Trump's Effect on Global Warming
On the morning of November 9th, 2016, our nation was thrown into chaos as Donald Trump was officially announced as our president elect. The most prominent statisticians and news outlets had predicted that Hillary Clinton had several pathways to obtain the 270 electoral votes, but as the election night wore on and Trump won key states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, her victory became increasingly unlikely.
Protesters took to the streets to publicly express their outrage with the results. Trump has made an infamous name for himself through his blatantly disrespectful remarks about certain groups like immigrants, minorities, the LGBTQ community, and women throughout his campaign. Therefore, it’s not surprising that it were those exact groups that showed up in high attendance and vocalized their concerns on the news with signs that ranged from “Pussy Grabs Back” to “Trump is Racism”. However, among those that are upset with the upcoming Trump presidency, there is another group that is often not on the public’s radar: scientists.
Many scientists are fearful of how Trump will affect scientific progress and discovery. He has been very vocal about his beliefs regarding global climate change and has been quite vocal about his beliefs on his infamous Twitter account. He has tweeted about climate change on multiple occasions, and from his tweets, he has shown that he believes that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” or that “global warming is an expensive hoax.” His denial of the evidence that has accumulated over the years could lead to detrimental effects on policy that concerns environmental regulations. He has already made it known that he plans to disregard the Paris Agreement, which was the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement whose purpose is to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Trump’s presidency could potentially unravel all of the progress that has been made to obtain worldwide collaboration to combat rising temperatures, and without the US’s support of environmental policies and agreements, other nations may follow in our footsteps and refuse to accept regulations as well.
Along with debunking global warming, a Trump presidency could also lead to problems with stem cell research. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect has spoken out against Obama’s allowance of using stem cells for scientific gain. In 2009, he wrote an article for The Hill, a US political website, and he expressed his belief that “scientific breakthroughs have rendered embryonic stem-cell research obsolete, effectively removing any perceived need to destroy human embryos in the name of science.” As a pro-life advocate, it is possible that Pence’s scientific viewpoints may lead to policies that place stringent regulations and restrictions on biomedical research. Stem cell research has been a hot topic of debate for years, and the upcoming presidency could vanquish everything that researchers have been fighting for. Though it is known that Trump is also pro-life, he has not directly addressed the issue, so the fate of certain types of biomedical research has yet to be determined.
Other concerns revolve around scientific funding. One of Trump’s main platforms during his campaign was that he was going to reduce federal spending. Unfortunately, most of the research grants are generated from governmental entities like the National Institutes of Health. Although it is uncertain how the Trump presidency will affect funding that is dedicated to scientific organizations, many scientists predict that he will not be in their favor. Not only will this hinder progress, but this could also mean that there will be an increase in scientific unemployment. With less grants that are available, the ones that are up for grabs will probably go to the more established researchers that have years of work to prove that they deserve the funding. However, for individuals that are attempting to start a career, their prospects of receiving grants will be much lower, and their careers may be at stake.
On the bright side, all of these grim forebodings are only speculation. There is no way to determine exactly what policies Trump will enforce. All that the scientific community can do right now is prepare for the worst but hope for the best.