Statement on the 2016 U.S. Elections

The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) Executive Director/CEO Christine McEntee. AGU represents more than 60,000 Earth and space scientists worldwide:

“From the nation’s founding, science has been the backbone of America’s economy, security, and well-being, and the underpinning of our democracy. In the days and months ahead, AGU calls on our elected leaders to remember the role science plays in our society and to support scientific innovation and discovery, and the people and programs that make it possible. AGU will continue our work to educate policymakers on issues of critical importance to the Earth and space sciences. We stand ready to share our knowledge with the new administration and Congress, and to help ensure that scientific knowledge can remain the underpinning of successful public policy decisions.”

Sister society AAAS has also issued a statement on the election, which is available on their website.

19 Responses to “Statement on the 2016 U.S. Elections”

  1. Elizabeth Fard

    I stand with you and will use my rights as an American citizen to keep science at the front lines of prosperity and innovation.

    Reply
  2. Al Neely

    Are there resources are available through AGU that aim to directly engage the public with education about scientific issues (not just policy makers)? More specifically, I am talking about engaging with portions of the public audience that are maybe less interested in science or less likely to voluntarily learn about science?

    Reply
    • Caitlyn Camacho

      Hi, Al. Yes, AGU’s Sharing Science program does just that — helping members engage with any audience on scientific issues. You can join the network, visit the website for resources, or sign-up for a workshop: http://sharingscience.agu.org/.

      Reply
  3. I wish the Union had more politically astute staff so that language like “AGU will continue our work to educate policymakers on issues …” would have been avoided. The word “educate” should have been replaced by “communicate with” to avoid the image of an elitist, to which the new administration is particularly sensitive.

    Reply
  4. Richard Cronin

    Let us hope the AGU will join with our President to reveal the hoax called Anthropogenic Global Warming, the debasement of “peer review”, and the corruption of science by government grant funding ( see Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address, 1961). Let us rejoice in President Trump’s plans to redirect NASA to their original mission of space exploration, including exploration of Jupiter’s moon Europa and other viable sites for life. The Clean Power Plan will become a historical curiosity and the USGS will lead the way in aiding petroleum technology developments. We welcome the findings of the 2015 Antineutrino Global Mapping program and the verification of the Earth’s GeoReactor.

    Reply
  5. Robert A Brown

    As a scientist who has experienced the skepticism and trashing of scientific observations supported by AGU by the elected leaders, I would have liked to see a sentence like: “And if statements and actions are made that are directly contrary to established scientific conclusions, we stand ready to point this out.”
    Otherwise we stand the risk of wimping our way to oblivion — and deserve the blame?

    Reply
  6. Joe Hennessey

    Always bear in mind Ike’s farewell address: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. “

    Reply
  7. Ben Timmermans

    The long time research of a large proportion of the AGU memberhip, together with the research of many thousands of other scientists worldwide over decades, has brought about a scientific consesus that human activity has drastically and deleteriously altered the climate. Much of the incoming administration declares this huge effort, and its massively influential findings, to be “a hoax”. Presumably therefore, their view of the AGU is nothing short of contempt. In light of this obvious and shocking conflict, I find the AGU statement very weak indeed.

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  8. Richard Halada

    Our society seems to be a strange sort of bus: we make a big fuss about electing a driver who’ll head for the place most folks approve, but he or she spends most of the time arguing with passengers about routes and how much fare to pay. The scientists are the people looking out the windshield at oncoming traffic; checking the speedometer, fuel level, warning lights, etc.; and looking at the rear-view mirror to see if we’re leaving any havoc in our wake. If the driver and passengers start complaining that’s not needed…

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  9. Foster Morrison

    A very basic scientific principle is that exponential growth is not sustainable. Global population since 1939 (or so) has grown from about 2 billion to about 7.4 billion. At the same average rate of growth the population would exceed 27 billion before 2100 (27.4 billion in 2093). Would this be sustainable? That seems unlikely. What would be the control factor? The current scientific consensus seems to be climate change. Despite all that, the consensus among economists and politicians is that the word needs more economic growth, now and maybe forever. So what we know with virtual certainty is that even if the scientific consensus about climate change is wrong, or even if the use of fossil fuels is reduced to zero, the exponential growth of population and economic activity cannot go on forever. So the rational, sensible policy is to develop a global steady-state economy and use technological progress to improve standards of living around the globe while preserving ecological stability and much of the natural world.

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  10. James E. Evans

    As a former Congressional Science Fellow (and Legislative Assistant to a US Congressman): (1) Policy makers value votes, campaign contributions, or positive constituent contributions they can take credit for, such as creating jobs. (2) Scientists do a miserable job affecting public policy because we do none of those things, plus we are self-righteous on top of that (believing that being correct should be sufficient and that convincing people is beneath our dignity), plus we bristle at being called a special interest group (which we are, because we want resources). (3) If we (at AGU) expect to make progress, we need to start by acknowledging those facts, and debating the consequences. (4) A detailed self-evaluation might lead us to the startling conclusion that the primary function of AGU as a professional society should _not_ be the advancing of science, but instead should be advancing the public’s understanding of science. (5) Such a change in strategic focus and resources is not without risks. However we have just witnessed the results of the risks of doing nothing.

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  11. Thomas Black

    Obama lied about the Cook(2013) 97% consensus paper,
    He said 97% of scientists say climate change is manmade and dangerous.
    The paper says neither, it does not claim a 97% consensus on climate change being dangerous and only 65 papers out of 11,000 feel AGW is 50% or over.
    The AGU needs to stand up to this disinformation.

    Reply

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