November 17, 2016

The Road Ahead

Posted by Timia Crisp

election-2016During the long and challenging presidential campaign, discussions regarding science took a back seat. Though many are still processing the results of the election, we wanted to provide some insight into the question “What do the election results mean for science?”

For answers, we are looking to President-elect Donald J. Trump’s comments and responses during the campaign. With few discussions of science, insights into Mr. Trump’s position and potential treatment of science during his administration are limited, but there are some signs.

Mr. Trump has made some encouraging remarks about science and the goals of his administration. He has praised the value of science, stating: “We must make the commitment to invest in science, engineering, healthcare and other areas that will make the lives of Americans better, safer and more prosperous.”  He has also mentioned that “scientific advances do require long term investment.” AGU is encouraged by these remarks as we are committed to ensuring robust and sustained funding for science so that the nation may continue to benefit from new and innovative discoveries.

When specifically asked about his position on space science, Mr. Trump indicated that observations from and exploration of space should be priorities, and even highlighted the role of space science in encouraging future generations to pursue STEM careers. The President-elect has also indicated that his administration will tackle infrastructure, including clean water.

With regard to climate science, the President-elect’s comments are less encouraging – he has said that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. These comments are not supported by robust scientific evidence, and undermine the need to inform policy decisions by understanding the effects of climate change on water, food supply, extreme weather events, and human health. Mr. Trump’s position also contradicts AGU’s own position on climate change.

AGU, on behalf of our members and the greater scientific community, urge the President-elect to promote the value of science and to work with the scientific community to ensure that policy-decisions are made using sound science. We stand ready to work with the administration and are hopeful that we can work in partnership to ensure the advancement of science and innovation.

However, the responsibility to engage on this issue does not fall solely on the new administration. We in the scientific community need to do our part to promote the value and integrity of science, both to the new administration and Congress. If you are interested in being engaged in this process, we hope you will refer to the AGU Policy Action Center to learn more about presidential transitions and ways you can be involved.

AGU is here to help. We will do our part to inform policymakers about the role science plays in all our lives and why scientific integrity matters, and will continue to share insights and updates here and in other platforms. We also invite you to take advantage of the resources and toolkits we offer to help you engage in the policy process.