Thursday, November 24, 2016

Climate change: Sticking his fingers in his ears

US President-elect Donald Trump has made it clear that he doesn't believe in climate change, claiming that it was "created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive" (I guess Arrhenius must have emigrated or something). And now he's planning to shut down NASA's climate change research as one of his first acts as President:

Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century.

This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2bn next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8bn in 2017.

Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring”.

Of course, that environmental monitoring is one of NASA's most successful programmes, and it tells us a great deal about what we are doing to our planet. Shutting it down is like sticking your fingers in your ears so you can't hear the fire alarms. But whether you can hear them or not, the house is still burning, and its still going to kill you (or, in this case, your kids and grandkids).

This is shortsighted and stupid. Sadly, that's climate change denial in a nutshell.