Schwab: Trump’s contempt for science will cost us in many ways

Along with allowing China to pass us technologically, we are losing the fight for the environment.

By Sid Schwab

Herald columnist

“The United States must be prepared for a future in which its traditional technological predominance faces new, perhaps unprecedented challenges.” That’s from a report produced by the Center for a New American Security, about China’s efforts in quantum computing.

Which, far as one can tell, has something to do with harnessing subatomic particles (“quantum bits,” or “qubits”) for highly complex computations conventional computers can’t handle, including becoming un-hackable. Jonathan Dowling, a physics professor at Louisiana State University who also professes in Shanghai, predicts that in two years China will “go dark,” as their systems become impenetrable. Security implications are obvious.

It’s said quantum computers will be to current computers as current computers are to the abacus. There’s potential to revolutionize development of new drugs against diseases, for one thing; and to create, well, a quantum leap in artificial intelligence. Full realization is several years away; but China is pulling ahead of the U.S. Last year, China filed for twice as many related patents. Their government is pouring billions into research, as well as offering juicy incentives to Chinese-born scientists who leave the U.S. to return home. In addition, they’re paying U.S. scientists handsomely to spend time there.

Assuming we survive his homicidal climate-change denial, the future implications of the U.S. attitude toward science under Trump are clear. Cutting funding for research to pay for tax cuts; deleting mention of climate change from U.S. Geological Survey press releases; preventing government scientists from publishing their findings regarding it, or of harmful effects of chemicals Trump has unregulated. Several examples of which have been learned recently, as scientists resigned their government positions in protest.

Joel Clement, a former Interior Department scientist, spoke to Congress of a “culture of fear, censorship and suppression” coming from the Trump administration that’s keeping government scientists from doing “their best work.” Michael Halpern, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, testified that whereas there’d been efforts in the Bush II and Obama administrations to water down certain findings, meddling has risen to unprecedented levels under Trump. Studies into health threats to offshore oil workers and of surface coal mining have been quashed, for example. Same with research into certain chemicals in drinking water, for fear of “a public relations nightmare.”

Build the wall.

Last year a third of Environmental Protection Agency scientists reported being required to alter or omit climate change language; even worse, some chose to do so on their own, fearing repercussions. Unwilling to tolerate such interference, some scientists are leaving the U.S., ensuring we’ll fall further behind. This danger, too, is obvious.

Lock her up.

At the just-ended G7 summit, at which he turned the volume of his increasingly untethered lies up to 11, Trump skipped meetings on climate change and the Amazon Basin fires. The picture of his empty chair, Trump’s America epitomized, is being seen around the world. (tinyurl.com/g7gone)

Pocahontas.

There’s more, of course: despite signing an agreement to reduce plastics in our oceans, he’s doing nothing, preferring to blame Asia. And whereas it’s true that most comes from there, it’s because they’ve been accepting U.S. plastic trash and dumping it. He’s happy, however, to act to sabotage sustainable energy, already costing many thousand jobs in the solar industry, with more losses predicted.

Democrats want to destroy you.

China is out-innovating us in alternative energy, too. So is much of the free world. Denmark, which inexplicably prefers to keep Greenland, produces over forty-percent of its power from wind. Germany is even higher. In some months, it gets 65 percent of its energy from renewables. Meanwhile, Trump is deregulating methane, the worst greenhouse gas.

Send her back.

From the dark caverns of Trump’s troubled mind, his unwillingness or incapability to understand science, or to admit being wrong, is endangering the entire planet. Enabled by spineless Republicans and timid Democrats, the inadequacies of an increasingly unwell individual are endangering the entire world. Our Constitution was designed to prevent such travesty. Sadly, its creators didn’t foresee this level of congressional fecklessness.

Enemy of the people.

Bent on worsening the planet’s most critical problems, Trump is making us a not-great, rogue nation and second-tier innovator. Excusing this dereliction by pointing to employment or the stock market doesn’t wash. Nothing justifies indulging this irrational “president,” whose delusional ignorance and pathological rejection of the obvious are hurtling us toward catastrophe. Republicans screamed about unchecked presidential power with President Obama. Why the acquiescence now, when the danger is greater? And real.

They’re coming for your guns.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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