President-elect Trump. That will take some getting used to. A gut-wrenching event for an incredible range of unsettling reasons, it has to be highlighted that his election is also an existential threat to America’s scientific legacy.
We at IFLScience have frequently reported on this man’s constantly warped and primarily anti-scientific viewpoints. Although it’s not known at present how much of his agenda he actually believes in or even wishes to pass through the Republican-controlled Congress, we can combine his past statements with his closest advisors – and potential cabinet members – to get an idea.
Let’s take a tour through the possible future of a Trump administration, one that has willfully embraced a tide of anti-intellectualism. America, brace yourself – you are about to swap a president who remarked that the White House Science Fair was “the most fun event of the year” to one who said, “I believe there’s weather.”
Trump’s attitude towards climate change has been one of utter indignation at best and a barrage of conspiratorial nonsense at worst. As is exceedingly well known, Trump claimed that climate change is a Chinese hoax designed to make American manufacturing non-competitive – very peculiar, considering that China’s ratification of the Paris agreement was one of the key steps towards enshrining it in law.
Trump has surrounded himself with climate change deniers, which includes plenty of Republicans and members of the alt-right media world.
It’s unlikely that many of them genuinely believe that the science behind climate change is the result of a mafia of evil climatologists – especially Trump, who has built a wall around one of his private golf courses in Ireland to stop sea level rise from consuming it. Still, that won’t stop them acting like they do.
He has already outlined his plans for his first 100 days in office, which include restarting the Keystone pipeline, lift funding and mining restrictions on coal, oil and natural gas, and not investing in renewables.
As one study highlighted, this would unleash several billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is despite Trump’s insistence that nuclear power, an efficient low-carbon energy source, is vital for America to secure its energy independence.
Harold Hamm, the conservative CEO of a fossil fuel exploration company and a man Trump once dubbed the “king of energy”, said that all the restrictions on fossil fuels should be lifted, which comes as no surprise to anyone. There’s a good chance that Trump will hope to do just that.
Trump would also scrap much of Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), something which is designed to clean the air, protect the natural world, and invest in low-carbon energy technology. Prominent supporters of his self-destructive urges have previously called the CPP “illegal.”