World’s largest scientific society worried by Trump administration’s disbanding of climate assessment advisory panel

The head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific society, says the organisation remains ‘highly concerned about the disregard for scientific advisory groups in the US federal government’. This response was prompted by President Trump’s decision not to renew the charter for the Sustained National Climate Assessment advisory committee. That committee informs policymakers and various stakeholders about current and projected global climate change trends and analyses their effects. The AAAS statement comes in the wake of Trump’s decision earlier this month to disband the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum amid mass resignations.

The White House’s dissolution of the National Climate Assessment advisory committee, whose charter expired on 20 August, is ‘yet another example of the administration’s increasingly blatant attempts to ignore and dismiss scientific information’, said Rush Holt, the AAAS’s chief executive. ‘The capacity to understand and effectively address important policy issues depends on access to relevant scientific and technical expertise.’ Holt, a physicist and former congressman, went on to argue that scientifically accurate information ‘builds the foundation for public policies that promote the well-being of people and communities’.

Meanwhile, University of California, Berkeley energy researcher Daniel Kammen publicly resigned his position as science envoy for the US State Department on 23 August. He quit over concerns of the president’s handling of a death and multiple injuries among protesters at a white nationalist rally on the University of Virginia campus earlier this month. In what appeared to be a coded rebuke to Trump, Kammen included an acrostic in his resignation letter that spelt out ‘impeach’.

‘My decision to resign is in response to your attacks on core values of the United States,’ Kammen wrote in a public letter to Trump. ‘Your decision to abdicate the leadership opportunities and the job creation benefits of the Paris Climate Accord, and to undermine energy and environmental research are not acceptable to me.’