Donald Trump and the War on Science

The new President of the United States seems to jump from scandal to scandal. Everything from his baffling delusion that Mexico will foot the bill for a border wall to a Muslim travel ban and deeply damaging sexist remarks about women, suggests that Donald Trump does not shy away from controversy. But as the new President settles into 3 and a half years in the White House, what is in store for the science industry in USA. The engineering and science sector has been responsible for over half of the economic growth in America since world war 2. Is this set to continue?

 

Climate Change Denial

Unfortunately, the White House has been stuffed full of climate change deniers under the new administration, in line with Trump’s own belief. He once stated that he believed that it was a conspiracy set up by China to make its rival exporters less competitive. This theory it’s almost farcical that a man in such a crucial role can be so naive. Many of those around Trump are funded by fossil fuel companies, an example of putting monitory gain over the climate. Furthermore, Trump has expressed a desire to withdraw from the Paris Agreement aimed at slowing the rate of climate change. You can read my other climate change article here.

 

Anti-Vaccination

Any well-qualified doctor, nurse or any other health professional will tell you that vaccines do not cause autism. Unfortunately, inconveniences such as a mountain of evidence to back this up do little to deter Trump. He once tweeted that there had been “many cases” of children developing autism after being vaccinated. Whether this view will result in policies remains to be seen. Read my article on vaccination here

 

Closing Governmental Departments

Scott Pruitt, now the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has previously attempted to sue the organisation for imposing emissions caps. Even worse, Rick Perry, the leader of the Department of Energy, wants to close down the department altogether, as soon as he can recall its name. For a laugh, click here. The EPA has already been put on lockdown, with scientists no longer able to speak freely to the press and the public about their research. This is not only damaging for science, it also an attack on democracy and freedom, as the state strips away the freedom of speech. News that reaches the public only after approval from government sets the tone for propaganda and lies.

 

Funding Cuts

Last month Donald Trump announced he planned to slash the funding for science departments across the board. ARPA-E, who develop energy producing technology will have their funding cut entirely. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who monitor and protect the ocean and coastal regions are set to lose $250 million and NASA is to lose $102 million; a bizarre decision, given that, on average NASA makes $10 to add to the economy for every $1 spent. Even health is not ringfenced, with the National Institutes of Health set to lose 18% of its budget. At the same time, Trump proposes adding another $1 billion to the nuclear weapons budget. With an estimated 9,600 nuclear warheads already, you have to question whether this is money well spent.

 

 

Sources:

https://arpa-e.energy.gov/

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/17/trump-budget-an-extra-billion-dollars-for-nuclear-weapons_partner/

http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php

https://energy.gov/

http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/heres-a-list-of-all-the-science-that-donald-trump-denies/

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/trump-s-2018-budget-will-squeeze-civilian-science-agencies

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/15/why-scientists-are-fighting-back-we-have-had-enough-of-trump-war-on-facts

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/trumps-first-budget-analysis-and-reaction

http://www.nature.com/news/us-science-agencies-face-deep-cuts-in-trump-budget-1.21652

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