But in the weeks before this year’s conference, the Interior Department — which oversees the USGS — issued a new cap on attendance: No more than 199 employees across the department could travel to the meeting, and expenditures could not exceed $399,000.
As a result, just 178 USGS researchers were present at the AGU conference in New Orleans last week — a 60 percent drop from last year. In addition, 30 abstracts for posters or oral presentations, which take weeks to prepare, were withdrawn by USGS scientists who were unable to attend….
Of the new recruits, 13 now work in the United States; they will get 3- to 5-year grants, worth up to €1.5 million each
French President Emmanuel Macron’s effort to lure disgruntled foreign climate scientists to France—especially from the United States—has produced its first harvest. France today announced that Macron’s Make Our Planet Great Again initiative has recruited its first class of 18 scientists. Of the new recruits, 13, including a few French nationals, now work in the United States, whereas others are based in Canada, India, and elsewhere in Europe.
….Ultimately, 450 researchers were deemed eligible to apply for the grants, and 255 submitted applications. Ninety were then invited to submit proposals in collaboration with a French institution. The French National Research Agency ultimately received 57 proposals, which were reviewed by a nine-member international panel chaired by Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Norwich, U.K. The proposals were “high quality and in cutting-edge fields,” Le Quéré says.
Macron and French research minister Frédérique Vidal announced the 18 initial grants at a Paris event held on the eve of the One Climate Summit, which aims to harness global financial backing for climate action on the 2-year anniversary of the Paris climate accord….
Scientists appear to be self-censoring by omitting the term “climate change” in public grant summaries. An NPR analysis of grants awarded by the National Science Foundation found a steadily decreasing number with the phrase “climate change” in the title or summary, resulting in a sharp drop in the term’s use in 2017. At the same time, the use of alternative terms such as “extreme weather” appears to be rising slightly.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has been systematically removing references to climate change from its official website. Both the EPA’s leader, Scott Pruitt, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry have said they do not accept the scientific consensus that humans are causing the planet to get warmer….
…There is evidence that other agencies are making similar decisions. Earlier this year, a project coordinator at a Department of Energy lab emailed a researcher at Northeastern University asking her to adjust the language a public abstract for research funded by the DOE….
…Avoiding the term “climate change” could also lead to a more fractured scientific community. Climate change research is an inherently interdisciplinary field and shared terminology allows people to collaborate, either through interagency groups or through university departments that reflect the larger trends in available funding.
…And all of that could translate into problems for average citizens. Cities, some of them already dealing with rising sea levels and more severe storms, rely on the federal government for information about climate change. Water resource managers and emergency officials look to federal climate programs for long-term data. And insurers are using climate change data to determine rates for homeowners.
“This is the biggest environmental challenge in human history,” says Mote. “Absent political winds, I don’t think researchers would avoid using the term ‘climate change’ to describe it.”
Hesitancy among scientists to express the gravity of our situation is a major block to our understanding and response to climate change…
Scientific Reticence: A Threat to Humanity and Nature. Jim Hansen/Pam Pearson/Philip Duffy press conference at COP-23 in Bonn, Germany on 10 November 2017. Video link to a press conference with Drs. James Hansen, Pam Peterson, and Philip Duffy discussing how the hesitancy among scientists to express the gravity of our situation is a major block to our understanding and response to climate change. The reticence results from a combination of factors: political pressure, institutional conservatism, the desire to avoid controversy, aspiring to objectivity, etc. But when the data and the conclusions it leads to are alarming, isn’t it imperative that the alarm be transmitted publicly? Here is another facet of society’s apparent inability to assess and respond appropriately to the present immense, existential threat of climate change
The Ecological Society of America strongly condemns the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the presentations of three ecologists in Rhode Island at an event to launch the 2017 State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed Summary Report that underwent extensive peer review and a public comment process. The report addresses many topics including management of climate change impacts to human and natural systems.
“Stifling ecologists who have valid research to inform management decisions affecting those living and working in the watershed is unconscionable and serves no one,” said Katherine McCarter, executive director, Ecological Society of America.
Scientific research – and the free exchange of scientific knowledge, ideas, and data – must be valued and protected. Scientists, including scientists serving in the federal government, must be able to freely conduct their research, communicate their findings, publish their work, and ensure the accuracy of scientific information without fear of retaliation or restriction.
ESA and its members are committed to the integrity and availability of scientific research and we believe in the critical importance of the unrestricted sharing of scientific data and findings. Objective scientific findings play a crucial role in addressing a wide range of domestic and international challenges. Scientific knowledge is a critical element of decision-making, and unbiased scientific research is used to inform policies that serve the public interest. Without scientific integrity and independence, our nation will lose the benefits that science provides to the economy, policymaking, technological innovation, and society.
