22 January 2017 (Desdemona Despair) – For a long time, Desdemona has feared that when the effects of global warming become obvious to everyone, governments will shut down our Earth observation science, so that collectively, the human species can bury its head in the sand.
The year 2016 saw huge strides toward this goal of dismantling science and blinding us all. The May government in the UK and the Turnbull government in Australia defunded their climate science research programs. In the U.S., the Trump team declared that they are seeking quick ways of withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change, and that NASA Earth science will be defunded. Scientists undertook a desperate effort to copy public climate data from government servers, in the event that Trump’s climate denialists order its destruction.
The most ominous threat to science rose in the advanced economies, as ultra-nationalist populism captured the governments of the U.S. and the Philippines, and threatened the social democracies of Europe. Surely, the doomiest story of 2016 was the ascension of Donald Trump’s antiscience forces. Trump leads the vanguard of reactionary politics that rejects the expertise of thousands of scientists globally, substituting random opinions from blogs and “alt-right” propaganda mills.
With murderous force, reactionary parties oppose efforts to reduce carbon emissions and to preserve indigenous lands: 2016 saw the assassination of numerous defenders of the natural world, including Honduran activists Berta Cáceres and Nelson García. The government of Cambodia banned a film about murdered rainforest activist, Chut Wutty, and the UN declared that governments globally are undertaking an extraordinary war on freedom of expression.For the fifty top stories of environmental and eco-political doom and despair, read on here.