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Memo to Nature’s editors: Scientists should march carefully, and not in lock step

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From the editors of Nature, on science and the new US admin:

Scientists must fight for the facts

Trump threw a bone to scientists with a pledge to explore space and to battle disease, but one of the first documents posted on the White House website was a bare-bones energy plan that emphasizes fossil-fuel development and makes no mention of the threat of climate change. The plan takes aim at “burdensome” environmental regulations and says that the Environmental Protection Agency should focus on protecting air and water, as opposed to the climate. Although it mentions — but does not define — “clean coal technology”, the plan ignores the struggling nuclear-energy sector as well as a burgeoning renewables industry that could provide countless jobs across the country in the coming decades.

In short, the energy plan is a product of cynicism and greed. Even fossil-fuel executives must recognize it as such. This would include former ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, whose appointment is headed for approval by the full Senate after a party-line 11–10 vote by the Committee on Foreign Relations on 23 January.More.

Conspiracy froth aside, the US election was largely about jobs, so when choosing facts to highlight, one might want to see how space exploration and medicine pan out. Renewable energy has had an iffy public track record for providing jobs. If scientists choose to be involved in public policy in the United States, outside their own specialties, they do well to be aware of how those issues look to the job-seeker. Just a thought.

See also: In the March for Science, what hats will Darwin’s fans wear?


Geologist on why a scientists’ march on Washington is a bad idea An increasingly typical (but usually unspoken) response to “I Marched!” is, “Who cares?” Why not save the jet fuel by staying home and helping educate the community? Especially if your big thing is the environment?

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Apparently, "Renewable Energy Is Creating Jobs 12 Times Faster Than the Rest of the Economy", which doesn't sound iffy (and is more recent than the 2012 report you link to). The cost of renewables is decreasing, so this will probably continue (if not at this rate, then at least the sector will still expand). Bob O'H

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