that never occurs.” Climate Change is nature and the effects of Global Warming increasing Climate Change is the natural outcome of man’s interference in nature. It is currently impossible to undo the damage of Global Warming and reclaim what has been lost.

    The second quote “There are those who reason well, but they are greatly outnumbered by those who reason badly.” reasoning badly is the foundation of the current Trump administration and the supporting Republican party of corporatism…FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    And the third quote, “Two truths cannot contradict one another.”

    “I think it was Neil DeGrasse Tyson who said “Reality doesn’t care if you believe in it.” While this administration protects the bottom lines of its donors, sea levels continue to rise, the planet continues to warm, and life on earth gets more precarious.”

    Continuing to have Trump’s “Climate Insanity” forced on us will lead to our self-destruction and the movie “Soylent Green” will no longer be science fiction.

  3. There is nothing wrong with the current administration’s ability to reason. The problem is with their initial premise, that is that all government is bad. On Friday, Mulvaney spilled the rationale for so many of the administrations policies. Making it impossible for the scientist to accept what they are doing, including moving to Kansas City, makes it more likely that they will resign or gives the government the excuse they need to fire scientists who have merely done their jobs well.

    Welcome to the deconstruction of the administrative state.

  4. Even the Weather channel says the causes of emissions exceeding the EPA norms are due to people but don’t refer to the stacks blowing out coal emissions in Southern Indiana.

    Denial and protecting the Donor Class are universal.

    However, their denial is NOT our denial. I will be happy to see the day when ALL Indiana schoolchildren protest on a Friday by sitting around their schools instead of attending class.

    It will take massive protests no matter who wins in 2020 because protecting our Donor Classes is universal. Or, should I say our Plutarchs and Monarchs?

    Some people even commit murder in prisons for them…see Epstein.

  5. There are three kinds of people among us. 1) Those who have learned the appropriate science for any given behavior of reality and can explain current human knowledge of the universal causes and effects for what we can observe. 2) those who haven’t but trust those who have because they live in the real world of mutual expertise and collaboration. 3) those who feel entitled to know but not obligated to learn who simply deny what they have chosen not to learn.

    Of course the first category is small, just a few percent. The vast majority is category 2 and category 3 is another few percent.

    However among mostly Republicans there are many who fit in category number two but are not at all inhibited from knowing one thing and telling another if it is self serving. The are the “me only” gang created around the world by entertainment media advertising/fake news/propaganda/brain washing to serve the wealthy to whom the most important achievement in life is making more money now regardless of the impact on any others ever. They need voters who blindly support their goal.

    This is where we are and how we got here. The question left for us to answer soon is are there enough blind but media addicted voters to keep us here or are there enough of us who learn from each other rather than from entertainers to restore the US to a world leadership position?

    We’ll know soon.

  6. Perhaps we consumers can take a hand in a small way, and not buy all these herbicides and pesticides in our local garden and hardware stores. We hear more and more about “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

    “Gold over life, literally.”
    That was the succinct and critical reaction of Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein to reporting on Friday that President Donald Trump had personally intervened—after a meeting with Alaska’s Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy on Air Force One in June 2019—to withdraw the Environmental Protection Agency’s opposition to a gold mining project in the state that the federal government’s own scientists have acknowledged would destroy native fisheries and undermine the state’s fragile ecosystems.

    In 2014, the project was halted because an EPA study found that it would cause “complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources” in some areas of Bristol Bay. The agency invoked a rarely used provision of the Clean Water Act that works like a veto, effectively banning mining on the site.

    According to CNN:

    Four EPA sources with knowledge of the decision told CNN that senior agency officials in Washington summoned scientists and other staffers to an internal video conference on June 27, the day after the Trump-Dunleavy meeting, to inform them of the agency’s reversal.

    Those sources said the decision disregards the standard assessment process under the Clean Water Act, cutting scientists out of the process.

    After being told that the decision was made, one EPA inside told CNN, “I was dumbfounded. We were basically told we weren’t going to examine anything. We were told to get out of the way and just make it happen.” https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/10/gold-over-life-literally-how-trump-forced-reversal-mining-project-epa-scientists

    This the way the EPA works under the Regime of President Agent Orange.

  7. Pete, I think a fourth category should be added to your list. The anti-science, anti-government segment of our populace. This segment has been carefully cultivated and fertilized with B.S. Environmentalists are labeled, tree huggers, snowflakes, and Eco-Terrorists.

    This segment would contain the bible thumper’s, they are socially and culturally conservative and view Science as a profound threat to blind belief. These people would be immediately suspicious of any Science. The anti-government types would include the extreme Reactionary Right Wing. Both of these types are the useful dupes of Wall Street Corporatism. They are a solid block of voters, who can be expected to vote for the GOP year after year.

  8. ML, the opposite of caveat emptor, buyer beware, is faith, don’t base belief on evidence.

    Trump needs that from his supporters.

  9. While we were distracted with the Epstein scandal yesterday, CBS reported that the Trump administration has formally told corporations to not warn customers about products containing the glyphosate, the active ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup that is thought to cause cancer. Imagine that. Just imagine that.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/roundup-labels-trump-administration-says-it-wont-approve-glyphosate-warning-labels/?fbclid=IwAR0LhD31vMLuh01yAwfntgWereCcPFtqj2ZCZal3Z2oRTv8myMXg6DuZ1Lg

  10. Alan, that is not a stretch what the Regime of President Orange has done concerning Round-Up.
    ====
    Bayer is proposing to pay as much as $8 billion to settle more than 18,000 U.S. lawsuits alleging its Roundup herbicide causes cancer, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

    An agreement, which could take months to work out, would ease investor pressure over massive litigation exposure the German drug and chemical giant took on with its purchase of the weedkiller’s maker, Monsanto Co. The fallout has erased more than $30 billion in market value, prompted an unprecedented shareholder vote of no confidence in the company’s management and fueled speculation about a breakup.

    Reports that a $6-billion to $8-billion settlement proposal has been discussed are “pure fiction,” said Kenneth Feinberg, a mediator called in by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco, who is overseeing cases consolidated in federal court.

    “There have been absolutely no discussions to date of dollars or what the compensation would be for a global resolution” of the cases, Feinberg said in an interview Friday. https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-09/bayer-wants-to-settle-roundup-cancer-claims-for-8-billion-sources-say

    The pressure on Bayer has to be immense. 18,000 cases to defend in the USA alone. The number of cases can only get bigger.

  11. And about a third of the electorate think Trump is just fine. If so much wasn’t at stake, I’d say they deserve the country they want, but I think there are a few out there that meet their requirements.

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