US Science Envoy Resigns in Protest of Trump

August 23, 2017

Dan Kammen made headlines this week in resigning his post as as science envoy for the US State Department, in protest of administration anti-science policies that “threatens life on this planet”.

Dr. Kammen is one of the experts I interviewed in San Francisco last December, and I’ll be including more of his remarks in my upcoming video “The Path Post Paris”.

Scientific American:

An energy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, resigned his post as a science envoy for the US Department of State on 21 August, citing US President Donald Trump’s “attacks on the core values of the United States”.

In a resignation letter addressed to Trump, scientist Daniel Kammen joined political leaders from both major parties who have criticized Trump’s equivocal response to violent demonstrations by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on 12 August. Kammen also criticized the Trump administration’s “destructive” policies on energy and the environment, which he said have affected his work as a science envoy. Such policies include the president’s decision to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate pact.

“Your presence in the White House harms the United States domestically and abroad and threatens life on this planet,” wrote Kammen, whose term as an envoy was set to end next month. The first letter of each paragraph in his letter appears to be an acrostic that spells out the word “impeach”.

Former president Barack Obama created the science envoy programme in 2010 to boost outreach and partnerships with predominantly Muslim countries. The effort, which is run by the state department, has since expanded to cover more countries. Kammen is one of 18 scientists who have participated in the envoy programme; his work in Africa and the Middle East has focused on national security, jobs and sustainable energy.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A state department official confirmed that Kammen was one of three active science envoys and said the department is in the process of appointing more. The department declined to comment on Kammen’s resignation letter.




3 Responses to “US Science Envoy Resigns in Protest of Trump”

  1. doug350 Says:

    Hey Peter!

    Thanks for your coverage on Professor Kammen’s resignation and the two videos you posted.

    The second video to me is a bit misleading, perhaps because it was done in December and since then Tillerson is clearly in favor of a carbon price… I have not heard of Tillerson caving in to Trump’s other advisers explicitly.

    Perhaps more should be set on that because the interview seems to infer something behind the scenes.

    Kammen’s initial comments seem totally correct (first paragraph), but the second paragraph doesn’t sit right with me:

    > I don’t believe Rex Tillerson is in an appropriate position to be the Secretary of State, and that’s not because of his business background or his intelligence. That’s simply there are too many conflicts of interest if you come from a major fossil fuel company into Secretary of State position at a time when when geopolitics favor a more distributed view, and you may not have that when you come from a fossil fuel company—so I think there’s a real question whether this is the right kind of individual > > But that said, Rex Tillerson has gone on record and said that he favors a carbon tax. And that is his stated position. And if you come into a position as a key advisor to a new president, you need to speak truth to power and not cave-in because others around you are saying oh we are going to be in a climate denialism era. A carbon price is something that companies around the world and the United States have said we critically need.

    Perhaps I’m missing something.

    Best, Doug

    Sent from my iPhone (audio texting)


  2. webej Says:

    While Rex is very far from my pick for Secr of State (and most other things, though I like it as the name for a dog), I must admit he has to date appeared to be among the saner voices in the cabinet. Sanity is still a long way from good policy, but delusional rarely produces anything viable.

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