Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Facts Call Americans to Vote for Leaders Who Support Science-Based Policy

The ruling administration's mishandling of the coronavirus gives Americans a reason to reflect on the implications of a government at war with science.  We cannot ignore the tragedy of the 180,000 Americans that have succumbed to COVID-19, however, there is an upside to this horrible plague.  If nothing else it has helped to educate the electorate about President Trump's inability to respond to a crisis. This virus is but one example of the many ways that the Trump administration is at odds with the majority of Americans.  Despite the fact that a growing number of Americans support climate action, this president is also the world's leading advocate of climate denial.

The coronavirus has increased support for science-based policy, it has also led to the postponement of three importanat summits (The high-level Ocean Conference in Lisbon, the Biodiversity Summit in Kunming and the Conference of the Parties climate summit in Glasgow) that were scheduled to take place in 2020.  The postponement of these three summits gives the American electorate an opportunity to vote for responsible leadership which would go a long way towards building an international consensus on key global issues.

This administration has been overtly anti-science and over the last few years the Trump has all but declared war on science.  He has made it abundantly clear that he is not interested in science-based policy.  One of the many examples of Trump's attempt to manipulate science took place in 2019 when he lied about what meteorologists were saying about Hurricane Dorian.  Even more concerning is the fact that he demanded government scientific bodies to support his politically motivated deception.  He forced NOAA to support his misstatements the same way he has pushed the CDC and the FDA to ignore the facts about COVID-19.

Successive budget recommendations demonstrate the Trump administration's intent to kill science and withdraw support for climate action  This is an administration that is at war with nature a point made abundantly clear by their assaults on wildlife and their gutting of the endangered species act. It would be foolish to expect that this administration will combat climate change or the biodiversity crisis.

The president's appointees have also actively resisted science. This includes the head of the Environmental Protection Agency and the secretary for the Department of the Interior. To this day this administration is pretending the pandemic is over even  though one thousand Americans are dying each day and a quarter of a million Americans are expected to die from the disease by November. Trump is ignoring the coronavirus the same way he ignores climate change.  This administration is also wishing away the economic collapse even though tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs.  This is an administration that is at war with reality.

The anti-science approach to policy is compounded by the unprecedented corruption of the commander-and-chief and the Republican party.  Even though we are on the cusp of the collapse of civilization, Trump and the GOP are intent on enriching themselves and their friends.  America and the world cannot afford another four years of Trump. 

We know what we have to do to combat ecological degradation and the climate crisis. We need transformative change, but we will not see the kind of changes we need with Trump at the helm. The road to recovery will be expedited by a change in leadership.

In 2019 the Democrats took control of the House and welcomed back science. In 2020 many expect that people will vote for responsible leaders, which would disqualify Trump. America may well be at an inflection point.  If Democrats led by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take power in November, they will revive climate action and listen to the scientists. There is no alternative, they are the last hope of dying world.

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