Saving Science

The current administration’s view of global warming may understatedly be considered cold. Trump’s call for “a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming” during a heavy snowstorm or the decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate accord are a few examples. While the administration, unfortunately, has the right to adopt, decimate, and extend their position on greenhouse gases and advance U.S. fossil fuel interests; dangerously, policy has been passed which confines the findings of climate science studies. James Reilly, a former astronaut, petroleum geologist, and the director of the United States Geological Survey has ordered that computer-generated climate change models limit their forecast to 2040, rather than the previous end of century time frame.

Riley’s answer to the limitation of the report explained,

“We’re looking for answers with our partners and to get statistical significance from what we understand.”

The administration’s target is the National Climate Assessment, a model produced through an interagency task force every four years. The last report predicted as much as an eight degrees Fahrenheit increase by the end of the century. This eight-degree increase is predicted to have consequences such as sea-level rise, volatile climate events (storms and droughts), decreased biodiversity, and general health consequences of the earth system and the human population.

The next National Climate Assessment model, expected to be realized in 2021 or 2022, will not project scenarios which forecast a complete picture of the climate’s future. Climate data is stationary in the sense that the future will be highly correlated with past data. Commonly accepted, greenhouse gases will increase as fossil fuels are burned and the temperature of the atmosphere will increase.

Yet, the administration’s intervention confines climate science’s essential surveillance, research innovation, and scientific advancement. The limitation would present a falsely optimistic picture of the state of our environment. If the administration is not concerned about the effect of greenhouse gases, why limit the decimation of data that will serve as the foundation of nationwide scientific decision-making?

Additionally, an unaltered assessment, as The New York Times reported, could create legal problems for the President’s agenda towards abolishing  Obama era environment governance, such as regulations to curb greenhouse gas emission from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks.

The future of U.S. greenhouse gas production maintains a formidably devastating direction without a future policy change.

Let’s speak out against this hypocrisy and send James Reilly a message that politics should be separated from science.

Saving Science

Dear Mr. James Reilly,

Most can only imagine the significance of space flight. Although the realization that the Earth is one system seems apparent, the decisions of one affect all. Additionally, the ability for astronauts, such as yourself, to be able to study the Earth and our solar system from above our planet depicts the incredible relationship between science and government intervention.

Your service and commitment are commendable, yet your recent decision to limit the National Climate Assessment’s forecast to 2040 appears irresponsible and shortsighted. As the Director of the United States Geological Survey, you should be committed to providing accurate science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on.

Regardless of your view on the effects of greenhouse gases, an accurate picture of the future of our climate should be accessible to serve as the foundation for nationwide scientific decision-making. The scientists who reside under your guidance should be able to provide timely, relevant, and useful information about the Earth and its processes.

We have come together to hopefully persuade you to reverse your decision and take a step towards maintaining a healthy relationship between science and politics.

**your signature**

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