Aug 10, 2017

The case for staying

Scientists discuss leaving the U.S. in this week's Expert Voices.

I am an endangered species — a federally funded U.S. climate scientist. For over 25 years, my colleagues and I searched for human-caused fingerprints of climate change and found them from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. This research put me on collision course with those who deny scientific evidence that human activities are warming our planet. Some of these deniers are now the political leaders of our country.

If you're a climate scientist, what do you do when confronted with denial of facts, of scientific understanding, and of reality itself? Do you lay low in the U.S., let scientific denial go unchallenged, and hope the political climate improves after 2020? Or do you accept President Macron's offer of sanctuary to U.S. climate scientists, and take an extended French sabbatical?

My own choice is clear. My voice is more powerful here than in France. I'm staying in the U.S. I will not hide, change my field of inquiry, or submit to censorship.

The bottom line: I plan to defend the scientific understanding my colleagues and I have gained, even if that might lead to loss of my job. That's preferable to loss of my integrity.

Other voices in the conversation:

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