…Former NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis signed the order — formally known as Director’s Order No. 100, or DO 100 for short — on Dec. 20, 2016, as one of the last acts of his tenure as director (E&E News PM, Dec. 20, 2016)…
…The order called for park managers to make decisions based “on science, law and long-term public interest.” And it said that park superintendents and other NPS leaders had to “possess scientific literacy appropriate to their positions and resource management decision-making responsibilities.”
Jeremy Barnum, an NPS spokesman, said the order was rescinded by acting Director Michael Reynolds on Aug. 16 “to eliminate confusion among the public and NPS employees regarding current NPS policy in light of the Department of the Interior’s new vision for the long-term protection of America’s unparalleled national parks.”…
‘California Climate Science and Solutions Institute’ would fund basic- and applied-research projects designed to help the state to grapple with the hard realities of global warming with revenue from the state’s cap and trade program
California has a history of going it alone to protect the environment. Now… scientists in the Golden State are sketching plans for a home-grown climate-research institute — to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
The initiative, which is backed by California’s flagship universities, is in the early stages of development. If it succeeds, it will represent one of the largest US investments in climate research in years. The nascent ‘California Climate Science and Solutions Institute’ would fund basic- and applied-research projects designed to help the state to grapple with the hard realities of global warming.
The project could be funded by revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade programme to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, but its political prospects are unclear. Advocates say they have received a warm reception from California Governor Jerry Brown, but a spokesperson for Brown would say only that “discussions are ongoing”. The proposal must also clear the state legislature….
But the California initiative still faces significant challenges. Severin Borenstein, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, warns that academics will face plenty of competition for a limited pool of cap-and-trade revenue…..Nonetheless, Borenstein favours the climate initiative, because he sees global warming as an issue on which California can have a truly global impact.
“The main way California can contribute to dealing with climate change is through innovation,” he says. “We can invent and test the technologies and processes that will allow the rest of the world to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.”
NOTE FROM ELLIE: This Guardian story I originally posted was strongly refuted by the Acting Chief of the NRCS in an email in support of science and climate change action. Here is the text:
From: Jordan, Leonard – NRCS, Washington, DC Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 1:07 PM To: Jordan, Leonard – NRCS, Washington, DC <Leonard.Jordan@wdc.usda.gov> Subject: Climate change story
As you’ve likely seen, there has been considerable news coverage during the past two days centered around two emails that discuss the use of the phrase “climate change.” The articles allege that NRCS has received direction and has provided direction to censor the use of the phrase “climate change.”
I want you all to know that this is not the case. There has never been a directive from the administration regarding the use of the phrase climate change, or any other language. There is nothing stopping you from communicating to your customers using the terminology that you see as most beneficial for getting conservation on the ground. The Department and NRCS are fact-based, science-driven, and customer-focused, and nothing about who we are or what we do has changed.
The climate change websites for both USDA and NRCS remain active. We work each day to help agricultural producers plan and implement conservation practices that sequester carbon and benefit our natural resources, enabling producers to improve their bottom line while rising to the challenge of today. With partners like Colorado State University, we’re able to offer tools like COMET-Farm, an accounting system for greenhouse gases on agricultural lands. Our Conservation Innovation Grants program continues to empower partner organizations and producers to develop cutting-edge approaches and technologies that support greenhouse gases, cleaner water and air, healthier soil and development of conservation finance systems. And this is just the beginning.
We remain committed to empowering you to do what you do best, whether you’re a district conservationist or a snow surveyor, or a biologist or a conservation technician. Our team provides one-on-one, personalized advice on the best solutions to meet the unique conservation and business goals of those who grow our nation’s food and fiber. We help people make investments in their operations and local communities to keep working lands working, boost rural economies, increase the competitiveness of American agriculture, and improve the health of our air, water, soil, and habitat. And we generate, manage and share the data, technology and standards that enable partners and policymakers to make decisions informed by objective, reliable science.
Nothing is going to keep us from carrying out our mission.
This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.
A draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public but was obtained by The New York Times, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.
Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans
Scientists fear Administration will dismiss or suppress the most comprehensive climate report
The report was completed this year and is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years.
WASHINGTON — The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.
The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.
“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” a draft of the report states. A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.
The authors note that thousands of studies, conducted by tens of thousands of scientists, have documented climate changes on land and in the air. “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,” they wrote.
The report was completed this year and is a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft report, and the authors are awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.
One government scientist who worked on the report, Katharine Hayhoe, a professor of political science at Texas Tech University, called the conclusions among “the most comprehensive climate science reports” to be published. Another scientist involved in the process, who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed….