Follow @AltNatParkSer on Twitter- response to the EPA gag order #resist

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow @AltNatParkSer on twitter: The Unofficial “Resistance” team of U.S. National Park Service. Not taxpayer subsidised! Come for rugged scenery, fossil beds, 89 million acres of landscape.

This account is in response to a gag order placed by Trump banning agencies like the EPA from using twitter accounts or other forms of media to inform reporters of news. While Trump can prevent the official agency accounts from being in use, he cannot prevent personal twitter accounts from being used.

 

 

Lots of talk about Science at day 1 of the DNC #ImWithHer #DemsLoveScience #Proscience

So overjoyed to hear so many comments about science at the first day of the DNC! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the speeches from science supporters Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders! Here are some snippets:

From Grist– what Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders all had in common in their speeches: Climate change!

PHILADELPHIA — Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders each chose different words to unite their party on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, but there was a unifying theme to their speeches. In outlining the high stakes of the election, they all talked about the huge consequences for future generations.

Take Michelle Obama, who said, “In this election, and every election, it is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.” Warren later said, “Hillary will fight to preserve this earth for our children and grandchildren. And we’re with her!” And then in Sanders’ big finale, he noted “the need to leave this world in a way that is healthy and habitable for our kids and future generations.”

Anyone who’s concerned about climate change should recognize this argument. Perhaps more than any big issue in this election, climate change is about the decisions we make now and their impact on future generations. Whether they were referring to climate change or not, Obama, Warren, and Sanders were pleading with the Bernie-or-bust section of their party using the same logic.

“This election is about climate change, the great environmental crisis facing our planet,” Sanders said, in remarks that were nearly word-for-word what he said when he endorsed Clinton two weeks ago. “Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists who tell us that unless we act boldly to transform our energy system in the very near future, there will be more drought, more floods, more acidification of the oceans, rising sea levels. … Hillary Clinton understands that a president’s job is to worry about future generations, not the profits of the fossil fuel industry.”

Warren talked about how dysfunction in Washington, D.C., benefits the fossil fuel industry rather than the public. “Washington works great for those at the top,” she said. “When huge energy companies wanted to tear up our environment, Washington got it done. … When we turn on each other, bankers can run our economy for Wall Street, oil companies can fight off clean energy.”

Obama didn’t hit on climate change directly in her rousing speech, but she didn’t need to. It’s clear enough what inaction on global warming would do to hurt younger generations.

 

Trump and Clinton- VERY different opinions on science #ImWithHer

This comes as a surprise to NO ONE, but Clinton and Trump are worlds apart on their views of basically anything, but especially science. Also not a huge surprise, but Clinton is very pro-science whereas Trump is… well… Trump. Nature News explains:

Science is slowly coming into focus in the US presidential campaign. Although neither Republican Donald Trump nor Democrat Hillary Clinton has emphasized core research issues, the candidates — and their parties — are beginning to flesh out their positions on climate change, education, biomedical research and other topics that involve the scientific community.

Trump’s pick of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate on 15 July signalled a sharp turn towards the Republican party’s conservative base. Pence, a self-described Christian conservative, has questioned the existence of climate change, waffled on evolution and criticized President Barack Obama for supporting embryonic-stem-cell research. His new role aligns with the hard-line policy platform adopted at the Republican convention, where Trump officially became the party’s nominee on 19 July.

If Trump wins, Pence’s rise could embolden conservative Republicans to seek new limits on federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research. But predicting how Trump would govern is a dangerous parlour game, says Michael Werner, executive director of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, an advocacy group in Washington DC: “We really don’t know what a Trump–Pence administration would do.”

It’s a common refrain. Deciphering Trump’s views on core science issues has been difficult given the free-wheeling style of his populist campaign. He has often seemed to focus more on taunting the political establishment than on staking out policy positions. By contrast, the Clinton campaign has consulted dozens of scientists on topics that include health, education and the environment.

“Trump doesn’t have a prominent policy shop and a prominent set of policy advisers,” says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who counselled Republican senator John McCain (Arizona) on economic policy during his failed 2008 presidential bid. “Clinton has a vast bureaucracy and a ten-point plan for going out to lunch, so they couldn’t be more different.”

The two candidates — whose campaign staff declined multiple interview requests — also seem to think very differently about the role of science. Although Clinton has described science and innovation as a foundation for the future, science funding seems to be an afterthought for Trump, says John Karsten, coordinator of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington DC. Instead, the Republican has focused on issues such as national security, immigration and crumbling infrastructure.

Climate change is one of the few science topics that has grabbed the campaign spotlight — in part because of Republican anger over Obama’s regulations to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, vehicles and oil and gas development. Clinton’s climate and energy proposals would largely maintain the current course; by contrast, in a major policy speech on 26 May, Trump promised to roll back Obama’s “totalitarian” regulations and withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. Trump, who has long denied mainstream climate science, also said that his administration will focus on “real environmental challenges, not phony ones”.

Split tickets

This yawning philosophical divide is apparent in the party platforms that the Republicans and Democrats developed ahead of their nominating conventions this month. Environmentalists have criticized the Republican platform for labelling coal a “clean” energy source, even though it produces more carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy than any other fossil fuel. Democrats, meanwhile, are poised to adopt a platform this week at their national convention that calls for using “every tool available to reduce emissions now”.

“Climate is going to be talked about in this campaign, because the candidates have distinctly different positions,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University in New Jersey who is advising the Clinton team. Although his workload was light during primary season, Oppenheimer anticipates questions from the campaign about how global warming might affect certain regions, or the extent to which an extreme weather event might be related to global warming.

