The Stupid is Strong. Trump DeCapitating US Science

August 10, 2019

I used to wonder how, when countries go crazy, like Cambodia in the 70s, those that suffer first are often the best and brightest – scientists, teachers, writers, artists – you would think a popular movement would want to hold those people up, not crush them.
Now, thanks to the Republican Party, I understand. They have lead us on the first steps on that path.

Rachel Maddow sheds light, starting at 2:22 above.


One of the nation’s leading climate change scientists is quitting the Agriculture Department in protest over the Trump administration’s efforts to bury his groundbreaking study about how rice is losing nutrients because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 
Lewis Ziska, a 62-year-old plant physiologist who’s worked at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service for more than two decades, told POLITICO he was alarmed when department officials not only questioned the findings of the study — which raised serious concerns for the 600 million people who depend on rice for most of their calories — but also tried to minimize media coverage of the paper, which was published in the journal Science Advances last year.

“You get the sense that things have changed, that this is not a place for you to be exploring things that don’t agree with someone’s political views,” Ziska said in a wide-ranging interview. “That’s so sad. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad that is.”
The departure comes soon after several other government officials resigned from their posts over accusations that the administration is censoring climate science — reports that have raised alarm about scientific integrity in the federal government. 
Last week, an intelligence analyst at the State Department said he left his post after administration officials blocked his testimony to Congress about the wide-ranging national security implications of climate change. A National Park Service employee also stepped forward, alleging she lost her job after refusing to scrub mentions of human-caused climate change from a peer-reviewed paper that was set to publish.
A POLITICO investigation revealed last month that USDA has routinely buried its own climate-related science and other work on climate change that continues. POLITICO also recently reported USDA suppressed the release of its own plan for studying and responding to climate change.

In response to Ziska’s resignation, the department said in a statement that objections to promoting his rice study were based on scientific disagreement involving career officials, not politics.
“This was a joint decision by ARS national program leaders — all career scientists — not to send out a press release on this paper,” the statement said.
Ziska, in describing his decision to leave, painted a picture of a department in constant fear of the president and Secretary Sonny Perdue’s open skepticism about broadly accepted climate science, leading officials to go to extremes to obscure their work to avoid political blowback. The result, he said, is a vastly diminished ability for taxpayer-funded scientists to provide farmers and policymakers with important information about complex threats to the global food supply.
Ziska, or “Lew” as he’s known to his colleagues, has researched plants at USDA across five administrations, Republican and Democratic, contributing significantly to the country’s understanding of how rising carbon dioxide levels and changing temperatures affect everything from crops to noxious weeds and even plants grown to make illicit drugs.
Over the years, Ziska has published studies finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons, render herbicides important for fighting weeds less effective, and fuel a decline in the nutritional quality of pollen important for bees. He and his colleagues have been investigating which strains of wheat and rice will be best suited for future climate conditions.

Raw Story:

“There was a sense that if the science agreed with the politics, then the policymakers would consider it to be ‘good science,’ and if it didn’t agree with the politics, then it was something that was flawed and needed to be done again.”
—Lewis Ziska, ex-USDA scientist

Ziska—who worked at USDA under five presidents, both Republicans and Democrats—charged in an interview with Politico that he left the department’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) because the USDA tried to block the public dissemination of his research on how the human-caused climate crisis’s impact on rice could threaten the nutrition of 600 million people. The studyPolitico reported, was internally cleared at the department and peer reviewed prior to its publication in the journal Science Advances last year.

Science Advances:

Declines of protein and minerals essential for humans, including iron and zinc, have been reported for crops in response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, [CO2]. For the current century, estimates of the potential human health impact of these declines range from 138 million to 1.4 billion, depending on the nutrient. However, changes in plant-based vitamin content in response to [CO2] have not been elucidated. Inclusion of vitamin information would substantially improve estimates of health risks. Among crop species, rice is the primary food source for more than 2 billion people.

We used multiyear, multilocation in situ FACE (free-air CO2 enrichment) experiments for 18 genetically diverse rice lines, including Japonica, Indica, and hybrids currently grown throughout Asia. We report for the first time the integrated nutritional impact of those changes (protein, micronutrients, and vitamins) for the 10 countries that consume the most rice as part of their daily caloric supply.

Whereas our results confirm the declines in protein, iron, and zinc, we also find consistent declines in vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 and, conversely, an increase in vitamin E. A strong correlation between the impacts of elevated [CO2] on vitamin content based on the molecular fraction of nitrogen within the vitamin was observed. Finally, potential health risks associated with anticipated CO2-induced deficits of protein, minerals, and vitamins in rice were correlated to the lowest overall gross domestic product per capita for the highest rice-consuming countries, suggesting potential consequences for a global population of approximately 600 million.

9 Responses to “The Stupid is Strong. Trump DeCapitating US Science”

  1. Engineer Ron Says:

    They’re so far removed, in DC, from those they regulate, that they know nothing of those they regulate and, in fact, are so far removed, that they don’t want to know anything about those that they regulate.

    • redskylite Says:

      Unfortunately Trump’s administration is not alone in disregard of science, planet’s health and plain common sense.

      “According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which tracks clear-cutting of the rainforest, around 2,254 square kilometers (870 square miles) of the Amazon were cleared in July, an increase of 278 percent from a year ago.

      That followed a 90 percent increase in June compared to the year prior — figures that Bolsonaro has called “lies,” and which prompted the sacking of INPE chief Ricardo Galvao on August 2.”

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    An ‘American’ Lysenko, with far more damage ahead than the Soviet version ever caused.

    Insist on impeachment; work for progressive candidates for POTUS and your federal and state representatives and Senators; (including reversing Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression) and join the actions being planned for September by Sunrise, Extinction Rebellion, and school strikers.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: