Climate scientists feel threatened. For good reason, I might add.
Elizabeth Kolbert introduces today's topic. (I added the link.)
Next week, the American Geophysical Union will hold its annual conference in San Francisco. The A.G.U. meeting is one of the world’s première scientific gatherings—last fall, some twenty-four thousand experts in fields ranging from astronomy to volcanology attended. This year, in addition to the usual papers and journals, a new publication will be available to participants. It’s called “Handling Political Harassment and Legal Intimidation: A Pocket Guide for Scientists.”
The guide is the creation of a group called the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF). One of the group’s founders, Joshua Wolfe, and its executive director, Lauren Kurtz, made the decision to write it on the day after the election. “There is a lot of fear among scientists that they will become targets of people who are interested in science as politics, rather than progress,” Wolfe told me in an e-mail.
With each passing day, that fear appears to be more well founded. The one quality that all of Trump’s picks for his cabinet and his transition team seem to share is an expertise in the dark art of disinformation...
I am not going to get into the gory details of Trump's appointments and actions to date. Do the appropriate Google searches.
There's nothing new about shooting the messenger. If some humans don't like what climate science is telling them, they will harass/fire/sue/de-fund the scientists giving them the bad news.
One recommendation of the CSLDF is "Call a lawyer if in doubt." Call a lawyer? The last time I looked, lawyers charge money for their services. If a scientist calls a lawyer, the harassment is working. Lawyers aside, if you're fucked you're fucked in a world where might makes right.
Still, climate scientists are getting ready to defend themselves. That defense begins, as all defenses do, with the required rationalizations.
... a Trump campaign adviser wrote that NASA should spend less on its armada of satellites that observe the Earth — and more on exploring outer space.
Former NASA climate scientist Drew Shindell says that would be a mistake.
"A shift away from focusing on data for this planet could really leave us in the dark on how to respond to climate change," he says.
Moreover, Earth observations contribute to public safety and the economy, he says. "The same satellites that look down and tell us about ... climate, are the ones that tell us about storms and agriculture."
Don't get me wrong—climate research has my unqualified support—but it is utter bullshit to say that "a shift away from focusing on data for this planet could really leave us in the dark on how to respond to climate change." Even in the best case where nobody wants to shoot the messenger, the disconnect between what climate scientists are actually recommending and what policymakers are actually doing is almost total.
On the other hand, we may continue to get that NASA satellite data because "Earth observations contribute to public safety and the economy." Public safety and the economy are far more important to humans than further confirmation that humanity has no future.