Some experts say that the Democratic party’s adoption of science as a campaign issue — which Obama kick-started in 2008 — risks further polarizing thorny policy debates around scientific issues such as global warming. “The Democrats found that science was a good thing for them, just like historically strong support for the military was good for the Republicans,” says Daniel Sarewitz, co-director of Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes in Washington DC (and a regular contributor to Nature). “If the Democrats are the party of science, and you are a Republican, what does that make you think?”

But Holtz-Eakin says that the Trump campaign’s apparent decision to forgo science advice is a reflection of Trump himself, not of Republican priorities. In 2008, he notes, the McCain campaign consulted scientists to formulate its positions on issues such as global warming — just as Clinton has done.

With just over three months until the election, there is still a chance that Trump will assemble his own coterie of science advisers, says Andrew Rosenberg, who heads the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Doing so not only informs policy positions, it builds relationships that are useful after the election, when the winning candidate begins to assemble a government.

“These things widen the network,” Rosenberg says. “I know it’s happening with the Clinton campaign, and at some point I would expect it would happen with the Trump campaign.”

Anti-Science Quotable: Donald Trump on wind energy @factcheckdotorg

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In promoting his energy plan, Donald Trump made two false claims:

  • Trump said wind farms in the U.S. “kill more than 1 million birds a year.” Reliable data are scarce, but current mean estimates range from 20,000 to 573,000 bird deaths per year.
  • While discussing the number of eagles that are killed by wind turbines, Trump said that “if you shoot an eagle … they want to put you in jail for five years.” Actually, the maximum penalty is a one-year imprisonment.

On May 26, Trump held a press conference and then gave a speech in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he unveiled what he called an “America First” energy plan. In his press conference, Trump said he is “into all types of energy,” but he singled out wind energy as “a problem” because it kills eagles. In his speech, he also spoke generally about birds that are killed by wind farms.

Via SciCheck – who have featured science mis-statements from the Donald more than once recently. Check the SciCheck site for the full low-down on Trumps lies about wind energy.

Anti-Science Quotable: Trump Economic Advisor Steve Moore #climatechange

I have to tip my hat to the left, this has been one of the greatest propaganda campaigns in world history that the left has pulled off. I mean, they’ve taken this dingbat idea of global climate change and they’ve put it in the schools, they’ve put it in the movies, they’ve put it in the media and the churches — you know, I’m Catholic, even the pope talks about climate change.

So it’s very alarming how this propaganda campaign, that they made this stuff out of, almost completely out of thin air and they’ve convinced millions and millions of thought leaders that this stuff is real.

Trump economic advisor and Heritage Foundation fellow Steve Moore

           Seen via Right Wing Watch

Concerned scientists tell Lamar Smith – HELL NO – to his overreaching McCarthyistic info request #science #intimidation @UCSUSA @BadAstronomer

Phil Plait has written a scathing take down in Slate of anti-science Representative Lamar Smith and his recent request for oversight over the Union of Concerned Scientists (ironically Smith is the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology). See the many, many, many previous CauseScience posts about Rep. Lamar Smith intimidating scientists and anti-science credentials.

Plait does a great job summarizing Smith’s history against climate change, as well as the recent controversy involving the  Union of Concerned Scientists – a quick and informative read:

To the surprise of no one, Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is continuing his unfounded attack on science, ratcheting it up even higher than before. This time, he’s trying to tie up the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The good news? They’re having none of it.

 

Smith’s been ramping up a new(ish) tactic, trying to flush out what he thinks is a cabal of scientists fighting the fossil fuel industry. On May 18, 2016, he sent a letter to the UCS, an obvious attempt to create a chilling effect on their work to help scientists maintain the freedom they need to do their research.

See the ridiculous letter from Smith to UCS here. The letter and intent behind it are far overreaching Smith’s jurisdiction – as pointed out by Plait. The head of UCS responded by saying HELL NO, more or less. Below is the response… in fewer words, UCS will not be intimidated by Smith. AND UCS will not allow Smith to set a precedent of overreaching his jurisdiction when it comes to harassing scientists! Way to go UCS! Can’t wait to see the guaranteed McCarthyistic response from Smith and his Committee!

Several members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee have sent letters to 17 state attorneys general, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other groups, requesting that they turn over documents and communications among the groups related to investigations into ExxonMobil. Attorneys general from California, Massachusetts, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are investigating whether ExxonMobil lied to its shareholders and the public about the threat of climate change.

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The premise of Chairman Smith’s letter is a farce. The attorneys general are not investigating ExxonMobil’s scientific research, but rather whether the company misled shareholders and the public about the dangers of climate change in order to continue profiting from a lucrative product. Documents uncovered by UCS and others reveal that scientists with Exxon and other companies knew about the causes and consequences of climate change by the 1970s, but company leaders chose to deny, disparage and downplay this evidence to avoid sensible regulation.

“We are unapologetic about our efforts to expose this deception, and we will not be intimidated by this tactic. Record temperatures, rising seas and unprecedented flooding affects people around the globe and they rightly expect carbon producers to be held accountable for their deliberate strategy to deceive the public, shareholders and policy makers.

“It’s ironic that Representative Smith sees our work as an attempt to stifle scientific discourse, when he has spent the last 10 months harassing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists whose research he doesn’t like. This abuse of power has been repeatedly and strongly rebuked by the scientific community.

“In keeping with Mr. Smith’s calls for transparency, the public should demand that oil companies fully disclose what their scientists knew about climate change and when. And more importantly, the public deserves to know which industry executives made decisions to mislead shareholders, policy makers and investors about the harm of their products.”