Despite Impact on Economy, Public Safety, and National Security, Science Didn’t Merit Mention
30 January 2018
Washington, D.C.—The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) Executive Director/CEO Chris McEntee:
President Trump’s failure to acknowledge the role scientific research plays in advancing our society and economy during tonight’s State of the Union address was disappointing, but not unexpected, given the actions taken by agencies this past year that have hindered scientific research, threatened scientific integrity and stifled the open communication of science.
Time and again throughout our country’s history, federal investments in Earth and space science have yielded economic growth, improved public health and safety, and advanced our ability to protect America’s national security. Yet, throughout the first year of his presidency, President Trump has not only failed to put into place policies that invest in and advance science, he has failed to maintain the world leadership the U.S. has cultivated over the last century by leaving numerous critical scientific advisory positions vacant – including his own cabinet-level science advisor.
This inaction sends a clear and troubling message to the American people that science and the researchers, from California to Wisconsin to Florida who work tirelessly to protect our nation and advance innovation do not play a role in the president’s vision for a greater America.
President Trump failed to acknowledge that new infrastructure requires investing in science to ensure that these massive public work programs are completed safely, within budget, and will last for generations to come.
Furthermore, he railed against immigration which is a fundamental component of a strong scientific enterprise as it brings some of the best and brightest scientific minds to our shores. This shortsighted perspective may also stymie participation in scientific meetings by sowing fear and confusion amongst those who wish to travel from abroad to meetings in the U.S. or, conversely, for those who traveling back to the States from overseas meetings.
The impacts of failing to prioritize the vital knowledge that comes from scientific research are dire indeed. This research provides forecasting to protect communities from devastating natural disasters, prevents our electrical grid from being knocked out by a powerful solar storm, helps our military understand climate-induced human migration, and aids businesses in decision-making based on real-time weather and other data. These vital services will be put at risk if the Administration does not treat science as though it matters.
Science impacts the daily lives of all Americans. From families gathered around kitchen tables and executives meeting across board room tables; to farmers riding on tractors, and office workers riding in subway cars; to job creators from main street to Wall Street – science is essential in red and blue states. It is at our peril when top officials in this Administration passively or aggressively ignore science, and now more than ever, it’s time for us all to demand that our elected leaders stand up for science.
The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing 60,000 members in 137 countries. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.