The Silencing Science Tracker in December, 2019

Happy Holidays.  It’s time to update the Silencing Science Tracker.  This just lists news articles that refer to silencing science, or attempting to silence science, in various bills, agencies, schools, or research.  It starts with the beginning of the Trump Administration.

The total sum of stories as of today is 383.  When Scientific American presented an analysis of this database as of Feb. 10, 2019, in the May Issue, it was at 302.  The federal total was 195 then, and the states and local total was 112.

The latest federal stories are just the Trump Administration cancelling one science advisory group after another.

California had four stories, which are in the list below, photographed from the database.

Florida could still be the leading state, with 14 now.  A lot were associated with then Gov. Rick Scott, who is now their Senator, for six years.  They concern proposed state bills to teach creationism and challenge evolution.  The bills don’t seem to have passed.  They also cut citrus research funds, which may now be corrected, since Florida citrus is suffering from citrus greening disease.  Gov. Scott claimed that climate change was really just natural cycles.  He had banned “climate change” and “global warming” from state usage.  He appointed unqualified people to wildlife management.  At the Governors Hurricane Conference in Florida, climate change and sea level rise were not discussed.

Other leading states are Texas with 9 stories, Oklahoma with 8 stories, Iowa (7), Kentucky (7), Wisconsin (6), Arizona (6), and Louisiana (6).

There is also a Climate Deregulation Tracker, which now has 131 stories.  The latest is the Trump withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on 11/4/2019.

The full source of the Silencing Science Tracker is the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia Law School and Columbia University Earth Institute, and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

Squeezing the juice out of several long articles:  Florida citrus is under siege from a bacteria HLB carried by a psyllid insect.   It attacks the roots of the trees, preventing them from getting nutrition.   University of Florida research has developed varieties resistant to this, though they are expensive, and take five years to regrow a new orchard.  With climate warming, this bacteria will spread to more northern states.  Floridian Trump must know all about this.   As a realtor though, when he passes an orchard, he sees a new housing tract.  Hmmm, reminds me of Orange County.

Congratulations to Greta Thunberg, Time’s Person of the Year.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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