This last week has been one hell of a ride for the scientific community… and not in a good way. Climate skeptics are gleefully enjoying the rollercoaster of anti-intellectualism, while the rest of us are more than unimpressed with the Trump administration's blatant anti-science agenda.
It started out hopeful last Friday when California took a stand against the Trump administration. The California Air Resources board voted unanimously to go ahead with stricter emission standards for cars and trucks.
California's emission standards require automakers to double the average fuel efficiency of their vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This measure makes sure automakers to invest in hybrid and electric, fuel-efficient vehicles. Not a bad idea, right?
In reality, this is California flipping President Trump the middle finger. After all, Trump has continuously promised to ease up on emission standards in order to stimulate the auto industry.
Thanks to the Clean Air Act, the state of California - home of the largest auto market in the USA - does not have to adhere to Trump's low emission standards. If the Trump administration revokes California's waiver, it is more than likely that California will sue.
Unfortunately, the high did not last. On Tuesday, the White House released their ideas for this year's budget and every scientist in the USA went, "Oh, shit."
The budget proposes some drastic cuts in scientific and medical research. Here are just a few of the proposals:
- Cut $1.2 billion from the National Institute of Health's $31.6 budget
- Cut $350 million from the National Science Foundation's $6.9 billion budget
- Cut $37 million from the Department of Energy's $5.3 billion worth of science programs
- Cut $48 million from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) research and development budget of $483 million
- Cut domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs by $100 million
Or, if you would like to visualise our planet's demise, here it is in graph form:
[insert face palm here]
Not satisfied, Trump then went on to sign The Energy Independence Executive Order. Translation: Trump decided to roll back Obama-era efforts to stop and reverse climate change because he thinks it is a hoax created by the Chinese.
Trump's executive order removes the Clean Power Plan, which was implemented to curb carbon emissions, to regulate methane and to restrict mining on federal lands. This roll-back signals a detrimental landslide in the United State's effort to fight climate change, and screams a big "fuck you" to every country that signed the Paris Climate Agreement. And if you think that's an exaggeration, watch this video:
Years of Living Dangerously: Gina McCarthy on the Clean Power ...
Here's what you need to know about the Clean Power Plan, in about 70 seconds. #YEARSproject (via Years of Living Dangerously)Posted by Climate Reality on Monday, March 27, 2017
As if it couldn't get any worse, on Wednesday the house voted to restrict the EPA's use of science. The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act passed 228–194.
That's right, 228 representatives voted for an Act that is neither honest nor open in order to severely limit the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to protect the environment.
"The secret science bills the Republicans tried to enact over the previous two congresses were insidious bills, designed from the outset to prevent EPA from using the best available science to meet its obligations under the law. Those bills were constructed to hamstring the ability of EPA to do about anything to protect the American public," said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).
Are you exhausted yet? Here is the cherry on top.
On Wednesday, Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA and all-around anti-intellectual, rejected the advice of several Columbia University chemical safety experts (because apparently he knows better). Pruitt chose instead to allow the national use of chlorpyrifos, which potentially harms children and farm workers. The chemical is used on about 40,000 farms in the USA and is thought to cause learning and memory declines amongst children and farmworkers, who may be exposed to it. Cool, thanks for protecting our children, Pruitt!
And with that, the week from hell ended. Phew!
While the scientific community expresses outrage at these recent developments and tries to come up with a plan of attack, Trump's answer is simple: