For a few hours at least, throngs of scientists stepped out from behind their PowerPoint slides about sea ice extent and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to make a more political statement.
The scientists, who were attending the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, rallied here in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday (Dec. 13) to support climate science and to reject government meddling with scientific facts.
I know you’re here because you understand just how essential science and evidence are to our democracy,” Peter Frumhoff, the science and policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the crowd of more than 200 geologists, climate scientists and Earth scientists. “The science and evidence that we all get is at risk of being deeply interfered with by this incoming administration.”
The rally, called Stand Up for Science, was organized by 350BayArea.org, climatetruth.org and other activist organizations that support policies tolimit carbon emissions. A few hundred geologists, climate scientists and Earth scientists donned lab coats, chanted slogans and carried signs with messages like “Go science!” and “Ice has no agenda, it just melts.”
On Sunday (Dec. 11), President-elect Donald Trump claimed that “nobody knows if climate change is real.” (Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that the climate is changing and that humans are causing it, though there is some uncertainty about how to best tackle the problem.) And last week, a letter from Trump’s transition team to the U.S. Department of Energy asked for the individual names of scientists who were involved in climate research.
At the rally, Frumhoff said that he had been fielding calls from spooked scientists in federal agencies.
“They are deeply discouraged about their own well-being, about their own ability to do their science,” Frumhoff said. “Many of the federal scientists I’ve talked to have talked about polishing up their resumes, looing for ways to duck and cover.”